august 16, 10:30 pm clear and still.
At 10:30 we are watching the coming dark dusk fall on Bear Lake, because August is the month of transition to fall. In July, the evenings were endless and until midnight there was little change in the amount of light. But now the light at ten pm is less than that at nine and we can feel the cool of the evening sooner. In lower latitudes the world is experiencing the height of summer. Not here. Even though today was warm and sunny. The leaves are starting to rattle not rustle, the fireweed are bloomed to the top or nearly so, and the giant puchki leaves are starting to turn yellow. Yes, winter is still along way off, but fall has quietly begun. Here at the lake, the aquaculture crew broke down their fish camp at creek today, only the stragglers of the salmon run are left, and the long-quiet loons have started having guests from other lakes and taking noisey flights of their own. Fewer salmon are jumping, more are spawning along the south lakeshore where the shallow water and gravel bed seem to be ideally suited to this process. As a result, every night the bears are wading this shallow stretch of lake shore catching and eating salmon. This week we had one at our dock splashing and thrashing about in the horsetail and grasses of our shallows. Our stretch of lake doesn't have a gravel bottom so the salmon aren't spawning here nor do they linger. The only attraction a bear might encounter here are muskrat. Maybe these little fellows were the prey that evening. We don't know for sure, we just had the sound of a rowdy bear. We were surprised that is bear was about 100 feet away but we could hear it breathing, panting as it waded off into the night.