Thursday, June 30, 2011
Comings and goings of Justin Beaver
The opening in the vegetation is a beaver drag.
It's a trail between water and a beaver's foraging area, and I want you to know that I crawled down that hole to get to the creek.
I learned my lesson last December when someone pilfered my camera at a much more obvious beaver drag.
After that bothersome incident I periodically heard a commanding voice (I think it was Charlton Heston) saying "Don't set your camera at a beaver drag that other yokels can use as a path to the water".
In other words, pick a place, and preferably a muddy place where you have to get on your hands and knees and crawl.
The location of this drag was a blackberry patch overhanging a bank.
Beaver sign told me they climbed up the bank through this vegetative tunnel and crossed a dirt road to reach a willow thicket.
I checked the place out, and was climbing out of the tunnel when I tripped and fell backwards into the briar patch.
I found myself suspended like a fly in the web making feeble limb movements and thinking I was getting too damn old to be a stuntman.
"It's not just your age", I told myself, "any fool in this situation would be challenged to get out."
The problem wasn't just thorny punishment to body movement.
My legs and butt were higher than my head, and I couldn't reach benign vegetation to right myself.
I studied the warp and woof of the tangled briars, then rolled over slightly, found some smooth woody stems, and delicately climbed out and removed the thorns from hands and pants.
It was a humbling experience, but I went to the car, donned my pack and crawled back down to the creek to set the camera.
121 photos were waiting for me 6 weeks later.
Justin (or was it Justine) made 6 visits and left 16 pictures.
One to ten minutes separated his comings and goings.
Sometimes he came several times without going, and went several times without coming.
Justin was obviously using more than one route to and from the willow thicket.
I won't forget this place, but I decided to pull the cams and give the Sac Valley wetlands a break.