As some mentioned privately, yesterday’s mystery photo depicted the winter tracks of the North American Porcupine. In snow, their tracks can look oddly mechanical, owing to their measured shuffling gait and dragging tail.
A clue to the tracks’ maker was provided by the den and droppings under a stone bench which itself was under a large hemlock tree. The tracks went between the hemlock, the tree most favored by porcupines, to a small grove of apple trees with frozen and fermented apples in it, a valuable resource to many animals in the (usually) cold and snowy Vermont winters.
Happy tracking! Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section.