Human athletes might be battling it out for medals at the Olympic Games in Japan this month, but here at Northwest Trek, we have our own incredible athletes to celebrate: our animals!
Who can leap the furthest? Climb the highest? Who’s the fastest swimmer, the cleanest diver, the most agile? Check out our “gold medal” list for the winners – we might even have a couple of honorable mentions for effort!
Climbing – Mountain goat
No contest here: mountain goats are excellent climbers, hence the name.
Swimming – Beaver
They may not win the speed prize, but anyone who can engineer a dam underwater has to win some kind of medal.
Synchronized swimming – River otter
Twisting, turning, gliding, spinning: Our otter sisters flash silver as they swim with near-synchronous grace. And they can hold their breath for up to eight minutes – no nose-plug necessary.
Diving – Bald eagle
Spotting prey a mile off. Aerodynamic plumage. Plunging down hundreds of feet. Minimum splash. Definitely a gold medal winner. And while our bald eagles were all rescued with wing injuries, they still love heights.
Distance Running – Gray wolf
Wolves are hunters and travel far for prey. They can run up to 50 miles per day with long legs, a perfectly-balanced body and tireless stride.
Sprint – Deer
When your predators include cougars, bears, coyotes and humans, you have to run fast. Luckily, our black-tailed deer don’t have any of those threats in their Free-Roaming Area – but some deer can sprint up to 30mph if needed.
High jump, long jump, any jump – cougar
A cougar can leap straight upwards 18 feet from a sitting position, and up to 40 feet horizontally. Any questions?
Fencing – Elk
Who needs sabers or foils when you have antlers? Bull elk spend the year growing massive sets of antlers, then in rut or breeding season they spar ferociously with them to prove dominance.
Sprint – Banana slug
Well, it’s an A for effort: 6.5 inches per minute. But hey, when you can eat poop and hang by your own slime, who needs speed?
Balance Beam – Grizzly bear
Our bear cubs are bulking up, but they’re still surprisingly agile. Huckleberry probably won’t win any gymnastics gold, but he’s doing a great job on this log.