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New Years Eve in the Park

Time for remembering times past
by Dan Hartman

Jan. 1, 2024

     Cindy and I went out for a New Years Eve excursion into the park last night.

     I remembered, back in 2010, we had a mild beginning to winter, just like this year.  That year I was hearing boreal owls calling at night, starting New Years Eve.  Thought we would give it a try this year.

     We headed out 8PM,driving to Pebble Creek.  On our way out, a flying squirrel watched us from a tree below our cabin.

    We heard nothing at Pebble Creek, drove on to Post #1.5 to find a fox mousing in our headlights, but the forest was silent.

     On to Post #2.  All Quiet.  The dark night, with a sky full of stars, reminded me of a night many years ago.  I stopped on this same spot and heard to my amazement what sounded like a man calling from across the Soda Butte.

      But it wasn't just any ordinary man, this one sounded like a giant, with a very deep voice.  There was no car parked within miles so it really couldn't be a man in trouble, but what?  A few more calls and all was silent, except something moving in the water, far below.

     I was back the next day and snowshoed down to the waters edge, there were tracks of many coyotes, and tracks of a larger beast that came out of the water, walked  along the opposite bank and re entered the water again.  The tracks appeared to be a foot and a half long and half as wide.  Interesting...

     Back to the present.

     Cindy and I continued on, but heard nothing at the next six stops.

     Back at the cabin, the flying squirrel had found a companion.


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