Forest of Flowers
Saturday, July 16, 2011 7:12:34 PM
So you really do feel like the humanised world is left behind, and nature is everywhere, and the scenery is beyond all words.
While driving is the easiest way to see large mammals, signs of wildlife are unmistakable while you're on foot. This tree has been thoroughly woodpeckered
Red squirrels leave their storehouses behind in huge caches called middens. These are raided by other wildlife, including grizzlies.
Observing wildlife while hiking requires a bit of luck and a lot of looking, because visibility is quite low in the sprawling mantle of subalpine forest that covers most of Jasper. But sometimes, you see a movement ahead...
...and a white-tailed deer demonstrates how this notoriously nervous species acquired its name.
Upon the sloughs - little lakes - you might catch a glimpse of one of Canada's most iconic creatures. This is a loon (great northern diver to Europeans) and its dancing yodel of a call is one of the most extraordinary sounds of the northern wilds
But the title of this post refers to something very different Venus slippers - a northern species of orchid - put on a beautiful display in this forest.
Closer to town, closer to the ever-watchful Columbian ground squirrels...
...there is a larger "lake", and it is made by beavers.
Cottonwood Slough is riven with beaver dams, and their changes to the landscape benefit many other creatures, from moose to frogs.
The "island" to the right of the dam is a beaver lodge, but the beavers themselves seem to be absent at present, although a muskrat or two still swims about