Last month I hiked the well traveled Sugar Run Trail at Ohiopyle State Park. At the top of the trail I saw footprints of people and dogs … and I encountered this. I put my boot next to it for scale.
I didn’t see paw prints near it but the size of this scat pile indicates it was deposited by a large mammal. There’s not a lot of fur in it and it’s blue (why?) so this animal eats more than just meat.
The scat had been deposited so recently that I could smell it as I took the photograph. I found another, older pile further down the trail. This large omnivorous mammal left his mark over and over again. A black bear.
The bear lives there. I was just visiting. Though he wasn’t in sight he was probably in earshot so I made human noise (speaking, whistling) so he’d know I was traveling through.
I’m sure he didn’t want to be surprised any more than I did!
(photo by Kate St. John)