Carson Clay, who lives near Blythefield Country Club awoke to a surprise in the snow last month. He reports that he lives on a heavily wooded ridge near the Rogue River. On February 27, his wife and granddaughter came upon large tracks in the snow south of Rockford. They were heading north (upstream) on the east bank of the Rogue River near the country club. “They had our black Labrador with them on a leash,” Clay stated. “Upon returning home, she informed my sons and they both went out to trace the path in the snow where she had just walked. They soon came upon and followed the tracks.” Mike, the youngest, also took pictures of the very clear imprints next to his size 12 boot. He then took the pictures back home and pulled up a web site to make a comparison of what they were. The tracks were approximately the same width or wider and half the length of his boot. The family identified them as the tracks of a mountain lion. The family’s oldest son, Andy, had continued to follow the animal’s trail. When he returned, he said it had circled around, crossed to the west on a walking bridge that spans about 120 feet of the river, then headed south to West River Drive. The tracks crossed the four-lane highway there and went on to the grounds of the Grand Rogue Campground and Water Sports at the junction where the Rogue runs into the Grand River. “After that, he lost the tracks,” Clay said. About a month prior to seeing the tracks, Andy, an avid fisherman, had spotted a dead deer in the Rogue River. He had called the DNR and later they sent an officer out to investigate. They both put chest waders on and together pulled the carcass across the river to an island. It had been shot by an arrow and apparently had died as it tried to cross the river. Andy said it would be questionable to skin the deer for its meat as it had been out there for at least two or three days, so they left it on the island for carrion animals. “It’s my feeling that the cougar must have been feeding on […]
by CARSON CLAY One night recently I took our dog, Annie, for a walk along the ridge. The path leads to a swinging bridge that spans Michigan’s Rogue River. Lake effect snow had accumulated but the trail was still open. The temperature and wind were cold but not bitterly so. Annie and I continued on toward a stump where I normally rest. Sitting down I gazed through the trees and caught a glimpse of a misty glow in the sky. Then, as if by magic, the wind pushed the clouds away and in white gold splendor a full moon was revealed. Strangely, it seemed to be larger than normal. Thoughts came to me of the nature of this sphere that seemingly floated above. Later I looked up orbits and phases of the moon. In all, our moon’s elliptical orbit varies in distance about 36,300 miles. Apogee is the word that describes its farthest distance from Earth and perigee stands for the nearest it will be. I will not delve into rotational periods and tidal locking that requires a PhD to understand. Suffice to say, when I saw the full moon, it was January 19 and its elliptical orbit brought it very close to the Earth. Yes the moon did, in fact, appear larger because it was about 18,000 miles closer. The moon was in a perigee with our planet. This past weekend, on March 19 it was even closer. The moon was 252,000 miles away and on that night it was full. I thank God for that moment in time when I was gifted with the view of such a wonder. I sat and looked on for a while, but clouds moved in and there was only a glow in the sky. As is my habit, I moved on to the bridge and walked out to look at the rushing water. While I stood there, the haze dispersed once more and there it was in the water… the moon’s reflection. August moons, Harvest moons and Hunters moons are truly beautiful. But in Michigan on a winter night when the clouds melt away, they pale in comparison to the magnificence of January’s Wolf moon.