As you follow Ramona toward the boundary of the Southern Forest, the path you are following opens up. Soon, the trees have thinned out. Then, you are out in the open grassland.
"This, as you may have guessed, is a part of the Grasslands. We won't do too much touring of them today though. Usually, they are a long walk and not much show."
You nod and follow. In the distance, you can see the ridge where the Northern Forest lies. Along the edge of the ridge, between the forest you have left and the forest you are heading toward, you spot a dark area, almost as though a deep purple cloud is sitting at the base of the ridge.
"Is that the Valley of Night?" you ask.
"Yep," Ramona confirms. "We'll go there after we're done with the Northern Forest. We'll just descend right into it."
"All right," you agree, trusting Ramona's judgement. Gradually, you close the distace to the ridge. The ground becomes rockier as you approach the forest. Trees begin reappearing, but different types than were in the Southern Forest. There are evergreens in the mix here. As you enter the trees, you are shaded from the hot sun. The forest here has a thick carpet of dried leaves, unlike the Southern Forest, which had mostly wet soil and brush. You breath the air and pick up the unique scent that only a forest with evergreens can have.
"Now we're getting into the Northern Forest," Ramona announces. "We're heading up the side of the Northern Ridge, a part of the mountains that surround the Refuge, which divides the Old Refuge from the Newer Refuge. The animals here are a bit wilder than the ones in the Southern Forest. We probably won't get to talk to any of them. Hopefully, we'll get to see them all though... at least, all the registered ones."
You keep your eyes peeled for activity as you climb farther into the forest. Suddenly, you pick out a splash of white in the dark vegetation. "What's that?" you ask aloud, pointing. Ramona stops and peers into the distance.
"Magwyn," she determines. "A white bobcat female. Let's see if we can get closer without scaring her off."
You follow Ramona's lead as she leads you closer to the white form. You begin to make out the details of the bobcat. Magwyn doesn't seem too surprised by your appearance, but as you get closer, she begins watching you carefully. The feline doesn't seem to want to give ground. At what Ramona judges to be a safe distance, you stop. Magwyn continues watching you, turning her head to stare every few minutes as she stalks through the forest. You notice that even the birds are being quiet as the bobcat passes.
"She's beautiful," you comment, watching her feline grace.
"Yes, she's definitely a wonderful addition. We brought her from a bobcat breeding facility. I think we're going to have to get some more eventually... or perhaps more owlgriffs."
"Yes. If we're lucky, you'll get to see Ola, the resident owlgriff. It's a fairly new species to the Refuge. They are about the size of bobcats actually, but they are more like griffons--part owl and part feline. They take the same predatory niche as a bobcat does, but they are also more efficient hunters, since they can travel farther distances more quickly."
"Ah," you say. By this time, Magwyn has moved farther away and her white coat is disappearing into the forest again.
"Let's keep going," Ramona suggests. She turns and walks up the slope again, and you follow.
Bobcat copyright © to Petzisme
Layout and content copyright © Rachel Gratis 2003-2004. Layout photograph from Image Cafe. All creatures copyright to their creators. Respect copyright and do not take images or content from this page.
Page Created: June 22, 2004
Last Updated: June 22, 2004