The general hunting season for big game began Sunday in western Montana. What began this afternoon as a short hike in the rain turned into a hunt of sorts, albeit one with several elements missing, such as a license, tags, a rifle, and an intent.
At the end of a rather short and abandoned forest road it seemed good to point my boots up the slope and climb a small game trail to the crest of a steep and very narrow ridge while enjoying the raindrops that trickled down the front of my poncho and attempted to penetrate the Gore-Tex membrane in my hat, and enjoying as well the soft view across the rain-swept valley below. Hiking along natural trails on a cool day in a light rain is such a pleasant pastime!
Old hunting instincts eventually placed me on a deer and elk trail that meandered along the side of the ridge and finally took me to a small saddle from which I could look down into the canyon to the east, and as I turned south from there toward the larger valley, to the point of the ridge and this rather haunting scene.
Near the base of the old tree, lay this whitened skull
which, by its size and shape, I perceived to be that of a bobcat. Sometimes Nature creates a monument for her own.