Stump The Beaver: September/October 2014
Sep 22, 2014 03:57PM, Published by Erik Dittmann, Categories: In Print
David from Beaver Dam asks: I recently saw you dressed as a vegetable – what's going on with that?
Answer: I was getting a jump-start on the October 4th Pepper Festival where we will be celebrating the culinary virtues of the AMAZING BEAVER DAM PEPPER!
Grosse Pointe asks: Beavers always
seem to be so cute and cuddly, so I was surprised to hear that an angry beaver
recently killed a human fisherman in Belarus.
Have beavers ever saved a human life?
Answer: John Colter. The only human rescue that comes to mind is that of John Colter, who is sometimes known as the "First Mountain Man." As you may know, Colter was an indispensable member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1805 because of his outdoor skills and resourcefulness. Following his tour de Missouri with Lewis and Clark, he remained in the frontier and became the first non-Native American to visit Yellowstone Park. Not surprisingly, his incredible reports of geysers and boiling cauldrons were initially dismissed as fabrications and the area was sarcastically referred to as "Colter's Hell."
During one of his adventures, he played a leading role in what has become known as "Colter's Run." The story begins in Montana, where he and his partner were doing some trapping when they stumbled upon a party of more than 500 Blackfeet Indians. After killing his partner, they stripped Colter naked and gave him the chance to run for his life. This proved to be a pretty good motivator and Colter arrived at a stream, complete with beaver lodge, ahead of his attackers. As those of us who live in Beaver Dam know, the entrances to beaver lodges are located underwater to prevent predators from gaining admission. Evidently, John Colter also knew about beaver lodges – for legend has it that he dove under water, crawled inside the beaver lodge, and hid in the safety of the beaver lodge until his pursuers gave up and withdrew. *
As it turns out, he was also an accomplished beaver trapper, so I'm not entirely sure if that heroic Montana beaver made a wise decision when she chose to build her lodge exactly where it would provide Colter refuge. But there you have it.
* (Note that accounts vary – some sources indicate that Colter hid under some riffraff in the water rather than inside a beaver lodge. Personally, I prefer the heroic beaver version.)
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