Jess is taking a WFR course over in Conway, both for the course and to get CEs so she can renew EMT.
Over the weekend they had a break and she was the only one in the class that stayed, so I went down. On Saturday we went on a hike, despite my fogetting the snowshoes and the snow being hip-deep. We only broke through that deep occasionally and were able mostly to only posthole about knee-deep which is doable.
Well, while we were hiking Jess spotted these tracks
First let me explain what you are seeing. This bear is direct registering, so the large rear paw landed exactly over the front, the rear being larger though didn't sink in as far leaving the front still clearly visible.
Bear tracks aren't all that unusual. I've seen them a few times certainly. These tracks though are a little unusual. It's actually comparatively rare that bears put down the heals of their feet front or rear but especially rear. Usually it's just the front of the paws both front and back, as if you put the ball if your hand and fingers on the ground, but kept the heal of your hand up. It's exactly like what people usually call "walking on your toes" in humans. This track though shows the full extent of their surprisingly human hind foot, so I thought I'd share.
I misintepreted these tracks, sorry about that! Jess caught me. The larger foot is the *front* foot. You can tell by pressure release that the smaller foot landed second. I did notice that but decided I must be mistake on my part. I also misremembered the shape of a bears hind foot (since, as they put their heal down so rarely you don't usually see it!), so I thought the heal mark was from that foot not the other one. The heal mark from the front foot is actually barely visible in real life (not really in the photo) but mostly obliterated. That front heal mark is actually in the middle of the palm of the hind foot. There should be a slight arch in the foot there, but it's missing.