Dawn Patrol

After yesterday’s pond walk, I decided to camp the night nearby. After driving home, I assembled the usual pile of camping gear near the front door: tent, sleeping bags and pads, gas stove and kettle for morning coffee, food for Aki and I, and warm clothes. An hour later the tent was up and the little dog and I were taking an evening walk. A beaver swam near us on the reedy pond. Pale, almost imitation sunset colors showed through clouds above the pond. Tomorrow, little dog, we may have sunshine.

            Aki started the curled up in her own little sleeping pad inside the tent. When the temperatures dropped to September cold, she crawled into my sleeping bag. We slept well, even though the nearby Mendenhall roared like a jet engine all night. 

          The sun broke over a mountain ridge in early morning, flooding the campground with light. I made a coffee and carried it to the shore of Mendenhall Lake just in time to see and a beaver swim right at me. I tried to imitate one of the lake-side alders as the beaver continued its approach. I must have twitched when it was right in front of me because it slapped the water with its tail and dived. 

            The beaver popped up seconds later and continued its patrol along the shore. After it disappeared around a nearby little point, I went back to the campsite to build the morning fire. Fog had been thickening on the lake’s surface while I watched the beaver. After the fire took hold, I returned to see whether the fog had survived the strengthening sunshine. Instead of fog, I saw the beaver doing one last patrol along the lake shore before tucking into its den for the day. 

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