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Colter - Other Trail Journal - 2012

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Colter
City: Fairbanks
State: Alaska
Begins: Mar 1, 2012
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, May 26th, 2012
End: Sheldon Refuge
Trip Distance: 1,279.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 418
Journal Visits: 61,569
Guestbook Views: 6,440
Guestbook Entrys: 83

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Cave and Horse Bones

Sheldon Wildlife Refuge

It was another cold day. Most of the time I was bundled up and walking to stay warm.

At one point I was wandering through some 6' tall sage when I jumped several owls in a group and I could see how they used this tall sage stand as a roosting/perching area.

The trail followed a meandering canyon with high cliffs. While walking through some green grass i noticed several wood ticks crawling up my pant legs, then several more in the next few minutes.

Some of the caves in that canyon had been used by Indians and I found numerous artifacts again today including a beautiful black obsidian spear point or knife several inches long.

The wind made the day all the colder, and it was because of the wind covering the noise of my footsteps and carrying my scent away that a big antelope buck jumped up right in front of me when I crested a rise.

Ranks of clouds were blowing over and dropping snow showers off and on. Four wild horses of four different colors spooked and galloped past, the wind blowing back their long manes and tails, a curtain of snow falling through a shaft of sun behind them, the backdrop a series of stepped mesas with brown rim rock. It was an imagined scene from a painting come to life.

My route took me near a cave (shown) so I made the short hike over there. In front of the cave were horse bones. The story seemed clear. A mountain lion had killed the young horse nearby and dragged it to the mouth of the cave. For the next few days he ate his fill, getting a drink at the nearby brook when he wanted, lying out in the sun when it was cool, retreating into the cave when it rained or got too hot. I'll bet the other lions were high-fiving him for that one.

Mixed rain and snow started again and my legs were soaked and chilled walking through the brush and grass. An hour before dark I found stand of very tall sage and decided it would be smart to set up my shelter there and then.

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