Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Death at Dworshak

Two days before the big opening of the campground when families were due to arrive for their much anticipated inaugural camping trip of the season, there was some big excitement in the campground.  It was nothing major like a water main break or complete electrical outage; it was just a dead deer behind site #32 that appeared to be killed by a mountain lion.  O.k., so that could be big!  The wildlife biologist (Russ) discovered the deer and alerted us and the other four work campers –  since we all have dogs, he was concerned about their safety.  The bite marks around the neck and missing innards were indications that a carnivore had killed it and was eagerly feeding on it.  This was no natural death by old age.  So now things are getting interesting at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir!

Warning:  the next photo is not for the squeamish.
Betsy and I were totally intrigued with this new development so we leashed up Spirit and ventured over to site #32 to survey the situation.  The kill was fresh and the aura of the site sent Spirit’s hackles up as she approached the area with monumental caution.  Her nose was going crazy with unknown smells and her slinking posture indicated she felt this was not a good place to be. 

Note the campground in the back right of the photo.
So now we were off to find Russ and interrogate him some more about this Wild Kingdom episode that had unfolded.  Mountain lions are fairly common in the area and Russ felt this was more likely to be a mountain lion kill than wolves.   Betsy and I pleaded with Russ to set up a motion-activated wildlife camera near the carcass as we wanted to know more.  It was not good enough for our minds to run wild with possible scenarios, we wanted facts (and pictures).


Russ and Andrew (the Park Ranger and our “boss”) decided it would be a good idea to move the carcass out of the campground and set up a camera at a new location.  After all, they did not want to attract large carnivores in child-filled campgrounds and site #32 was going to really start smelling.  We agreed whole heartedly with that decision.  So the deer was loaded up in the ‘gator’ and relocated about 75 yards away from the campground into the woods.  The plan was to set up a camera and the next morning Betsy and I would retrieve the memory card, download the photos, and report back our findings.  (At this point Spirit was really hoping she was not involved in the plan.  It seems she may have better instincts than us and was not so sure about hanging around a dismembered animal.)

Betsy driving the doe to her final resting place.
The next morning, we awoke with anticipation and headed into the woods to retrieve the memory card and investigate the most exciting campground happening.  And what did we find…


It seems the does friends were coming to pay their final respects.

Yes, we were monumentally disappointed that we did not get to see a majestic mountain lion strolling across the cameras view, but our interest did perk up when Andrew made the comment that the now rank deer may attract bears. 

Russ let us keep the camera to play with so stay tuned for more drama…

Me happily replacing the memory card and Spirit staying close by worried about what might be lurking!

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