Sun, Skiing, and...Catamounts?...

The lifts are closed and the sun was out yesterday, making it the perfect time to hit the slopes at Smugglers–and apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so.  No, there weren’t a lot of people up there–I only saw two other skiiers–but I did see the tracks of something resembling the Catamount–Vermont’s famed, elusive wildcat.  Now, it seems that everyone in Vermont’s got a crazy story about seeing a Catamount, Champ (our version of the Loch Ness Monster), a two-headed albino moose, or a guy from the Northeast Kingdom who isn’t wearing flannel, but I present to you the evidence in the attached photos and weblinks.  Check out the photos accompanying this blog.  My first thought was OK it’s either a bear or a BIG dog, but…

Now, I’m certainly no wildlife biologist, but as the saying goes, “Just because you don’t know everything doesn’t mean you don’t know anything.”  I do have eyes and they see a print with four toes rather than five (so not a bear) and much bigger than a bobcat (amateur move!—I should have put something next to them as a reference point).  

I’ll leave it to the wildlife biologists to sort out the details and even if it was just a overgrown mutt that had been declawed (cats retract their claws), it still was a mighty fine day to be on the slopes. 

For those interested in snow conditions, there is still a solid base from bottom to top from the top lot at Smuggs and Stowe has skiable snow down to about 1100’.  I also posted a few shots of the ice climbing “conditions” (I use that term loosely—in this case very loosely) on the sunny side of Smugglers Notch.  Bottom line, between what I saw and what I heard crashing down, I’d sharpen my crampons…and put them away ready for next season. 

The rock is warm and the catamounts are out…