SOME EXPERIENCES WITH BEAVERS
Ted Thaxton and I had been very good friends for some time, and he and his wife invited us to go up to their cabin in the mountains above Mirror Lake one weekend. They had a comfortable cabin in a beautiful area. There was a small stream nearby and some small lakes not too far away. I walked a small stream nearby and some small lakes not too far away. I walked over to some beaver ponds that had been built in some of these lakes. This sight brought back many memories about beavers and as I sit here in March of 1979, I am 75 years old, but as these memories come back to me I think I would like to share them with my grandchildren. It’s a novel way they build their homes out in the middle of the lake, and they build them good! As they build their dams in the creek which causes the pond or small lake to form, first they drive pieces of limbs of trees deep into the mud out in the middle of the stream. This is the beginning of their home. Then they weave smaller limbs in between and pad mud all over and all around their work. The center of their home is water and they enter this from tunnels they build from sticks and mud is built really solid and tight. This is above water and is where they sleep and raise their young. It is also where they store food for winter. I have drawn a picture to show you how this was done. Their home looks rough on the outside, but is quite an engineering feat on the inside, as are their dams.
I am reminded of some of my experiences with beavers. During the depression I had to trap to bring in some extra money so we could pay our expenses since we couldn’t get much for our crops. One day I found a great big hole under the river bank. I thought it was probably a beaver’s so I set a trap for it because I really needed the money I could get for its skin. The hole ran up under a large tree, in amongst the roots, so you see they don’t always build in the middle of a pond. I went back in a day or so and I had the beaver and I noted that he really had a good home.
One time in 1963, I was fishing on the upper Provo River with some friends from Bountiful. I was going from one point to another on the river. There was a little pond of water in my path too wide to step over, so I stepped in it. I soon found myself in mucky water over my head. I put my fishing rod across from one side to the other and I got myself out. Then I had to go swimming to wash myself off. I had fallen into an old beaver tunnel about 500 feet from the river’s edge. They are quite the engineers and builders in their line of work.
Thinking of these things has conjured up another memory. We had a dog that was really hard on coyotes. One morning when I was driving into town I saw a coyotes and thinking he was alone I set Tip on him. It turned out that there was two coyotes and when Tip would chase one the other would chase Tip. It was several days before Tip came home. I don’t know what happened. He never told me, but I’ll bet he really gave them a chase, especially if he got close enough to get a hold of one.
To be continued…