Jul 06 2012
Have you heard of a marmot? They are in the same family as rabbits, or maybe rodents. Maybe rabbits and rodents are cousins. (I didn’t take biology in high school because in the ’70s, you could really coast on nothing.)
The first time I heard of a marmot was when I was backpacking in Kings Canyon in about 1974. They only appeared in very high back country, way above timberline. To see one was a thrill.
In Mineral King, they can be like a plague of locusts. They chew on car parts, and they are legion. (That means “a vast host or multitude”.) People try all sorts of things to protect their vehicles. Very little deters these determined creatures.
A number of years ago, The Retired Road Guy left the hood of his pickup raised so he could see when they were assaulting his rig (that’s what he calls his Toyota). A ranger saw that his hood was up and figured that being Road Guy, he must know how to deter marmots. Ever since, lifted hoods are the norm around Mineral King because people think it keeps the marmots out.
It doesn’t help. It gives them easier access. It only helps you see if they are there. (Sometimes it makes car batteries go bad because it leaves a light on for an extended period.)
There are multiple stories of these guys being transported great distances in people’s engine compartments. No first hand experience, no comment.
This is the best way I’ve seen to keep the rotten varmints out of a car:
And this priceless photo is courtesy of Diane Gladieux, a regular reader and commenter on this blog. This is her
grandmother great-grandmother. I don’t know the date. around 1910.
I watched my friend Marilyn pet a grouse once, but this takes the cake!