Marmots…

 

The marmots were extremely busy, out and about this past weekend.  We hiked to Hidden Lake and spotted 4 separate Hoary Marmots!

I was able to get pictures of  two of them…

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The hoary marmot is a large, bulky, ground squirrel, with short, heavy limbs, and a broad head. Adults range from 62 to 82 cm (24 to 32 in) in total length, including a 17 to 25 cm (6.7 to 9.8 in) tail. The species is sexually dimorphic, with males being significantly larger than females in most subspecies. Because of their long winter hibernation, during which they survive on fat reserves, the weight of the animals varies considerably over the course of the year, from an average of 3.75 kg (8.3 lb) in May to around 7 kg (15 lb) in September, for a fully grown adult. A few fall adults can weigh up to 10 kg (22 lb), with exceptional ones attaining 13.5 kg (30 lb).  It is reportedly the largest member of the squirrel family, though the slightly lighter alpine marmot is sometimes titled this as well.

Hoary marmots are diurnal and herbivorous, subsisting on leaves, flowers, grasses, and sedges. Predators include golden eagles, grizzly and black bears, wolves, coyotes, red foxes, lynxes,cougars and wolverines. They live in colonies of up to 36 individuals, with a home range averaging about 14 hectares (35 acres). Each colony includes a single, dominant, adult male, up to three adult females, sometimes with a subordinate adult male, and a number of young and subadults up to two years of age.

The marmots hibernate seven to eight months a year in burrows they excavate in the soil, often among or under boulders. Each colony typically maintain a single hibernaculum and a number of smaller burrows, used for sleeping and refuge from predators. The refuge burrows are the simplest and most numerous type, consisting of a single bolt hole 1 to 2 metres (3 ft 3 in to 6 ft 7 in) deep. Each colony digs an average of five such burrows a year, and a mature colony may have over a hundred. Sleeping burrows and hibernacula are larger and more complex, with multiple entrances, deep chambers lined with plant material, and stretching to a depth of about 3.5 metres (11 ft). A colony may have up to 9 regular sleeping burrows, in addition to the larger hibernaculum.

Many forms of social behaviour have been observed among hoary marmots, including play fighting, wrestling, social grooming, and nose-to-nose touching. Such activity becomes particularly frequent as hibernation approaches. Interactions with individuals from other colonies are less common, and usually hostile, with females chasing away intruders. Hoary marmots are also vocal animals, with at least seven distinct types of calls, including chirps, whistles, growls, and whining sounds. Many of these calls are used as alarms, alerting other animals to potential predators. They also communicate using scent, both by defecation, and by marking rocks or plants using scent glands on their cheeks.

Hoary marmots frequently sun themselves on rocks, spending as much as 44% of their time in the morning doing so, although they will shelter in their burrows or otherwise seek shade in especially warm weather. They forage for the rest of the day, returning to their burrows to sleep during the night.

In areas frequented by people, hoary marmots are not shy. Rather than running away at first sight, they will often go about their business while being watched.

Mating occurs after hibernation, and two to four young are born in the spring. Males establish “harems”, but may also visit females in other territories.

The word “hoary” refers to the silver-gray fur on their shoulders and upper back; the remainder of the upper parts have drab- or reddish-brown fur. The head is black on the upper surface, with a white patch on the muzzle, white fur on the chin and around the lips, and grizzled black or brown fur elewhere. The feet and lower legs are black, sometimes with white patches on the fore feet. Marmots have long guard hairs that provide most of the visible colour of their pelage, and a dense, soft underfur that provides insulation. The greyish underparts of the body lack this underfur, and are more sparsely haired than the rest of the body. Hoary marmots moult in the early to mid summer.

The feet have slightly curved claws, which are somewhat larger on the fore feet than on the hind feet. The feet have hairless pads, enhancing their grip. The tail is long, slightly flattened, and covered with dense fur. Apart from the larger size of the males, both sexes have a similar appearance. Females have five pairs of teats, running from the pectoral to the inguinal regions.

For more info go here…

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Unknown Beauty…

 

This little guy or gal was spotted in South Dakota on the Needles Highway last fall.  I am not sure what it is…

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Same thing for this one! lol…

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I would love to know what they are…

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Good Morning…

 

Last night’s beautiful moon!  Can you imagine hiking to the top of mountain by moonlight?  That’s what Sawyer and his buddies did this morning or maybe call it last night, where-ever 2 a.m. fits in that time frame.  They hiked to the top of Mt. Aneas in the Jewel Basin to watch the earth come alive…

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The first hints of daylight…P1230285 P12302931 P12303001 P12303131 P12303221 P12303341 P12303351 P12303391 P12303471 P12303491

I love these two pictures of this young man!

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The hike back down in the daylight…P12303511 P12303461 P1230352

What a wonderful experience for these guys!

A little more info about Mt. Aeneas in the Jewel Basin…

At just over 7,500 feet Mount Aeneas could easily be bypassed for other peaks with higher elevations or in more popular locations such as Glacier National Park.

