Recognition should be given to all those who have gone before; family members, friends, and others that may have influenced me in their own quiet way.

Special recogition should go to my father Kenneth (Kenny to all who knew him) and my grandfathers Selby and Chester (Jake), both born in the 1890s. All of these gentlemen influenced me in their own way...with time fishing, hunting, trapping, or just time spent togeher.....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Campout

Last weekend was the last weekend of January; and as almost always, was the Klondike Derby for the Scouts. The event itself officially starts Saturday morning and ends that afternoon. The troop I am associated with though, goes out Friday night and camps in our tents till Sunday morning. We have had temps as warm as the fifities; to another extreme of one weekend when the high temp was -5 and the low was -20.
This past weekend was ideal; with high in mid thirties and lows in low to mid twenties.

The event was at Camp Robert Drake, located just a few miles west of Catlin, Illinois; along the Salt Fork Vermilion River.

I ventured off by myself for a hike Saturday morning and a few pictures of that are also included.

Our camp

A nice hot fire is always welcome and we burnt a lot of wood.

Just a couple of more views around camp.

The official activities always conclude with the big sled race. Several heats are run and a trophy is awarded that is held till next year.

A few views overlooking the Salt Fork Vermilion River.

A squirrel started barking and I spotted him in a nearby tree. Squirrel season is still open until the middle of February. He provided a perfect shot if I had been hunting.

There were several areas where the deer had dug through the snow and leaves, probably foraging for acorns.

Walking down a small stream to the river.

Out to the river and onto the ice. I do not recommend walking on river ice, unless you are VERY sure of the ice conditions and are familiar with the area. I knew that this was the shallow side of the river, with a sandbar exposed here during the summer.

The ice was a well traveled area by the local inhabitants.

The deer obviously had a bit of problem with the slick conditions.

Coyote and deer tracks on the ice.

Coyote tracks

The next two pics show mink tracks. I had not had the opportunity to see a mink's tracks for a few years. They will typically walk a stream bank, looking for food. One of their favorite prey is muskrats. They are typically smaller than a muskrat, but ounce for ounce are quite a ferocious little animal. Years ago when I ran a trapline, I had a couple of instances where a mink had come upon a muskrat I had caught and killed it.

Raccoon tracks
 These are mouse tracks, but not on the ice. They were in the woods along the trail I was following.

This is just the nicest shed antler I have ever found! I was quite surprised to look down and see it. It was located at the edge of a small stream, about 100 feet from the river.

A view of the woods as I headed back to camp.

What a great weekend it was. I had not attended the Klondike Derby for a few years. Perhaps I will join them again next January........