Where’d the snow go?

It is crazy what a difference a week makes out here in Colorado.  Last week we were playing in snow up to my knees in certain spots and I was numb on my bike ride home.  Then a week later, almost all of the snow is gone and temperatures are creeping back up towards 70 degrees!

I don’t know that I can keep up with the changes, but I know that the Chickadee Clan is ready to take whatever mother nature throws at us and making the best of it!

After our circle sharing some thanks, the crew really wanted to go across the creek and play a game! Our volunteer, Rivi, suggested a game that she really enjoyed called Cougar Stalks Deer.  I am pretty sure I know 5 different games by that name so she explained the one that she meant.  In this version, one Deer stands in the middle of a large circle.  Everyone else spreads out around the circle and is a Cougar actively hunting the Deer in the middle. The catch is that the Deer has amazing hearing and peripheral vision and the Cougar hunts by stealth. If a Cougar is still moving when a deer catches them in view then they say so and the Cougar has to reset!  When a Cougar gets within “pouncing distance” (about arm’s length), they can tag the Deer and have dinner!  This is a great game to both get into a quiet mind and start to really emphasize with the wild creatures that play a game of life of death everyday out there! The kids loved it so much that each wanted a turn to be the deer.

After holding all of that quiet energy, we spread out to do what we wanted with the remaining small patch of snow that the shade had spared from the sun’s wrath.  Some chose to have a little snowball fight, while others ended up starting on the world’s biggest snowball! By the time it was done most of the kids had helped a little and they all wanted to roll it about 40 or 50 yards down the the creek…  It was no easy task and fun to watch them figure out how to work together to get it done!

After a satisfying crash, it was time to explore the creek.  We all recognized that even though it was a bit warmer out, it was still not a great idea to get soaking wet so we mostly explored the trail that parallel the water.  One tree along here provided us with 3 pretty cool mysteries!  The first, that drew our attention was a teardrop shaped spot on the tree where a creature had chewed the soft bark.  While looking at this, we found a tail and hindquarters to a small rodent under the chews! Looking at the other side of the tree, a good sized wild creature had actually pooped on a cut branch of the same tree. It appeared to have eaten some plants with very large shiny pits (actually looked like beetle shells at first glance).  After some measurements and consultation with the hand Scats and Tracks of the Rockies guide we determined that it was our friend Raccoon!  Wonder if it was the same guy whose tracks we found this fall!   As a reminder, it is always a good idea to examine scat with a long stick and not get your nose too close. Raccoon scat can be especially harmful to us humans!

Unfortunately, our Quinzee from the week before had melted out, but we had a fantastic day in the sun! Supposed to be even warmer this week! Crazy! See you soon!

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