Friday, July 17, 2009
It was a pleasantely clear warm windless afternoon when I took my sister , Kathy and her husband, Jim, who were visiting from Oregon for a few days on a hike north of Dubois above Cartridge Creek.
A number of years ago I had discovered a colony of Pikas[cony or rock rabbits as they are also known]living in a rock slide area at the base of cliffs overlooking the Wiggins Fork River. Because of dwindling numbers of these appealing little animals even to the point of extinction I am curious to find out if they are still there. Global warming has affected their populations in that they are unable to handle warming temperatures because of their system of metabolism. They are a small bundle of fur that resemble a rabbit with small mouse like ears. They spend their summer days harvesting grasses and wildflowers that they spread out on rocks to dry and then store back in the rocks for their winter food supply. Their one big problem in this process is their propensity for thievery. They spend as much time stealing from one another as they do in harvesting. With their shrill little whistling noise and antics they are a real joy to watch. Their natural enemies are probably mostly coyotes and Birds of Prey.
We are heading for that ridge in the upper left of this photo.