On the Trail: Of marmots, SUVs and sporties
August 25, 2006
I love marmots. They’re just so fat and funny, and they make that high-pitched “peep” that belies their true form.I was hiking recently near Independence Pass, and I was struck by their group organizational skills. They really know how to rally as a community. I could barely make my way 100 feet without being peeped at, and as I stopped to search for the source, I saw a marmot on every nearby rock, sitting stock still to avoid notice, after alerting their compatriots to my presence with a squeaky alarm. Surely no one would see a fat, furry, beaver-like creature, snout pointed toward the sky, poised atop the rocks protruding from the ground. Were I not on a trail, I would have sworn they were stuffed. Perhaps it was a cruel joke perpetrated by area taxidermists with whistles.Strangely, it reminded me of my office. Sometimes, I like to throw things at my co-workers, then pose myself stiffly at my computer as if I had no knowledge of the outlandish act. (The sporties are so easily fooled.)Marmots are confounding little guys.Earlier this summer, one of them made its way into town and lodged itself in the wheel well of a car in front of the Hotel Jerome.The city’s animal control squad seemed at a quandary over how to deal with the little guy. I suspect they worried that if they chased him away from the car, he would run into traffic and surely be killed – or cause a wreck. I’m not sure which would be the greater loss, the marmot or one of those expensive, exhaust-spewing, second-home owner-driven behemoths that now roams the earth. OK, as I write this, I realize it’s not a hard call. Let’s face it, we all know ginormous cars are bad for the environment. (That’s why Hummer now makes a mini-Hummer, about the size of a regular SUV.) And marmots are just so darn cute.But to be fair, they both hibernate most of the year.But the SUV’s don’t remind me of the sports department, so I guess the marmots, like the sporties, have my true affections.