One day while passing Eagle Crag, opposite Idlewild, the summer residence of C.F. Kohl, of San Francisco, with Bob Watson, he informed me that, in 1877, he was following the tracks of a deer and they led him to a cave or grotto in the upper portion of the Crag. While he stood looking in at the entrance a snarling coyote dashed out, far more afraid of him than he was surprised at the sudden appearance of the creature.
A few bears are still found in the farther away recesses of the Sierras, and on one mountain range close to the Lake, viz., the one on which Freel’s, Job’s and Job’s Sister are the chief peaks. These are brown or cinnamon, and black. There are no grizzlies found on the eastern slopes of the Sierras, nowadays, and it is possible they never crossed the divide from the richer-clad western slopes. In September, 1913, a hunting party, led by Mr. Comstock, of Tallac, and Lloyd Tevis, killed two black bears, one of them weighing fully four hundred pounds, on Freel’s Mountain, and in the same season Mr. Carl Flugge, of Cathedral Park, brought home a good-sized cinnamon from the Rubicon country, the skin of which now adorns my office floor.
The grizzly has long since been driven from the mountains, though there may be a few in southern Alpine County, but the evidence is not conclusive. The panther is migratory, preying on young colts and calves. They are not at all common, though some are heard of every year. The “ermine” is pure white in winter, except the tip of the tail, which is black. It is yellowish brown in summer.
There are two rabbits, one a huge jackrabbit of the great plains region, the other the “snowshoe” rabbit, so called because of his broad furry feet which keep it from sinking into the soft snow in winter. Both rabbits are very rare, and probably both turn white in winter. I have seen specimens of the snowshoe rabbit taken in winter that are pure white.
On the wildest and most desolate peaks and rock piles is found the cony or pika or “rock rabbit” as it is variously called. It is small, only six inches or so in length, tailless but with large round ears and soft grayish fur like a rabbit’s.
The jumping mouse is interesting. It may be seen sometimes at evening in swampy areas and meadows. It is yellowish above, whitish below, with an extremely long tail. It travels by long leaps, takes readily to the water and is an expert swimmer. The meadow mice are bluish grey and are found in swampy places. The wood mice are pure white below, brown above and are found everywhere.
Quite a number of badgers are to be found in the Tahoe region, and they must find abundance of good food, for the specimens I have seen were rolling in fat, and as broad backed as a fourteen inch board.