Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Buck Stops Here?

In the past few days, we've had two interesting animal sightings we thought might make for good blogging. One of the encounters was pretty exciting, and the other was slightly terrifying.

Encounter #1

As Bearcub and I were enjoying a rare stretch of flat trail, chatting since the terrain allowed us the lung capacity to do so, we heard a rustling in the woods down the ravine to our right. We both instantly fell silent and began visually scouring the woods for an animal. Apparently, when I visually scour I use my entire body, as I completely blocked every angle of Bearcub's view. So in a bittersweet moment, I caught a glimpse of a bear running through the woods, and Bearcub totally missed it.
We walked on for a couple of minutes in complete silence. Bearcub was disappointed that she missed the action, and I felt guilty for blocking the view. But then suddenly, we heard the rustling again, and we both got a clear view of the bear completing his escape! We were both as excited as kids on Christmas morning. Although most people may consider a bear sighting a frightening occurrence, the bear was clearly more frightened of us than we were of it. Unfortunately, not every animal on the AT shares that attitude. This is where our tale takes a dark turn...
Encounter #2

Evil lurking in the woods

Typically, Bearcub and I only hike a few steps apart and stay close at all times. However, occasionally if I have to make a stop, Bearcub will keep hiking ahead knowing that I'll catch up with her again in a few minutes. This meant that Bearcub encountered a cute little buck on the trail before I did. She noticed that he was strangely not very frightened by her presence, and stayed still long enough for her to snap a few photos.
A few minutes later, I passed the buck and also found it strange that he was not retreating into the woods. I hiked on not thinking too much about it until I heard a ruckus behind me. I assumed what I was hearing was a delayed retreat into the woods, but when I turned around I noticed that the buck was sprinting directly at me! I shouted "Hey!" at the buck assuming the noise would scare him away. He stopped, looked at me curiously, and just stood there. I figured that must have done the trick, and I kept hiking. I turned back again a few seconds later to notice that he was now on the trial and trotting after me! This whole scene played out for a solid 5 minutes and a few hundred yards. I would shout, bang my poles on trees, and do my best to look scary. He would stop for a second, look innocent, and then charge at me again a few minutes later. I'm not ashamed to admit (maybe slightly ashamed) that I was downright scared. I didn't really want to be body-checked and trampled by a deer no matter how cute of a murder it may have been. Finally, he must have gotten distracted by a particularly interesting sapling and he left me alone long enough that I could return to my protector, Bearcub.
Long story short, I'm hoping now that we've seen one bear we've opened the flood gates to see a lot more. However, I'd be perfectly happy not to see another deer for a few hundred miles.

- Guy Line


  1. I don't think that Jeremiah Johnson or the guy on a buffalo would've had this kind of deer problem. Great looking beard though!

  2. Absolute craziness! Love the updates... keep 'em coming. I need to remember NOT to read your blog when I'm in a public place because it always makes me laugh out loud (and of course I have appropriate other reactions to the parts that are terrifying, heartwarming, astonishing, etc.) Miss you guys. Keep rockin' it out.