We set out on the search for more skulls. Google Earth, while horrible about respecting citizen privacy, is a great tool for looking at what you can’t see from the road. I spent some time looking at the areas around the bus and selecting a hiking route that I thought might garner the boys some skulls.
The Mrs. dropped me off with the boys on a dead end road that was cut off by a seasonal washout. I had my packbasket loaded with some grub, coats, an axe, binoculars and a range finder.
We hiked into the washout and ducked under a cow fence, being careful not to cross any posted land.
We headed up a snowy ravine that I had mapped. With the lack of open space, child #3 started to grow nervous. It was dark in the depths of the ravine with walls climbing each side. He was scared about running into coyotes and mountain lions, mostly because we were seeing lots of tracks. Sure enough, he started saying he had to poop or puke and he wasn’t sure which. He’s the more timid of the three boys and we’re trying to work through some of that type of nervousness to help make him more confident.
As I walked ahead of him, he was yelling things like, “Don’t you know if you walk ahead of me, the mountain lion is going to eat me and you’re not even going to see it?!?!” and, “I’m going to barf right here!” We’d made a pact before we left that if he was coming on the hike, he was going to complete the hike, so I did what dads do, ignored him, and marched on. He screamed, “I HAVE TO POO….” and we all stopped suddenly. I looked to my right and saw a tooth laying near the trunk of a tree. I was certainly happy for the distraction.
I told the boys that where we find a whole tooth, there is usually a skull. They jumped to action, climbed the hill beside us, pushing through a little brush. Sure enough, on the other side, we found this.
I wasn’t sure what it was. I’m still learning. I picked up the skull and looked it over, wondering if it was a coyote or some sort of cat, due to the sharp canine teeth. For some reason, neither seemed to fit. I tossed it in my packbasket and we kept moving. Interestingly enough, the talk about pooping, puking and panicking stopped.
We walked out of the ravine and into some open range. I immediately spotted something white on the treeline across the field. One boy grabbed the binoculars and the other grabbed the range finder. The were able to tell me that the saw a large bone and that it was about 100 yards out.
We high high tailed it across the field and came upon the remains of a cow, strewn over about two thousand square feet. I took the right, child #3 took the middle and child #2 went left. #2 found the skull.
We sat down and had a bite to eat. #3 started going on about Star Wars and what would I do if the skeletal remains we just found were that of a ton-ton or however you spell it. The beauty of this place is that you can see for miles when you’re in the right spot.
We circled around the mountain, following a washout into some dense woods. Well, dense for our area of Colorado. Me being from Maine, using dense anywhere in Colorado is a little laughable.
In the washout, we found an interesting structure. It was made out of axe hewn lumber. No door. Just open on the top. I didn’t see signs of it being a well house and there is no other structure even relatively close to it. I’m wondering if it was some sort of root cellar? We’re going to go back next time and bring the metal detector.
After exiting the woods, we headed straight overland back to the bus on foot. It was a good hike and I certainly felt it the next day.
Now, back to the little skull. When we got back to the bus, I put it beside what I thought to be a coyote skull. I took pictures and posted them to Facebook as soon as I got reception.
My sources say that neither is a coyote. The little head we found on the hike looks to be a baby bear. What is a baby bear doing on the high plains? I have absolutely no idea. I really didn’t think they were in the area. I wonder if he was passing through and starved to death. The high plains really aren’t a good place for a bear. Not much for trees, undergrowth, or food, unless they are eating cows.
So what is the other skull? Not sure. Uncle Bern says maybe a large domestic dog like a St. Bernard. Weird, crazy, strange. But those words fit in well in this part of Colorado.
Mike Oscar Hotel…..out.