Beaver, (Castor canadensis), hauling willow back to his lodge for the winter, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
You undoubtedly heard the news; today’s bling is Social Networking. You need to be on Facebook and you need to Tweet (loud and often). You need people to Digg your Flickrworld, you need to be Linked In, Hooked Up and Decked Out. You need to do this because you can’t afford not to, because everyone else is doing it, and because if you want to get ahead in life, to succeed, you need to do what everyone else is doing. Right?
It’s true, so I jumped right in. In the last few months I’ve opened the pages of Facebook and Tweeted my first Tweet, and just this week started a Flickr photo account. Additionally, my guiding business, Expeditions Alaska, is now Linked In. Social networking, I’ve been instructed, is the key to my future success and now, after wrapping up a summer of hiking and backpacking in the mountains, I’m giving it a shot.
It’s an interesting and somewhat challenging process. You don’t need me to write about the ways in which successful folks engage this ‘social networking’, as this has been covered elsewhere far more effectively than I might manage. The topic here is the pervasive, engulfing nature of such sites as Twitter and Facebook, etc. According to their stats page Facebook has more than 300 million active users (irony of the term ‘users’ duly noted). Continue reading →
So this last week I spent on the north side of the park, exploring clouds and rain and drizzle. The glory of fall in Alaska. I found this small beaver pond, replete with beaver, so I spent a few hours photographing them in their little demesne. The pond was host to a couple of adults, male and female, and their offspring, 3 young kits. It was fascinating to watch them go about their business (mainly eating) for hours on end.
The ole saying ‘busy as a beaver’ could equally hold as ‘hungry as a beaver’; all these critters do is eat, it seems. I watched this male swim to the pond’s shore, clamber out of the water, saunter down the trail, then reappear maybe 10 minutes later with a large willow sapling clenched between his teeth, dragging the branch behind him, as he re-entered the pond, and swam back towards his lodge.
I was super fortunate that he stopped to eat right in front of me, and during the course of his dinner, all of the other beavers came by, at some point, to scrounge a branch or 2 off his sapling. Apparently willow leaves are good eating for a beaver. The ruckus that followed was almost comical, the various assortment of noises being surprisingly diverse.