Smoky Mountain Full Beaver Moon is set to rise November 12, 2019. There is no place more special to view the rise of a full moon than Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This month is the famous Beaver Moon.
In ancient times it was common practice for humans to observe and track the changing seasons according to the lunar month instead of the solar year. Our modern calendar is based on the solar year. The ancient peoples of Native American tribes and folks across Europe gave names to the months based on lunar phases observed in the Northern Hemisphere seasons.
You have probably heard the expression, “Busy as a beaver.” There are few times of the year that beavers are more busy than November. With winter fast approaching beavers begin to hoard food and fortify their dwellings. Winter beaver dams are constructed to give additional protection from predators as well. Ancient hunters observed the beaver activity and knew that it was now time for them to prepare for winter too.
This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Beavers make dams of wood and mud. In the middle of the ponds this creates they build dome-shaped homes called lodges with underwater entrances. Beavers continue to grow throughout their lives, and so do their teeth. They constantly gnaw on wood, but because the enamel in a beaver’s incisors contains iron, their front teeth never wear down. Once the beaver dams and lodges were constructed they had a safe refuge for the winter.
There once were more than 60 million North American beavers. However, because people have hunted them for fur and their glands for medicine, among other reasons, the beaver population has declined to around 12 million. Beavers have begun to make a come back in the Smoky Mountain region in recent decades and beaver dams and lodges have been detected in the foothills nears Greenbrier.
Beavers don’t get all the credit for the November moon. Other names are the Frost Moon, November Full Moon, Trading Moon, Snow Moon and sometimes the Oak Moon.
Some of our favorite places to view the Beaver Full Moon is Cades Cove, the porch of Oconaluftee Visitors Center, Cataloochee and Clingmans Dome.