Over the past couple of weeks I've been out hiking with several youth and college groups. Three of which Cindy and I have had long running relationships with.
Parks Collins has been bringing groups out from North Carolina for several years now. As luck would have it, rain fell the night before and off and on during our walk days. Un- deterred, we drove out to Sunlight Basin,which did not live up to it's name. We spent the morning bushwacking through a mix of pine and aspen forests. I was taking this opportunity to make a last ditch effort to locate a great gray nest. But once again as has been my luck all spring, we found no sign. We did however, find some black bear scats and made it to a great view of the Clarks Fork River Valley.
Melissa has ben a good friend for many years and I always make time for a walk in the woods with her and her groups, also from North Carolina. Once again rain filled our day. My boots were soon squishing as we climbed the steep slopes above Pebble Creek. Even though I had already checked my owl nests in this area (and found them empty) I thought we might search farther to the west. We did find some bear sign and came across a lone bison, but no great gray owls.
I've ben going out with Dave Tonkyn and his groups from Clemson for more than a dozen years. This year he transferred to The University of Arkansas of Little Rock. So this was his first initial group from his new location. Since we had a little wiggle room we avoided the rain putting of our hike until their last day in the area. We hadn't gone far when we came across a week old bear bed complete with several scats. Deeper in the woods, we checked out a cave I hadn't visited in a couple years. In the past it had been used by bears and mountain lions, but we found no sign today. During our hike we kept our eyes tuned for nesting birds as I had a project coming up with a birder group from the UK. And we did find a few. I look forward to continuing this relationship with Dave and the University of Arkansas.