Cougar “That ain’t no ground squirrel!”

We don’t expect to see many animals when we’re hiking in the mountain parks. Ground squirrels, grey jays and, if we’re on the right trail, maybe hoary marmots, pikas and ptarmigan. If we’re looking for wildlife, the big sexy kind like bear, bighorn sheep, elk, moose or wolf, the highways are a better bet.

But that doesn’t mean animals aren’t near, maybe even watching us as we pass by. Usually we only see tracks and scat. Often we can’t identify who left the sign, sometimes we can: “That ain’t no ground squirrel!”

If you need proof that you’re not alone on the trail, we suggest watching the Parks Canada video “A Wild Year”. Filmed using a hidden, motion-sensing camera, this short production (4:43) captures the “traffic” over a 12-month period in a clearing just a short hike from Banff. Click on the link below for a wildlife eye-opener.

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A Wild Year—Banff National Park

Photo by Brian Patton