To do so would be to miss a jewel of a peak. In fact, Mount Aeneas is located in the Jewel Basin. The views into Glacier National Park, The Bob Marshal Complex and The Flathead Valley are worth the easy hike to the summit. The map rates it as strenuous but by Glacier National Park Standards this is an easy class 1/2 hike.

The Jewel Basin is home to 27 lakes and most of them have fish in them. In days gone by it was possible to enter the Jewel Basin and have the area to yourself. Talk about fishing and a great wilderness experience!

Remote campsites are provided at a few selected lakes and most of them are an easy day hike away from the trailhead at Camp Misery (more on the name later). The Jewel Basin is made up of 15,349 acres (62.1 km²) and 50 miles of trails. The Jewel Basin is specially designated for hiking only, with motorized vehicles and horses prohibited.

The locals say that Camp Misery was named for the place that a local tribe spent a terrible winter. It is not impossible to imagine such a winter as the snowfall in this particular area is measured in feet not inches.

More Info Here…

Mount Aeneas is named for Chief Aeneas Paul who was born in 1828 and was also known as Big Knife II and Koostatah I.

As Chief of a band of Kootenai along the western shore of Flathead Lake, Chief Aeneas struggled with the rapid white settlement of the Flathead Valley. 

By one account, the half Iroquois Aeneas Paul rose to chief when Chief Baptiste was killed by Blackfeet Indians near the site of present-day Hungry Horse Dam in 1876. He had six children by his wife Woman’s Cry of Triumph. Two of his sons would die at the hands of white men and two would carry on as chief after him. 

Chief Aeneas is of the Dayton Creek band of the Kootenai. He is believed to be one of the negotiators of the Hell Gate Treaty of 1855 and an interpreter for missionaries such as Father Pierre Jean DeSmet. 

Other names of nearby geographic features — like Broken Leg Mountain, Lamoose Lake, and Baptiste Peak — reflect the names of Kootenai leaders from the mid-to-late 1800s. 

Source: Swan Journal article by Keith Hammer 

 

This and That…

Some pictures off of my hubby’s phone…

Most of them are using the panorama option off of his iPhone, it’s kind of fun, especially in scenic places like Waterton!

 

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Prince of Wales Hotel…

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Glacier Park, sun set

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At  a wedding last weekend with a great view of the hay-field, Flathead Lake and the mountains!

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Bighorn Sheep…

 

Some wildlife from the Badlands in South Dakota…

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Bighorn males, called rams, are famous for their large, curled horns. These impressive growths are a symbol of status and a weapon used in epic battles across the Rocky Mountains. Fighting for dominance or mating rights, males face each other, rear up on their hind legs, and hurl themselves at each other in charges of some 20 miles (32 kilometers) an hour. The resounding clash of horns can be heard echoing through the mountains as the confrontation is repeated—sometimes for many hours—until one ram submits and walks away. The animal’s thick, bony skull usually prevents serious injury.

A Rocky Mountain bighorn ram’s horns can weigh 30 pounds (14 kilograms)—more than all the bones in his body combined. Females (ewes) also have horns, but they are of smaller size.

Rocky Mountain bighorns inhabit the mountains from Canada south to New Mexico. They are relatives of goats, and have balance-aiding split hooves and rough hoof bottoms for natural grip. These attributes, along with keen vision, help them move easily about rocky, rugged mountain terrain.

Wild sheep live in social groups, but rams and ewes typically meet only to mate. Rams live in bachelor groups and females live in herds with other females and their young rams. When fall mating arrives, rams gather in larger groups and ram fighting escalates. Usually only stronger, older rams (with bigger horns) are able to mate.

In winter, bighorn herds move to lower-elevation mountain pastures. In all seasons, these animals eat available grass, seeds, and plants. They regurgitate their food to chew it as cud before swallowing it for final digestion.

Lambs are born each spring on high, secluded ledges protected from bighorn predators such as wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions—though not the golden eagles which target lambs. Young can walk soon after birth, and at one week old each lamb and its mother join others in a herd. Lambs are playful and independent, though their mothers nurse them occasionally for four to six months.

Read more here…

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Plus a little Badlands landscape…

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A Day with Big Brother…

A couple of weeks ago the boys spent the day doing what they love best! With their big brother!!  What else could the boys ask for?

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Garrett and his catch! He caught 8 fish in all!

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Nice sunfish, Teigen!

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Zayne is pretty proud!  He caught 5 fish that day!

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Two at once!

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Another double catch!  Hayden caught 5 fish!

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The line-up!  These fish don’t stand a chance.P1230179

Teigen caught 10 fish that day!  Happy boy!

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Sawyer, big brother himself, caught three fish in between taking fish off the hook and fixing tangles.P1230183

Thanks Sawyer for the incredibly fun day catching lots of fish!  Lots of memories made.

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