Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

Go outside…

The real world can be a roller coaster. When the hubby and I need a break, we tend towards parks of the natural kind. If the beach is cost prohibitive, we head to camp.

            Camp is a place to see an osprey take on a bald eagle in an epic aerial battle for nesting territory. The cabin is like home except that we haul water from a spring, shower from a bag hung on a tree, use an outhouse, and scan the property for poisonous snakes before tossing a ball with the dog.

            The lack of amenities is fair trade for peace and tranquility. We love camp. Even the dog touches on her inner wolf.

            Camp has no cell phone service. About two miles from the cabin, a cell signal is possible. Someone with a sense of humor built a rock critter complete with stick arms and glove hands. His head is a goggle-eyed kid’s telephone. Depending on a signal, service requires outstretched arms like the rock dude. About five miles in the opposite direction, there is better service and you don’t look as if you are making an offering to God.

             On a recent visit, we checked in on the parents and assured the kid that we weren’t kidnapped by Sasquatch. We parked off into the weeds so as not to sit on the one and a half lane road should another vehicle need to pass.

            Halfway into a phone call, an overzealous, self-made sheriff type drove up beside the truck on a quad and interrogated us. Geez, dude, we weren’t doing drugs or making out. I felt the hassle of Rambo. Rambo just wanted something to eat. I wanted to call my mom.

            On a walk, we happened upon a large rattle snake. The snake sat, or whatever snakes did, on the side of the road. Of course, the hubby wanted to poke it with a stick.

            We constantly hash out the same argument. Don’t poke poisonous snakes in the WILDERNESS! I can hike into a forest and find my way back out. Put me on a highway where I have to follow numbers such as route 90 whatever, and I can be lost until the car runs out of gas. With limited phone service and no idea how to make it to medical facilities, poking anything that might hurt you wasn’t wise.

            The hubby made a point on snake poking though. Some people veer their vehicles to run over snakes. Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem. Without snakes, chipmunks run rampant and can become trapped in dryer vents.

            On this walk, we made a deal. If the snake was on the road upon return, he could poke it to safety. Thankfully, the reptile received my subliminal message of “run away or you’ll be poked.”

            Early morning found me on the porch with coffee and a book about magic rings. The dog gave a warning bark. A wraith on a black steed stood on the road, wait no, it was an animal that looked as if he had trees sprouting from his head, possibly an Ent.

            After an exclamation of, “Holy shit! It’s a huge bull elk!”, which woke the hubby, I put the dog inside the cabin. The numbskull forty pound Australian Shepherd would’ve tried to herd the eight hundred pound beast. In the commotion, the elk turned and walked away.

            “Come on. Let’s follow it.” Hubby said.

            “Why? Are you going to poke it with a stick?” I got the look.

            “Grab the camera and take a photo.”

            I was skeptical. It’s wise to give wildlife space. I didn’t want impaled by oak trees.           The hubby promised to maintain a safe distance. In our favor, it wasn’t the rut, a season when testosterone overtook brain cells. The elk was apt to run from us and not at us. My camera also had excellent zoom capability.

            A few quick clicks from a safe distance and we lived to share the majesty of such a creature. Of the three encounters, I’d choose to face animals with their poison and unpredictable nature, less frightening than man.

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