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Re: [pct-l] Marmots on the PCT

>>a few minutes later, I heard Kim exclaim "Oh No!!!" in a groaning voice. We
watched as the smaller marmot proceeded resolutely and unhurriedly toward
the perch of the large marmot.  The little guy crawled up a nearly vertical
section and stopped just about 10 feet from his rival; the larger animal
peered over the edge of the ledge but did not move. It stayed that way for
2-3 minutes, then suddenly small marmot shot under the nose of large marmot
and the chase was on!<<

What can we conclude about the marmots but that they're the bigger, more
intelligent, and consequently more exasperating version of the pika? On the
Colorado Trail we find the pikas most often, squeaking and peeping elusively
from their rocky protection. How cute; we'll leave the food bag right here
beside the tent. No problem. But on the PCT, and especially in the Sierra,
and most particularly when we hike in the company of Blister-free, we
encounter the marmot, the dry summer survivor. Inquisitive, smart, hungry.
Ready to take full advantage of lowland gringos, naive and plentiful.
Especially when they've dropped their packs and headed down to the lake for
refreshment. And maybe even after they've returned, recovered the chewed
spoils, and have posted lookout. Here he comes again, that furry omnivore,
back for more, within, er, petting distance. In the end, it took rage, it
took near violence to restore peace to my camp on that particular night. And
I'll never forget the look of the little, cute, bloated, overfed marmot as
he sat trapped among a poorly concealing pile of rocks, surrounded by vast
stretches of dangerous, open country, as I hurled halfhearted stone salvos
in his general direction. Final score: marmot 1 (bag of fig newtons), hiker
0 (peace of mind). Halfhearted, I say.

Yes, we can escape the marauding black bear when camping above treeline,
most of the time. But we may not elude the begging, scheming, crafty marmot:
the scree bear.

- Blisterfree
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