In search of OR7, the California wolf.
Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:57 PM
I looked across the marshy area we were traversing and saw a canine disappear at a run into the forest.
“There were two”, she said. “The first one was bigger.”
We all have favorite interests. For some it is old mining ghost towns. For others it is peaks that must be climbed. One of ours is wolves. They are why we return to Yellowstone regularly. So naturally we have been following the news about OR7, the Oregon wolf that decided to winter in California this year. OR7 is collared and the California Department of Fish and Game has been updating his location as he wanders. CA F&G Using this information we decided to spend the Memorial Day weekend visiting the general area with the unlikely idea that we may just be in the right spot at the right time. Considering that even the state personnel that track OR7 have only been able to get one photo, we knew the odds were similar to winning the lotto. But any excuse to explore and camp is enough for us.
The latest update as of the Friday was he was located in western Lassen County. Normally wolves and coyotes do not get along. But not having any luck finding a female wolf, he has been observed hanging out with coyotes recently. Maps of his previous wanderings put him north of HWY 44 on several occasions. So we saw a possible pattern and it is located in National Forest which allowed us access and camping. The plan was made to find the most remote watering holes in the area and hang out there.
The first two nights were spent northwest of Blacks Mountain. There were some old reservoirs on Beaver Creek. Mostly now they are large meadows with ponds in what used to be the deeper parts. We found a spot on a cattle pond near the reservoirs and settled in. The next day we hiked around the reservoir area. There were waterfowl in the ponds and deer tracks everywhere. This is when we made the sighting noted above. They were gone before we could get the glasses on them. Strange, usually when we see coyotes they are not spooked by humans. These spooked fast.
Around the old reservoirs:
Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:02 PM
The homesteading site:
Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:07 PM
Another trail marker:
The lake obviously gets few visitors. More of a reed filled pond, the road in was overgrown and had no signs of tire tracks. There were some old fire rings that had not been used in a while. We walked the road first to check it out. The lake is a haven for birdlife. There were several types of ducks, grebes, egrets, swallows, blackbirds, nuthatches, bluebirds, and warblers. We found the place to be quite peaceful and also met our criteria for potential wolf sightings. We decided the road was drivable, maybe with some brush marks, and made this our next camp. Once settled we hiked around the lake. The birds obviously were not used to seeing people. Many disappeared into the reeds, flew away, or just went quiet. Later, when we had been sitting still for a while, the lake came back to life.
Around the lake:
Yellow rumped warbler:
Our camp on the lake:
Monday we packed up and reluctantly headed home. It had been a good weekend. We found some nice places to camp. We never saw or heard another person out in the forest. Did we see OR7? We observed strange coyote behavior. There was that one bigger canine that ran into the woods. Could it have been? The latest Fish and Game update after the weekend says he still in western Lassen County. We’ll continue to watch the OR7 route map. When they post his routes for those dates (purposely delayed to protect the wolf) we’ll be able to approximate if he was there when we were. Even if that is the case, with just a quick glimpse at a distance, we’ll never know for sure.
Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:20 PM
Gosh, thought you might have heard me sing once.
Great trip Teds! Looks like a full quota of fun and adventure. That big one, it was OR7.
1994 Ranger II FWC ATC Hybrid
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln
Posted 01 June 2012 - 01:06 AM
Posted 01 June 2012 - 02:58 AM