February 28, 1999

Imprint in mud


View of Mt. Mitchell across mountain meadow 2/99

( Read additional raw field notes: [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] )

Went up alone. Got up early. Sunday morning. Stopped and got muffins and coffee. Girl knew it wasn't my usual day and looked at me with question. Nothing to say.

Overcast, misty, spitting snow all the way from Estacada. Road not icy. Mildly cold. All in all, just a nasty day. Not many cars, even Forest Service. They seem to hold tight to the fire in bad weather. Can't blame them. River was full, fast and brown.

No kayaker's. Normally there is a bunch of them up by the rapids when the river is up. There is a place there that the good one's can sit and ride a wave and not have to paddle and they don't go downstream. They just take a few strokes to keep lined up with the current. So many of them in that place that the Forest Service had brought in a three holer, or maybe it has four. Anyway, its big and has aluminum sides, not the plastic kind. It's a sport that I want nothing to do with, at least the way those people do it.

Pulled lures and baits from Cliff Site 1 and 2. Did Cliff Site 2 first. Under the heavy cover, there was no sign of moss disturbance and there wasn't any snow. Flasher still going. CD lure was really nice in the morning light, even though it was dark and gray. It picked up the light and tossed nice rainbow colors as it slowly twisted in the very light breeze.

At Cliff Site 1, the light was still going on the flasher. The light on the orange disc was out. Near the Spam bait, there was an imprint on the only available spot of soft mud in the area. It was very clear and about 12" long (later, it cast about 14"). It was a right foot and the big toe print was clearly visible. The other toes had dug in and crushed grass, but they were also visible. It was clearly the print of a bare foot.

The heel had slid a bit in the soft mud, so it was a little on the hour glass shape. The print was mainly smooth, but had some little lines in it - not like fingerprints, just a bunch of little lines in places. It was definitely not from a boot or stocking foot wader. The rest of the ground around it was rocky with grass. Nothing. I looked close, on my hands and knees. Got jeans wet and dirty. The imprint had pressed a little mound of mud to the front, like a little hump.

Now, I did have a camera, but no casting stuff. Who would think they would need it? This is for fun isn't it? Wanted someone to see the imprint before casting it. Marked the imprint with a bent branch.

The Spam bait and the lures were not disturbed. The raked area by the flasher had some deer tracks in it, but not elk. I carefully recovered it with the moss I had pulled back. A large dead fall had come down and smashed itself on the old roadway. It had really broken up - rotten - and had dug up some mud. There were some deer tracks and other small tracks in it. Nothing unusual.

When I got home, I called Cliff and told him where the imprint was. Told him I would like him to go up and evaluate it as soon as he could. I couldn't go on Monday. Things to do. I also told him to look at the print with a critical eye. I told him I thought I (we) were starting to see too much.

Cliff called me Monday night. He said he found the stick marker no problem, but that it had snowed several inches and the track was covered. He didn't want to disturb it, so that was that for now.

( Read additional raw field notes: [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] )


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