An American was the first man to walk on the moon. Now, in yet another trailblazing triumph, an American has become the first person to reach the world’s largest beaver dam.
And he’s from New Jersey.
Rob Mark, a 44-year-old man from Maplewood in the Garden State, braved 200 miles of unforgiving Canadian wilderness to reach the isolated dam, according to the Daily Mail. The enormous mammalian construction project, which experts believe has been in the works since the mid-1970s, is approximately 2,790-feet-long. That’s double the length of the Hoover Dam. Eat your hearts out, humans.
It is surmised that a colony of very industrious (and perhaps very bored) beavers have been laboring on the dam since 1975. But it wasn’t discovered until 2007, when images taken from space for Google Earth revealed the colossal beaver berm. Yes, you can see it from space.
The dam is situated in the depths of Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada. The almost primeval tract covers 17,300 square miles. The immediate area is too swampy for aircraft to land, so the only way to get there is to go on foot through some of the Earth’s most untouched and mean bush. And that’s exactly what Rob Mark, a veteran of hikes through places like the Amazon, decided to attempt.
Mark described his harrowing trek to reach the natural wonder, with the most difficult part of the nine-day hike being the terrain closest to the dam.
“It was ten miles to the dam. It was the longest, hardest ten miles I have ever travelled…It is incredibly difficult country to get through. The foliage is so thick, you can’t see very far … then it turns into muskeg [a type of swamp], which is incredibly difficult to walk on. And then it goes out to complete bog swamp.”
He added that the final mile to the dam required him to cling to plant life for purchase, to avoid sinking completely into the muck.
Then, there were the mosquitoes. Mark said they sounded like “helicopters” as they sought what was perhaps their first taste of human blood.
Mark — who made a failed attempt to reach the beaver dam two years before — had this to say about his feat.
“I had a great sense of accomplishment…When it comes to being the first to go somewhere, besides the poles and some mountain ranges, there is not much left you can do.”
As for actual beavers, Mark said he saw just one, and it didn’t seem happy to see him.
‘It was incredibly angry when I was there,” he said. “It kept slapping its tail against the water.”
Would you consider making a journey to see the world’s largest beaver dam with your own eyes?
[Images via Gizmodo and Edmonton Journal]