Keeping Out of the Beaver Wars

The cold wind storm that started yesterday morning continues to blow down the streets of Chicken Ridge. Hoping for quiet air in the Troll Woods we head out  to the glacial moraine only to find the wind blowing even harder. Early morning sun illuminates the glacier and the Mendenhall Towers it flows through so the turbulent air now buffeting us might have been driven off glacial ice by the first touch of sun.

The wind has knocked all the alder and cottonwood leaves to the ground where they lay outlined by frost. Other smaller bushes still retain their yellow and orange leaves. When backlit by the rising sun they glow with rich fall color.  One still clinging to the green draws my attention, confirming that this wind driven cold came early to the moraine.

Not wanting to cross new ice formed on a beaver flooded portion of the trail Aki stops at its edge and gives me a “if you expect me to walk through icy water you should give me shoes” stare.  Looking around to make sure no one will see, I carry her to dry ground.

Ice formed last night over most of the first lake we pass but not the second, which being deeper into the Troll Woods offers a perfect reflection of the glacier on its calm surface. Seconds after I take a picture of it the wind reaches even here to ripple the refection.

The woods’ mushrooms were caught out by the sudden freeze, Pliable as flesh last week, they now form swollen statues, a few no longer resembling the mushrooms they once were.

Turning for home we find that two new beaver dams have flooded a trail that once offering a comfortable path back to the trailhead. The small dams, simple collections of gnawed sticks, only raise the lake level a foot or so. I could destroy them in minutes but don’t.   Aki and I retain neutrality in this man versus beaver battle for the moraine even at the cost of wet boots and paws.

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