One of my North Wood's obsessions is beavers. They are everywhere and impact upon every inch of lake shoreline. For the most part invisible. In four trips to Minnesota I have only seen one beaver, and that was late at night when I happened to see one hauling a huge branch past our campsite and we watched him by flashlight. Other than that their presence is more or less purely circumstantial. Beautifully constructed dens line the shores of every lake, always on the north shore to take advantage of a full day of sunlight unobstructed by shade. And their chew sticks are literally everywhere. All night long the beavers cut down young birch trees into roughly two foot lengths and spend hours munching off the bark. In the morning the shorelines are littered with bright yellow birch sticks floating along side the long weathered gray sticks of meals past. There is no need to cut fire wood in the north woods. Every day I go out in my canoe and gather up drift wood and beaver sticks for the evening camp fire. Our saying is... "Why chop wood when the beavers will do it for you?"

beaver made. minnesota. 2010

man gathered. minnesota. 2010
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