Peter and I retired after 35 years of running the Lodge. We are still happily living on Moose Mountain.

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Dam Disaster July 2013

The month of June was cold and rainy day after day. Many days it rained an inch or more and some days two or three. On July first we had two inches of rain in a quick deluge. On the second of July we had another dump of two inches. I went down the mountain at 5:45 a.m. to cut poplar for the beavers on Wolfeboro Road. I marveled as I drove down the mountain at how well the road had handled the constant heavy rains. I had noticed that the dam in pond number five where the beavers had wintered over was overflowing all along the top of the dam. i had confidence that they knew what they were doing and didn’t worry about the overflow. When there is a lot of rain, beavers sit back and wait for the water level to drop before they attempt to fix the dam leaks.

I cut a large bunch of poplar saplings and came back to the base of the mountain road an hour later. As I climbed the hill,  there were stones and sticks and some mud in the road. Slowly I realized that they  had not been there when I had driven down. The higher I got, the more difficult it became to avoid  the stones and sticks which were now large rocks, and logs.  Huge clumps of mud with vegetation holding them together were scattered all over the road.  Slowly it dawned on me that the dam had broken, unleashing tons of water and debris down the mill stream. I continued on up the mountain, dreading  the scene around the curve at the top

Dam break on July 2nd 2013

The dam had in fact let go  carrying  debris as it raced down the mountain. I wondered where the beavers had been when this had happened and what they would do now to cope with this disruption in their lives. Their bank lodge was now high and dry, surrounded by muddy flats with a small stream racing by it.

Under water Lodge entrance

As I watched in shock, I spotted a beaver swimming in the shallow water still left in the pond. He was struggling to swim upstream, headed for the ponds above their home.

The current was strong. It was difficult to watch him struggle knowing that there was no way to help him. I wondered where the others were and if they were all right.

Swimming upstream towards the upper pond

He made slow but steady progress. It must have been terrifying to him to be out of the water and so vulnerable for so long.

I waited until he had made it safely into the next pond, a shallow one, but none the less a safer place for him to rest and catch his breath.

Empty pond

In a flash  their lives had changed. I wondered what they thought or did they just accept what had happened and carry on?

Dam opening the day after the storm

             I found them later that day, all three of them swimming in the main pond as if          nothing had happened. I brought them apples and poplar and watched as they settled down on the edge of the dam to eat. They seemed relaxed and happy to be there as Tulla and I watched them enjoy the sun and fresh poplar.

Three beavers in the main pond after the dam break

                                                                                                                                                                     The main pond has several old lodges, none of which had been used for some time. It was difficult to know which one they would chose. After three weeks I still haven”t figured out where they are living. There are no fresh signs of new sticks or mud on any of the Lodges. They seem to be camping out somewhere. They show up morning and night when I clap for them to let them know that I’m there.

Two Beavers and one tail

There are no signs that they have returned to the lower pond to make any repairs to the dam.

Dam Breach 2 weeks later

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