Friday, August 22, 2014

Arctic Ground Squirrels

A recent trip to Hatcher Pass once again left me feeling happy and content. My husband and I decided to spend the evening out and although we looked at the sky and saw beautiful clear blues with warm sun all around us, we opted to go in the only direction where clouds covered the mountains. The reason for this was purely wildflowers. We hoped for light rain and saturated colors for our macro shots of the many lovely plants scattered across the different elevations of the Pass. More on that later. A wildflower post of Hatcher Pass will take a while. I'll just say that it was a successful trip, once again. For now, I've put together photos and video taken on our Hatcher Pass hikes of the Arctic Ground Squirrels living in the many burrows along the trails. The video was taken on our August 18th wildflower hike near Independence Mine.

John Muir called the arctic ground squirrels the "staff of life" for the many animals of Denali National Park. These cute little rodents are one of the most common food sources for the predators of Denali. On a trip recently to Denali National Park, I found an interesting ground squirrel display hidden away in the interactive educational displays in the main Visitor Center.

The sign on the display says that one burrow in DNP had 56 different escape exits to avoid digging predators. Hatcher Pass is littered with small holes, a hazard to watch out for while hiking.

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