22 Jun The Missing Beaver
I spent most of this week in park wide training for first season park service staff but at the end of the week I led a hike on the Chilkoot Trail with the goal to reach several sample sites. When I was not in training I was planning for the hike. Being the one to plan the excursion was a new experience. I had to communicate with several people to determine the goals for the outing, who was going to go, how we were going to get there and many other details, big and small. After a week of planning, we all met at the designated spot and headed out. Once on the trail the scenery was much different from how it was a week ago. The water level of the surrounding river and streams had risen due to increased glacial runoff from recent warm weather. Normally I walk the trail with a bit of urgency but up until that moment I had no had the opportunity of walking the trail when so much water had engulfed the landscape. I could not help but slow my pace a little and marvel at the wilderness around me.
As we were walking along the trail the left side was the shoreline to the Taiya River and as we walked looking through the brush, fallen trees and vegetation, there was an opening. Through that opening there was a beaver perched on the trunk of a fallen tree. As we all looked at the beaver, we started reaching for our phones to take a picture of the beaver. Fumbling through our packs looking for our phones the beaver turns and faces us flaps his tail as if it were teasing us. When we were finally prepared to snap a photo of the beaver, it turns and casually slides into the water leaving us all slightly frustrated with ourselves for not being quick enough. After our beaver encounter we continued to our sites bushwhacking off trail to reach them. We conducted our sampling and returned without any hiccups. Working on the trail every day is always interesting because if you are not enjoying the scenery then you are enjoying the wildlife which always makes for an adventure.