This is a follow-up to my little puzzler last Wednesday. The picture above was accompanied by the question, “Who made these tracks?” Jakz guessed correctly that it was a beaver. All the clues are there, from the tail dragging as he waddled back to the pond with his load to the marks made by the aspen tree he was dragging. At upper left you can see the tracks he made on the way to the “harvest zone”. He wasn’t loaded down yet, so there is little sign of tail dragging.
The Colorado mountains are chock full of beaver sign now. These are the same mountains that drew all those trappers in the early 1800s. Men like Jim Bridger, Hugh Glass, John Colter, the Meek Brothers (with their unfitting surname), and my favorite character, Jedediah Smith. These colorful characters were inspiration for the legendary image of the Mountain Man. And they were definitely colorful. Consider Grizzly Adams and Liver-eating Johnson.
I have always wished I was born then, wished I had lived the life of a mountain man. They trapped out these mountains, supplying the beaver pelts for all those top hats worn by fashionable Europeans. Succeeding decades saw continuous pressure on beaver populations. But the beaver are definitely back now!
Here are a couple other shots I got on that (freezing) morning walk at over 11,000 feet. Despite all the sign, I haven’t yet spotted one of the industrious critters on this trip. When I do I’ll post the pictures. Hope everyone’s weekend is going well.