Got in this afternoon, tired, but with a smile on my face. Neptunia and I paddled 17 miles from Beasley Flats to Childs in two and a half river days, carrying our gear in inflatable kayaks. On the way we saw a great variety of ducks, geese, herons, snatchers and thatchers and bobbers and swoopers--who knows what but many kinds of beatiful birds. In one place we floated right under a high cliff with a bald eagle nest. The mama bird was keeping an eye on us and feeding fledgings and the papa bird was circling overhead. We located a Sinagua tribe cliff dwelling just above Palisades, and farther downstream we saw three otters playing in the river. The otters were working their way upstream to check us out, moving from eddy to eddy, and peering around the edges of rocks for a better look. Near the takeout we visited the Childs hot springs, and I would go back there any day. I tried a new practice on this trip: 10-breath mindfulness meditations, occurring throughout the day. It is a wonderful practice for the backcountry....and I will soon find out how it can fit into my daily life.
Perhaps the most amazing discovery of the trip was the contents and quality of otter shit. It took us a while to sort out exactly what it was.... I brought back a sample, let me know if you want to see it. Let me just say that otter rectums must be considerably tougher than human rectums. That's the trip report for now---I have a biochemistry takehome exam to tackle.
River otter droppings are called spraints. Otters are carnivorous. They eat fish, crustaceans, amphibians, snakes, water insects, snails, worms, small mammals, birds, and eggs, frogs, turtles, and aquatic invertebrates when they are in the wild. When in captivity they are fed horsemeat with vegetables, vitamin & mineral supplements, mackerel and crayfish if they're lucky. They hunt at night and sleep during the day.
Bald eagles hunt for river otters.
King James I of England kept a pack of tame otters to catch fish for his table, even appointing a "Keeper of the King's Otters" to tend to them.