There has been a lot more about war and beavers on this vacation than I realized. As for war, we're still celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812, which for Canadians is a moment of great pride (they beat back an American invasion) and which is an enormous part of the history of the area of Michigan we called home for nearly a week. Oh, and let's not forget we're not in the centennial of the First World War, which is a huge deal in Canada, and one can see why war has been present for the whole trip. Interestingly, neither the War of 1812 nor World War I get too much attention in our corner of the U.S.
Beavers and beaver iconography* have been present throughout the trip. This has, of course, made Sherry quite happy.
|Beaver iconography! The symbol used by many Parks Canada locations.|
There were of course many stuffed beavers along our way.
|A Canadian museum cliche.|
|Another victim of taxidermy.|
There was one location where Sam got to test different furs, among them beaver, to see why the beaver pelts were so desirous.
|At Fort Mackinac.|
Sam was able to choose from fox, badger, and racoon. He thought beaver was most soft.
|Possum wasn't available in Sam's felt test. Get it, felt?|
Apparently, beaver was trapped until extinction in Europe, or so says a guide at Fort Mackinac. And the only thing that stopped such a fate from repeating itself here in North America was a turn in fashion away from beaver and toward silk and cotton in the mid-nineteenth century. Oh, and it also helps that, as rodents, beavers can reproduce prodigiously.
|It's hard to imagine why our tastes in fashion changed. Doesn't anyone look good in a beaver hat?|
Sherry's favorite experience with a beaver was at Science North, when she got to actually pet a beaver. His name was Drifter and he was enormous. He also emitted quite a powerful odor, which a bluecoat told us is a common defense beavers use to keep away predators. Fortunately, Drifter is sociable in the afternoon, allowing relatively odor-free petting.
Toward the end of the trip, I started to get comfortable enough with the beaver that I got a chance to do a selfie with one. Sherry prefers my crazed expression over the dreamy one.
|My attempt to look dreamy.|
|This just came out crazed.|
As we travel toward home (whenever these guys at Williams Honda figure out what's going on with the minivan) we'll leave the domain of beavers, which is a shame.