Picas

posted Nov 29, 2011, 2:11 PM by Paul Wagner
There was a side benefit to our visit to the John Muir exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) this past weekend.  We learned something!  (Not the first time, nor the last, you can bet on that.) 
 
You may remember that this summer we hiked out of the Granite Creek trailhead into the Ansel Adams Wilderness south of the Yosemite.  It's lovely country, and our trail took us over Isberg Pass and into the southern reaches of Yosemite itself.  While we were there, we camped off-trail at Lake 10005, just to the east of the trail that goes up towards Isberg and Post Peak Passes. 
The crest to the south
Lovely lake, great campsite, excellent fishing...That's the lake in the photo at right.
 
And during our afternoon rest and relaxation along the shores of the lake, M noticed that there were little piles of native grasses everywhere in the meadows.  It was almost as if tiny people had gathered the hay together to feed their tiny cattle over the winter.
 
Almost, but not quite.  Walking through the OMCA exhibits, M started reading about picas, and read that they often pile grass up during the summer for their winter food stores.
 
Mystery solved--although we still like the image of little people in the alpine meadows...
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