Forces at Work on a Sierra Nevada Creek

A full moon reflects off the beaver pond in a Sierra Nevada valley

I fell asleep to the sound of the wind rushing over my roof. These are the powerful Mono Winds. My folding chair lying on its back, knocked down by the wind. The downed chair only a reminder of the nights wind lied in calm silence now. Morning light came pre-dawn with a full moon setting in the west. The moon appeared to be in charge of this landscape now.

An aspen is almost chewed through while the beaver is resting in his hut in the background.

A lush valley with a snow feed creek collected the moon light. I was not alone. My camp sat maybe a hundred feet or so from a den of beavers. Several dams placed in the creek spread the creek's flow like a farmer growing rice. Willows, grasses, and even some big pines sat below the new water line.

Clusters of downed aspen, some fully chewed down and some almost, dotted the stream bank near the den. The work always needing to be done especially now with the big Spring run-off testing the animals' work.

A beaver dam built across the creek overflows water.

This new alpine rice field spread out before the moon and reflected the pre-dawn light. The Mono Winds had left the valley. The moon set below the mountain range as the sun rose in the Mono basin. The beavers of this valley went back to the half-chewed aspen trees. They were now in charge of this landscape.