I pulled up to the trail head and was immediately greeted by a fox upon exiting my car.
The fox had a slight head start on me heading up the mountain, but it paused to wait for me.
We continued up the trail, the fox walking quickly and assuredly, ducking into ditches or behind bushes where possible, and maintaining a distance of about 25 yards from me, sometimes on the trail, sometimes behind me, but mostly leading the way. The fox is stealthily, making no detectable noise.
Yet whenever I paused the fox paused as well, seeming to wait for me. We moved quickly but with frequent breaks.
Despite the dalliance, we were clearly focused and on a mission.
The fox dips down to a runnel to enjoy a quick drink before continuing up the mountain.
We have now traveled more than half a mile together and reached the tree line at around 11,600 ft, gaining over 300 feet of elevation in the process. At last we find the scent of prey.
Slowly, quietly we creep.
We pause and listen for the prey. The fox can hear something, probably a ground rodent of some type, scrabbling around beneath the plant cover. I can neither see nor hear any movement, but the fox remains focused, it’s ears moving gently to follow sounds on it can hear. We wait patiently over several minutes while the fox waits for the perfect opportunity to strike.
Finally, the fox cautiously shifts its legs to adjust its positioning.
POUNCE! The prey escapes. The fox chases it under the tree.
Alas, dinner did not cooperate. So on we hunt. . .