We were hiking lately in Canadian Rockies (the Kananaskis country) and kept encountering branches of conifers near ground covered in brown substance similar to mud or excreta.
It didn't have any strong smell but it also was mostly dry and looked quite old. There were many occurrences mostly, but not only, along trails.
One of the hiking books we have here calls this a "rarely seen bear toilet paper".
However, for us this definitely wasn't "rarely seen" and I also doubt it to be bear's poo as there was just so much of it everywhere. What is this? And if it's a bear's poo why do bears do this?
EDIT: After asking on Facebook some people suggested it's a kind of fungal infection. Though they weren't able point out the species. What kind of fungi may this be?