The winner of the "what is it" contest is...
I HAVE NO IDEA!
I was sure we had pinpointed this hairy little varmint but then I started researching all of your answers and I am more confused than ever. We had settled on river otter. The feet were right, the proximity to water, the climbing but now, I see that Marmots and Martens and more have the same characteristics. In looking at a gazillion photos and trying to pull from my distant and ever fading memory of the thing, I think we were looking at a dadadum
That's right. I am going with woodchuck and eating crow, as it were, for Mrs. Bobbey Sakoman who rightly guessed first thing. What can I say except, Bobbey you sure do know your over sized rodents. Perhaps it comes from all these years living with Chris. ;-) And since I've learned that the woodchuck is a subspecies of the Marmot family, I must also give props to Leslie who apparently can spot a marmot butt from a mile away -way to go Leslie and Bobbey!
Thanks to all who played. Thanks to Borba who did not play but will suffer nightmares at the thought of her grandchildren being mauled by a rogue woodchuck. You worry enough so that we don't have to! =)