MILTON MILLS - The snow-covered fields and snowy woods of Branch Hill Farm made for a fun morning outside recently, enjoyed by a couple dozen parents, grandparents and kids who signed up for a 'Family Snowshoe Tracking' activity hosted by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways, a conservation nonprofit.
During the event, folks snowshoes provided by MMRG, followed a line of coyote tracks heading straight across the field up to the edge of the icy pond. MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren explained, "Dogs tend to wander as they walk, but coyotes can't count on regular meals so typically walk in a straight path to conserve energy."
Indeed, the coyote had continued straight across the ice. The families, however, skirted the pond and headed into the forest on a woods road, where they encountered more coyote tracks coming from the forest. The children observed that the animal had approached the opening to the field but turned around, perhaps reluctant to venture out into the open.
A hike through the woods was rewarded with a view of the scenic Branch River and the call of a blue jay. Afterward, the children got a thrill out of sledding on a variety of flying saucers and sleds generously provided for the day by the Terry family. A few initial runs created a track on the hill of fresh snow, and then the sleds flew down at high speed, to the great satisfaction of both children and adults.