Saturday, June 29, 2013

May 6 - 8, 2013 Research Area D Field Notes

  The following information is a general summary of my solo research trip to area D .

   May 6
  I arrived at the research location on the evening of May 6 at around 5:30 PM , the temp was around 72 degrees with calm and clear sunny skies. Moments before reaching the selected area for camp I did a signature whistle that would be used to announce my coming or going. After making note of the above I began to erect my camp and equipment in the few hours of daylight I had left. 

After everything was set I walked around the area near camp to see if any wildlife had been through the area, I soon found raccoon, goose, deer and bobcat tracks all around the perimeter.

  At around 10:00 PM I noticed that the temp had dropped down to about 50 degrees, several quiet hours past and the temp dropped even farther to a chilly 31 degrees, I sat in my darkened camp for a while talking softly about my day to any observers that may be nearby.   I even tried to make some noise with a harmonic guitar pitch tuner just to see if anything would happen.  After a few minutes I heard a few stick snaps and leaves crunching about 20 yards into the forest on the south side of camp, I sat listening to it for a while and could not determine what was making the noise, so I decided to bed down and the rest of the night was still except for a group of coyotes went off at about 1:00 AM just a few hundred yards from camp.

   May 7
  I woke up at around 7:30 AM to see the sun peaking through the trees, the air was still and cold at 31 degrees and the entire nearby swamp had a thin layer of ice coating the surface. I got up, got my gear ready and I was off hiking by 8:00 AM. 

  I had decided to follow a game trail that followed the edge of a forest transition from hardwood to thick spruce forest looking for tracks or breaks. I walked along and bumped up several deer and grouse along the way and even found a old set of bear tracks in the damp earth. 

  I continued hiking around for about 4 hours when I came to a natural gas route, I decided to walk south on the route along an old seasonal road. I soon came to a point where the road was flooded over with about 2 feet of water when I noticed a few odd prints under water in the mud, it was clear that the tracks where bipedal in nature. I noticed also that the point where I came across the prints was leaving point of what ever made them, the prints seemed to just turn out away from the road heading into the dense swamp forest. 

I thought about trying to follow the prints into the swamp but it was to thick and I would have likely gotten lost so I decided to trace the prints back trail to see if I could get an idea of what this person or thing was doing or where it had came from. 

  As I began to trace the prints I found a few clear prints where the subject crossed dryer ground. The prints on average where 9 inches long, 4 inches wide at the ball of the foot, 3 inches wide at the heel and had an average step length of 16 inches, some of the prints had grown and shrank due the expanding and contracting with the moist substrates in which they where laid. They looked fairly fresh, I would guess about 12 hours old.

  After tracing the tracks farther about 100 or so feet I could tell that the prints had actually come onto the flooded road from the thickest part of the swamp and walked for about 150 feet to the point of where I first discovered the tracks turning back into the swamp.

  I also noticed that they all appeared to be from a single subject who by the look of it was zigzagging and pacing around in the water trying to catch frogs or some other aquatic wildlife. 

  I thought to myself that children do this kind of thing so I do consider human to be a possible origin of this trackway. That being said I can also say that due to the remoteness of the site, early time of year and temperature of the water to be just above 50 degrees that it would be very strange for a human to be marching through a massive swamp to get to this location to wade in 2 feet of icy water only to turn and walk back into the swamp.

  The temp had risen to a boiling 89 degrees at around 3:00 PM  so I took some photos and traced the movements of the subject then decided to head back toward camp. After several more hours of hiking I arrived back at camp and sat in my tent to get out of the sun for some relief.

  As evening settled in I soon began swapping SD cards, batteries and leaving a few apples out for any visitors that may drop in. 

  The sun started to set and the temperature started to drop and settled down to a cool 48 degrees, soon after the frogs started chirping like crazy.  I sat in my chair enjoying the cool air and listening when 2 massive raccoons came to the edge of the forest and watched me at my camp, I snapped a few photos and watched them slip away in the forest. 

  Just after 10:00 PM I did 3 whoops to try and get a response and got no reply so I sat down by my tent and spoke out loud for a few minutes about my day.  I soon felt tired and I decided to call it a night, the rest of the night seemed to pass with no activity.

    May 8
  I slept in until 10:00 AM and emerged from my tent to a nice temperature of 68 degrees with calm sunny skies. I soon realized that I was to leave for home at noon so I packed up camp, did my signature coming or going whistle and walked out to my ride by 12:00 PM.

  NOTE - After later going over the mass of audio from this trip nothing really interesting was captured.

  The above recorded information was collected by Michigan Researcher - Nathaniel York Bronis