Tracking animals

I descend towards town through the forest in knee deep snow. Off the track the glistening powder snow reaches my groin in places. The only tracks are animals, criss-crossing my route. It's a struggle to find the way down today and branches laden with snow block my path. Finally I reach the forest track and notice large paw prints in the snow. I am no tracker but always take an interest in the various animal prints during winter. The paw prints are relatively fresh as are the tracks from a vehicle. I follow the animal tracks slowly convinced it must be a wolf or wild dog as there are no signs of any human footprints. Going by the size of its gait it can only be something the size of an Alsatian dog. 

Then after 500 meters its tracks stopped. I looked around but there was nothing to see left or right. Well it can't have just vanished, I think to myself. What makes tracking so interesting is you never know where they may end up, but they invariably end up somewhere. Slightly disappointed I concluded it must have been an Alsatian sized dog being taken for a morning walk behind the owners vehicle, which had then stopped to allow the dog to jump back inside.

I could be wrong of course, it may have been plucked away by a dragon. Recently I was followed by a barking 'wild' dog that was maybe 50 meters away and I was pretty sure it was not being taken for a walk. Even after I left a track it was still not far behind barking non-stop. I quicken my pace just to be on the safe side ... and was relieved once I had emerged from the forest and reached the edge of town.


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