Kluane Chilkat International Bike Race

If you have ever been to Squirrel Camp, you know that it attracts a group of hard working, incredibly athletic and borderline nuts (ha!) individuals. No event showcases all of these traits quite as completely as the Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay. This year the Squirrel Camp team was stacked with a whole three regular bikers, and five members who may or may not have seen a bike in the past year. The 8-person team and its two cheerleaders rolled up to the bike race in homemade T-shirts, hanging out of a massive F-250 complete with a sign. Clearly, we were ready to crush and wow the competition with our incredible speed and our amazing cheers.

Our first biker exploded off of the start, putting Squirrel Camp decisively in the middle of the pack. The cheer squad was less confident. At first we were unsure of our cheering style. Would we just scream loudly? Would we say good job and clap? Would we throw our hands into the air and fist pump? All of our indecision was resolved when the man parked in front of us pulled a mysterious wooden box from the back of his truck. From this box he removed a glorious, magical instrument…bagpipes. With these he serenaded the first few bikers to the delights of the cheering crowd and bikers alike. Now the Squirrelers knew how we would cheers…we would dance!

For the next eight legs, as we passed through one time zone, a territory, a province and a state, and the scenery graded from mountains to alpine to Alaskan rainforest our dance moves evolved. Our cheers where no longer reserved for just our team. Along the way we picked a few lucky bikers to gift with our incredibly uplifting cheers. Their confused expressions just made us cheer louder and daSONY DSCnce and bounce around more fiercely. As we arrived in Alaska and the last leg, we had reached the height of our cheering potential. Now SONY DSCwe were truly creative. As I had the last leg I was lucky enough to have a bikers view of these glorious Squirrelers. As I rode by the team the first time I was greeted with a line of Squirrelers doing pushups…sort of. The second time around was a human pyramid of epic squirrely proportions.

If there had been a team spirit award we would have won hands down. However, awards where only given based on speed. We came in very close, getting 61st out of….65. GO SQUIRRELERS! Not bad for a bunch of crazy bush people!

 

–          Naomi, McGill University

Summer research and camp life is in full swing!

May 29, 2014 by Jordan S. Lange (Summer Squirreller 2014)

It has been an interesting week for squirrel research. We saw our first Grizzly bear just up the road from one of the grids. Lisa and Shannon kicked two flying squirrels out of a cavity when they were looking for a nest and Jess witnessed red squirrel infanticide which is cool but sad. A couple squirrels were found dead (predated on) on one of the grids.

Nests are crazy – some squirrels managed to move pups as we were climbing their trees so we had to follow them across grid.  A couple of squirrellers witnessed a grey jay steal a pup while another threatened the nest. We checked all the buckets on AG and took away all the peanut butter except for on the breeding female’s midden where we left 250g of peanut butter. On the way to do this, a lynx was spotted.

Trapping has been moved yet again and is now right after supper with only one check and we have had more success than we have had for a while.  One of the squirrels (White/Red) has become the camp squirrel, she is often seen running around with nest material, some stolen from camp itself.  The whole camp was restyled to discourage more of such pilfering.

Stan nest climbing (2)

Shannon and Hannes (part of the winter crew) left for Iceland on Sunday so camp felt a little empty but we also had some visitors. Stan came up for a week and climbed some trees that everyone thought were impossible. He even tied two trees together to get to a nest at the top of a snag. Jamie came to visit too and livened the camp up a lot.

Squirrel Camp restarted Frisbee Tuesdays with Kluane Base camp and we have been going there every week since to toss a frisbee around. Frisbee Tuesday was fun this week, although only six people played. At the end we were convinced to played rugby. It was hard to grasp the concept that you can run with the ball right after playing frisbee where you can’t move.

The hare crew arrived last week, and brought JD who has rapidly become the beloved camp dog. Over winter, Lisa caught a hare in a juvenile (small) trap. I’ve only seen pictures but it looked squished!

Manu will be leaving camp to go travelling with her sister. Jordan and Jess went fishing a couple of times but have yet to catch more than a rock and lake weed. The team for this year’s bike race from Haines Junction to Haines Alaska was decided on Thursday.  We hope to finish the race not dead last!