Thursday, March 27, 2014


Critters I want to see

I could say I just want the trail to be under foot tomorrow.  Indeed after speaking of this for years some of my friends would love for me to be there too.  Fortunately, for them once I finish, I'll have trail stories to tell endlessly.  My friends and I have such a wonderful friendship. I do chat up my latest hikes locally and if I've seen any wildlife.  I'm lucky if I do.

Sailor and Captain are no strangers to wildlife.  When I visit them it's not unusual to stop for a moment to watch an ROES outside.  Mind you these ROES's aren't from the Princes Bride of 80's fame.  The Rodents Of Extreme Size are none other then the mascot of their town.  I've run into them scattered throughout the Wasatch and desire to view them along the trail in Maine.  I'd love to say, with out stretched arms, "his paddles where this big and I was that close."

Okay, I don't want to be that close.  In Yellowstone NP several years ago, what started as a safe distance a few minutes later wasn't.  I ran for the trees, a long with a few other photographers.  I've got a blurry, on the run for my life, picture of a 6 point elk.  That was close and a different story altogether.

When I worked at Skyland in SNP, I kept track of one of the local black bears.  Some days I'd see her from my dorm window, other days while I was strolling along the trail to Stoney Man Mountain.  One Sunday, on my way to the amphitheater, her cubs were at the base of a tree and she at the top.  I was late to leading chapel service needless to say.  I want to see a few bears may be a little further away for comfort.

I'm not a critter holding creature.  I've unsuccessfully grabbed for a couple of the desert lizards.  I want to hold one of the orange salamanders, if they aren't poisonous.  I've got a feeling I'll just have to settle for holding a picture.

If you hear a scream, much like that of a teenage girl meeting Justin Bebier, coming from the woods, chances are you just heard me encountering a snake.  Once while returning from a midnight stroll to one of SLC's best over looks I heard the tell tell rattle.  I walked inches (24) from a snake in the dark, 2 miles from the trail head. Another time, I saw a baby rattler just of the trail in front of me.  I couldn't get my self past it.  That story turns out good, a young lady walking her puppy came the other way and, well, let say I made a new friend.  As much as I hate snakes, I know I'm gonna encounter them.  So I want to see a rat snake, a garden snake, an eastern rattler, and a bird with any of the a fore mentioned in it's mouth.

I'm sure right about now Sailor and the Captain are thinking why didn't we hear about these stories before? Well let me say this, my folks, it was for your protection.  Besides, you're now reading my raw thoughts with some editing.  You will read my raw thoughts.  Of the trail, I've heard it said you will meet people as real as any for the trail respects no class of people but the real ones and even then they too are tested through by the trail.

This brings me  to my final critter I want to meet.  I want to meet people.  I want to meet people who are new to hiking and old pros.  I want to meet people whose nose just twitched as I walked past, who wonder why I didn't bath that morning or ponder if I ever did.  I want to meet people who want to partner with me for a moment, while others want to go further.  I want to meet people who'll not give me the creeps, though I'm sure I will.  I want to meet people who'll challenge my way and I there's.  The one thing I am not use to is hiking and camping around people so if we meet in the woods pardon me for a moment while I shake a way myself.

There's an old saying in my mountains "you're never a lone for long in the Wasatch."  This must hold true as millions pour into the Appalachians each year.  So how long is long before friends are made? Come now let's make new friends  "come brush against the  walls of my life even for a moment, for the greatest stories are made up of short chapters" (From Student Magazine Sept 1989).

Let's see what we can see and who we meet.  Hike on!

On Film, in Shenandoah NP criteria '92

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