Yes, you read correctly, I wrote scatastic. That means I spent an hour and a half poking coyote dung with a stick. I love science! Seriously though, we did learn how to track animals, and we did actually find some trails. First we set out some bait. We sat a tray on the ground and poured a trail of honey on it leading to a bowl. In the bowl are a few lumps of seedless raisins doused in honey. We sprinkled powdered sugar over the tray (so we could see the animal tracks) and started out on a class hike.
After a while, we found some horse scat, but we were on a horse trail, so it wasn’t really unexpected. We did find the tracks of a very exotic animal, an animal that only lives in very faraway places. Tire tracks.
A short while later, we stopped in a small clearing to play a game. It was called, “Track, Hide, and Seek.” We were split into pairs and given a bag full of “tracks:” pinto beans, some sort of green beans, white rice, or powdered sugar. I got the powdered sugar.
My partner was the first one to hide, and he left a false trail, leading in the opposite direction of where he was hiding. Lucky for me, his blue hat really stood out against the tall golden grass he was hiding in.
After that, it was my turn to hide, and I left a trail leading in a big circle. I ran behind a small bush (this is about where I spilled powdered sugar all over my pants and shoes) and hid, waiting to be found.
The guy looking for me did follow the trail for a while, practically walking in a big circle. I actually stood up watching him, and it still took him a while to look up from the false trail he was following. J
That’s about when we found the coyote paw-print. We followed the prints until we walked up to a big pile of coyote scat. We poked it with a stick for what seemed like forever, and then went on our way.
We were only walking about a half-mile trail, (with quite a few breaks) so I was feeling good while walking. I started moving at a slightly faster pace and counted the bird chirps I heard. I was really energetic when I turned around, so the sight of half the class slugging far behind was surprising. Everybody looked as if they had been running the whole trip, and like we didn’t take so many breaks.
Before we left the trail, we checked the bait we had set up. We saw some squirrel tracks and a dent in the tray, but that was all.
As we walked up to the shelter, everybody (except me) ran up to the nearest bench and collapsed on it. I said hello to Emily and we went on our own hike.
We stopped to get a geocache (which we failed to do) and I spent some time sitting on a really big rock. After we got off the rock, we hiked a little bit faster, but we did find the second geocache we went after. We talked, but I can’t remember half of it. If I remembered everything Emily and I talked about, my brain would explode. 😉
We found some scat and talked some more. It was really fun. Happy hiking/geocaching/poking things with sticks!