As I recently noted in several of my blog posts, one of the beaver lodges I love kayaking to, is no longer inhabited by beavers. The reason … the water has essentially dried up, due to the Midwest’s drought of 2012. Located in west-central Missouri, we are in the “Exceptional” drought range of this year’s drought. For anyone not familiar, the “Exceptional” rating is the worst rating a drought can have (I’d never heard of this rating before!). We are currently ~ 14-15″ behind where we should be for the year … and if you go back to this time in 2011, we are ~20″ behind! Needless to say, these conditions are not good for wildlife!
As a result, my 2 local kayaking locations with beaver lodges have both dried up. I sure miss not being able to kayak with the beavers. About a week ago, I hiked in to one of these areas to check out the area and to see if I might be able to catch a beaver outside the lodge. Unfortunately, I not only did not find any beavers wandering around, but I also found that there was very little water around the lodge … too little to support their continued occupancy in the lodge.
When I reached the lodge, I snapped this image from the backside (note: normally, water is standing all around the lodge, even on the backside, but the area was totally dry):
Walking through the trees to the front side, I was shocked to see the water levels so low (this next photo was taken as I stood with the beaver lodge at my right side, and looking into the creek):
Normally, the water level would be up to the trees in the background, and all of the willows would be in a shallow, marshy area. And the foreground would be covered with water … even where I was standing to make this photograph! In this next image, I walked a ways down the treeline and crossed over so that I was standing in what normally was the creek bed. The lodge I just showed is located just a bit to the left of center in this image, and back into the wooded area. And water would be standing in most of this image:
After taking the above shot, I walked back through the wooded opening and made a shot to the area where I was standing for the above photo:
In fact, that last photo is the area where I have been walking in with the kayak, and launching from here … not anymore! After seeing this, I decided to check the lake, that is located about a quarter of a mile away, across a gravel road. In the next post, I’ll share what I found there. By the way, all of this post’s images were made with my point/shoot camera. I also had my SLR camera with me, but had a 100-400mm lens on it … way too much to cover what I wanted to show.
After posting this blog post, I am working my way up to Alaska to photograph the brown bears of Katmai. I’m expecting to catch lots of nice looking brown bears, growing their full coats for the winter, and catching lots of salmon. My posting will be a bit sporadic over the next 2 weeks. I’m hoping to make some on-the-spot posts of some of the beautiful scenery and wildlife along the way, but how much depends on the internet availability and my free time. I may also try to re-post some of my more popular, early blog posts. It just all depends on how things work out. And the posts I make will likely be made on my website and not to Twitter. So if you want to keep up-to-date with my activity, you might check out my blog posts (on my website), or even sign up for the automated e-mail notifications, or RSS feed … that will assure you that you will stay in tune with my travels while I am gone. As I have some time, I will try to do some tweeting, but it will be rather sporadic … there’s just too much to see and do in such a beautiful place!