Across the lake in Montmorency County, Michigan, we heard the rhythmic bark of some animal. So rhythmic and so prolonged that we turned to the sound to try and make sense of it.

‘Was that a dog?’ my friend asked.

It was a bark to be sure. But.

‘It seemed too fast to be a dog,’ I said. The barks had such little space between them that I thought perhaps it could be an owl barking, thinking of the saw-whet’s escalating toots and how fast they get, a bit like a bouncing ball settling down to the table.

We were just about to conjecture some more when down the shore we heard a great cacophony.

For a split second, I thought it was the loons looning out their warning call: a ghostly yodel which a few days earlier I’d almost mistaken for the bugle of an elk. We were, after all, very near the elk capital of Michigan. Just as I was about to whisper loon, I heard the unmistakable eerie yips of the coyotes answering back to what must have been a family member.

Rocky Raccoon