While walking along a channel of the Platte River, I turned around and realized that there was a huge beaver grooming himself on a bank just 20 feet from me. I froze, expecting him to dash away, but to my surprise he just sat there in the sun. This was by far the best look I’ve had of a beaver, and I was surprised by how large his head and nose were. He also had an enormous potbelly as he sat hunched over, reminding me of an obese old man. For several minutes he sat there grooming, which consisted of slowly rubbing his face and armpits, as if taking an invisible shower. It was a beautiful morning, and he really seemed to be enjoying it as he squinted into the sun. I heard a splash behind me, and turned to see another beaver that had crawled out from the water on the other side of the road I was walking on, attempting to carry a stick across it, but I was blocking her path. Unlike the other beaver, she detected me, and after a moment of panicked indecision, dropped her stick, sprinted across the road, and lept four feet off the road and dove headfirst into the water with a loud splash.
Of course, I’m never carrying a camera when something cool that happens, so I returned to the spot the next morning with my gear. I waited for an hour but no beavers showed up. Instead, I was visited by a family of River Otters.