Monday, December 6, 2010
Lunch with an icon
Okay, maybe I didn't have lunch but the icon did and I was there, so that has to count for something.
The icon of course was the great Canadian Beaver. That furry little pelt upon the back of this, America's second largest rodent, is what spurred the settlement of Canada and without which there would be no basketball, Tim Horton's or Superman comic books. We may have been responsible for more but I only mention the most important items. Quick - what is the largest rodent?
Our lunch date was up on the Tranquille river and I, in an escape from the keyboard, had made the hike up there on my own. The chilling winds kept most of my usual companions curled up around a glowing TV set and I was forced to be my own company (quite frankly, I'm probably not all that fun to hike with - I just wouldn't shut up or let myself get a word in edgewise) but I was all that I had so I, and my other personalities, made our way up alongside the river.
I had gone up there with the hopes of getting some footage of an American Dipper and apart from a fleeting glimpse of one making its way up the river I was to be skunked on that particular quest. But on my way back I decided to check out what I thought were a set of beaver tracks just upstream of the lodge. Sure enough, when I got there a large black form was waddling down the ice. It slipped into the open water just upstream of the dam and I quickly positioned myself for his return.
I was quickly rewarded for my stealth with the beaver's return. His poor eyesight and my ninja like ability to appear like a tree - albeit a big fat tree - allowed me to shoot for nearly 90 minutes. I watched as he chewed down numerous trees and saplings and marveled at his resistance to the icy cold waters. Finally something spooked him - perhaps another hiker along the trail away from the river or perhaps he caught wind of me - whatever the cause, he dropped everything, scooted across the ice and dove under without a backwards glance.
Oh, the answer to the rodent question - the capybara