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Telkwa Trails…What to Look For
Aspen forest is the home to many kinds of animals. If you look at the smooth bark of the trunk of an Aspen tree, you can see that it has a green colour. Aspen are one of the few types of trees that have a lot of chlorophyll in their bark as well as in their leaves. This allows the bark to make carbohydrates through photosynthesis and is the reason that it is an important food for many animals.
To figure out what was eating the bark, look for teeth marks where the tree bark was peeled. Mice, moles and snowshoe hare leave small teeth scrapes, usually near the base of the tree, while porcupines typically chew large patches at varying heights and will even destroy a tree by eating the bark off right around it, eventually killing it. Moose and deer usually leave bare patches with large scrapes between 1 to 3 metres off the ground.
Sometimes male moose and deer will rub their antlers against trees, leaving irregular scrape marks. Some deer will strip bark when they eat it, leaving long narrow scars on the trunk.
With some searching, you may find claw marks of a black bear who had climbed a tree for a safe escape.
In some trees, you might see what looks like a pattern of small holes, the size of sunflower seeds, in the bark. These are the work of a woodpecker called a sapsucker, who drills the holes to let them fill with sticky sap that then catches insects for the woodpecker to collect later.
Near ponds and the river, check sand bars and mud for tracks of animals. Moose, deer, coyotes and even bears often pass through the area unseen except for their tracks. River otters may be seen fishing and playing on the Telkwa River, particularly in the winter.
Look for small holes in the snow that are breathing holes left by moles and mice to let fresh air into their winter tunnels. You might see this best in the open fields by the Aldermere townsite. As the snow melts in the spring, the network of grassy tunnels the moles and mice created for their winter life under the snow is left behind.
Telkwa Trails…What to Listen For
In the spring and summer, perhaps the most common sounds are those of the almost 100 species of song birds that nest in these forests. But don't be fooled – some creatures have songs that may only sound like birds! The night time trill of the northwestern toad has left many people wondering what kind of bird they might be listening to. Also listen for a deep thumping sound like a heartbeat that slowly gets louder and faster. This is the mating and territorial call of the male Ruffed Grouse which can be heard almost anywhere along the trail.
The tapping of woodpeckers is not only their means of catching bugs under the bark of trees, but it is also a way of identifying their territory.
You may hear the lonesome call of loons on Tyhee Lake, or on hot days, the buzzing sound of cicadas that is a large insect that sounds like the hum of electrical wires.
In the fall, male moose and deer may be heard grunting and rattling their antlers against trees as they go through the rut, preparing to mate. In some years you may even hear the bugle of an elk on a cool October morning.
The interpretive sign situated at the old Aldermere site gives you the background history of Aldermere's beginning and it's ending. The map shows the many buildings and businesses that made up Aldermere at its peak.
The following are human interest anecdotes . . .
- 1905 The enterprising Jack McNeil & Lem Broughton build a log hotel. Jack continues to be a main character in Aldermere, and later in Telkwa, as a businessman, a good organizer & friend, though it's said he didn't like the English much.
- 1910 Mr. John Goodwill, an engineer, and his wife moved into Aldermere. Jack McNeil hired him to construct a pipeline from the Bulkley River up to Aldermere. An engine house and pumphouse, both heated by woodstoves in the winter, were constructed as well. Now the people didn't have to haul water (nor ice) from Tyhee Lake any longer!
- 1913 The Campbell family moves to Aldermere. They live in what was formerly John Wander's barber shop. Sleeping quarters, however, were in a separate log cabin several hundred yards away through the bush!
- 1915 The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway had been built through Telkwa. The need for pack trains is diminished and the glory of Aldermere fades.
Visit the Village of Telkwa office to pick up a Trails Map or click here.
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