The soft mud of the drained beaver dam is a splendid place in which to study tracks. There was the highway of the beavers themselves cut up by the large webbed hind-feet of the beaver and smoothed down again by their dragging bellies, but everywhere there were tracks of other animals as well.
A black bear and a small cub of midnight hue, were wading in the mud when we arrived, deer had crossed the flat many times, and of course there were the inevitable trails of the muskrats, that are co-inhabitants of every beaver colony. Bobcat and coyote had been there too, and that is likely the reason that beaver are not more numerous, and mink and marten, coon and woodrat are all to be found, as well as the tracks of the crow and several other birds.
The best place to find tracks just now, however, is Paradise Valley. Two weeks ago ten inches of snow fell there, followed by clear moon-lit nights, just the sort of nights that the animals love. Trails are everywhere.
First in point of numbers perhaps come these of the Sooty Grouse. Next the Ground Squirrels, Conys, and Chipmunks who have not gone into winter quarters yet. Bears are still abroad and their tracks may be found at the doorway to the hotel and ranger station. One small bear crossed the road no less than twenty times within a mile and I found where he had been hunting Marmots and Cony on a nearby rock slide.
Marten, coyote, bobcat and mice tracks are abundant in the open country and weasel are numerous about the camps.
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