Cute creature for the day -- a squirrel at University Lake, sitting on a beaver-felled tree, perfectly still, pretending that he's not there. Or maybe, that we are not there.
We spent much of the afternoon running errands and wanted a different place to walk than our usual haunts. A path around University Lake, one of a few places in Anchorage where dogs are allowed off-leash, came to mind. In the summer it can be thick with mosquitoes, but at this time of the year, it's bug-free.
The dozens of dogs, of all sizes, were well behaved. None of them chased us, all of them went to their humans when called. Some were on leashes, and a couple were muzzled -- suggesting possible previous unfortunate encounters?
At least as interesting as the dogs were the unseen beavers. Their toothwork surrounded the lake, and had been going on for a while. It was surprising, in fact, that any trees were left standing.
Here are a couple of fresh-cut trees, and a dozen more that were chomped down in earlier years, Most of the shoreline looks like this. Ice still on the water here, around much of the lake.
This tree was a hundred feet from the shore, and had been cut years ago; now it hosts lichens.
Signs posted on trees that hadn't been downed yet warned of aggressive beavers.
Some trees, and groups of trees were protected with wire netting -- we couldn't figure out why they were chosen and not others.
Jim's good deed for the day: the boy swinging from the tree at the right lost his baseball cap while dangling out over the open water where Campbell Creek enters the lake. The kid on the left is reaching for it, but can't quite get it. Enter Jim, with walking stick, which he loans to boy on left. Boy gets hat, and everyone cheers.
Campbell Creek enters the lake at the east side, and runs through it, and out again at the west.
The path was often muddy, dense with dog and people prints. Seems likely that many dogs need a bath once they're home. Two cute little ones that looked like a cross between a dachshund and a tiny poodle barely cleared the dry parts of the path, and must have had a slog through this area.