Nature Notes

Vol. IX January, 1931 No. 1

by Preston P. Macy
Ass't Chief Ranger

Mr. Bear went a growling through the dark and, silent forest, "till he found a giant fir tree from which came the scent of honey!

How large he was or how much honey he get I cannot say, but he made many trips up to his honey jar.

A six foot Douglas fir with no branches for about 45 feet was that honey jar. It was worn almost smooth on one side except for the innumerable, clear marks which had been made as Bruin clawed his way to a cavity near the top.

For convenience Nature had provided an ideal seat just at the bottom of the cavity so Bruin might sit and eat to his heart's content. However, not all was easy, as it had been necessary for him to stand to reach the top of the opening all around the top and sides of the hole, which had been dug out so it was about six feet high and two feet wide at the bottom and tapering at the top were teeth and claw marks made in an effort to satisfy the sweet tooth of a bear.

Our imagination paints for us a very vivid picture of the reception Mr. Bear must have received on paying his first visit to the Queen and her army of workers. T'was no doubt a stinging rebuke and perhaps he hurried down with no more than a taste to bathe in the little spring nearby. Once a bear tastes honey there is nothing that will keep him away, although occassionaly he finds it in a tree which he cannot climb and gives up only when all hope is gone.

The scars of that struggle in the quiet woods to reach the home of the bees will remain for some time and old Bruin may waken from his hibernation in the Spring with a pang of regret that he saved nothing for a future day.


A fresh skift of snow had fallen and as I snow shoed along I noticed an occasional fox track crossing the trail. He had been headed in the same direction as I and nearing the old mine buildings a mile and a half above Longmire I noticed a lengthening of his paces. Soon his tracks crossed the trail again but this time they were following another track and both animals had been moving as though for some reason they had no time to waste. I stopped to examine the second track and found it to be that of a Marten. They were circling toward the old bunk house with the fox seemingly on the inside track. His handicap had been too great although evidently the sly old fox had nearly caught up with the Marten. Making one final spurt of speed the fox got to the hole in the foundation just after the Marten rushed in. Seeing too late that he had lost the race he put on all brakes but slid all four feet right up to the hole through which the Marten beat his safe and hasty retreat. He apparently then stepped back and surveyed the hole with speculation, but deciding it was too small to permit his body he turned and trotted off to find a more easily gotten meal.

Both Marten and fox tracks were seen several times between Longmire and Van Trump Camp and an occasional squirrel would scold from his home high in a tree and his tracks could be seen leading from one tree to another.

Preston P. Macy
Ass't. Chief Ranger.

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