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On the Trails: The many uses of urine

Reading about porcupine courtship (see last week's essay) made me think about how other animals use this metabolic waste product.
On the Trails: Muskeg ponds

The little ponds that dot many local muskegs are worlds of their own, with a variety of inhabitants. On a September tour of a dozen or two of these ponds at mid elevation, friends and I found several small beasts of interest.
On the Trails: Porcupines: I'm stuck on you

A young porcupine trundled up the trail ahead of us, one day in late September, before seeking cover in the forest nearby. The young ones are about half-grown now and independent of their mothers.
Outdoors mailbox: 'On the Trails' brings the outdoors to my doorstep

Friday's are special. Mary Willson's column is the first thing I look for and, with her as a guide, I am able to hike all the wonderful trails in and around Juneau...
On the Trails: Bumblebees

In early spring, I look forward to seeing the first bumblebees, visiting willow catkins and early blueberry flowers. These are queens, which mated last fall and then hibernated, each one usually in a small chamber she dug in the soil.
On the Trails: Highbush cranberries

Autumn in Juneau can be a bit difficult-shortening days, lots of rain (in my neighborhood, there has been much more than the official numbers - flowers on my deck actually got moldy), migrating songbirds flocking up and leaving us for the south, the end of the flowering season. But there is always (at least) one outdoor thing I look forward to - the ripening of highbush cranberries. This year, there was a bumper crop.
On the Trails: The last throes of summer

Early September - and Gold Ridge earned its name in a botanical (rather than a mineral) way; the open slopes were covered with the golden leaves of deer cabbage. Color accents came from the scarlet berries and crimson leaves of dwarf dogwood.
Authors at sea

...Armstrong, Ann Boochever, Jeff Brown, Richard Carstensen, Ernestine Hayes, Kim Heacox, Mark Kelley, Jim Mackovjak and Mary Willson.Tickets are on sale at both Hearthside Books locations and are $50.For more information, visit http://www...
On the Trails: Beaked whales

I had never even heard of the beaked whales until a couple of years ago, when a news article reported a dead one, of a rare species, stranded on a beach somewhere in the southern hemisphere.
On the Trails: Dredge Islands

Gastineau Channel rounds the north end of Douglas Island with a short stretch that runs roughly east-west.


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