Feb 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm #1299668
Bogs and BergsMember
Rare bird, lynx kitten, bull moose fight?
Let's hear your cool stories and happy memories of meeting wildlife in the wild.Feb 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm #1958282
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Bear: Had a black bear walk right in front of me on a trail going to Hamilton Mesa in Santa Fe's Peco Wilderness. Pretty silent, but by the time I fumbled for my camera, he had already gone down the steep slope towards Mora Flat's fishing grounds. '99
Eagle: Walking along the Verde River Trail in Arizona's Mazatzal, I looked over a cliff that was part of the US Eagle recovery program in the 70's I guess. So I'm looking down into a bend in a river and also down on a soaring eagle. '00
Fox: Walking down Baylor Canyon trail in Las Cruces, I saw something in the corner of my eye. Stopping I eventually made out a fox frozen waiting on my next move. Got a picture but you can barely make it out. '06Feb 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm #1958285
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Walking along Badger Creek trail East of Mt Hood, Goshawk thought I was too close to nest so it kept swooping down and hitting me in the head, knocked my hat off. Someone else posted a picture of head wound.
On Mt Hood a couple years ago, the next day I noticed bear tracks in snow about 50 feet from where I was sleeping, just sleeping on ground looking at stars.Feb 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm #1958291
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Alaska, July 2010.
As I stood in one spot, from right to left and out 150 yards, I counted 29 brown bears. They were all busy fishing, so they didn't care about me.
–B.G.–Feb 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm #1958295
@anarkhosLocale: Colorado, Wyoming
I was walking with my dog (leashed) near a large open field. I stopped to grab something out of my pack, turned around, and there was a coyote not 10 feet from us. It froze solid, just staring at me. I start flailing like a madman because the thought of a coyote pack eating my 18 pound dog is not appealing. It runs off, and I see at least half a dozen more coyotes behind some scrub brush that just keep staring at me.
Two things learned from this experience. First, I always carry some form of pepper spray with me (I have since used it on coyotes, they aren't quite as shy when they are starving). Second, I will never again lie to myself about the usefulness of my dog. He is cute, but probably the worst guard dog ever.Feb 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm #1958299
My first trip to the Trinity Alps almost two years ago: two does and a fawn came near our camp and were frolicking about fifteen feet away. They seemed either totally oblivious to us or were showing off. They just danced around for about two minutes.Feb 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm #1958312
@dandydanLocale: CascadiaFeb 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm #1958330
Just before Hole in the Wall, WCT.
He didn't hang around for very long.Feb 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm #1958333
@carpenhLocale: St. Vrain River Valley
When I was camped out in a shelter on Isle Royale in 2001, I woke at first light to discover a deer mouse scavenging through my backpack. All my food was double-bagged, so I wondered what s/he was smelling. After about a minute, out the top of the bag comes the mouse, hauling my Chapstick. It was a little heavy for him/her, as s/he had to drag it, inch by inch, by backing up across the shelter floor. I decided to give the mouse the Chapstick, as an A for effort, but when I left the shelter later that morning it was on the ground right next to the side. I had to put it into my trash bag.Feb 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm #1958336
I've been very lucy. Bears, otters, elk, deer of all sorts. All kinds of birds of prey. Saw a hawk fly by with a kitten a couple of months back.
Mountain lion tracks around my tent in the morning was memorable. Seen Borregos so close. Seals and sea lions are easy to spot up here.
Had a terribly foul stench at the Mattole trailhead.
Here's the reason. A whale carcass. The University came out and removed the jawbone to determine cause of death. Then they just leave the rest for nature to deal with. All gone after the next winter storm. Still sat out for 4 months or so. P U !Feb 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm #1958342
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
The kids and I are the hot tub, on our deck. It is the first week of May, when the cow moose chase off last year's calf as they prepare to calf again. The yearlings, who have never been alone, wander around for a few days in sort of a "Will you be my friend?" mode. A yearling is browsing and coming closer. My 9 year old asks if he can pet the moose. Normally, I'd say, "Hell no!" but it is that first week of May, it is the only moose around, no mama moose to be seen. It is approaching us and can leave at anytime. He puts his nose near the hot rub and sniffs the water. My son reaches out and pets his nose a few times. The moose sits down 15 feet away and chews his cud for another 20 minutes. My wife gets home, gets her camera and documents the family in the hot tub with the moose 15 feet away, laying on the lawn.Feb 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm #1958354
My daughter was having several girls over for a sleep over so I knew the best thing I could do was to take my then seven year old son camping to keep him out of their hair.
We take off for the Snake River with our kayak, fishing rods, and tent. Once we arrive at our campsite, I immediately started setting up the tent. Not even a minute into the set up I hear my elated son scream "DADDY! LOOK AT THE CHICKENS!" I turned around and saw some of the biggest wild turkeys I've ever seen. Not that turkeys are uncommon (just uncommon in areas where you can hunt for them) but seeing them through the eyes of a seven year old was a precious memory for me.
Next photo was on our way home from Banff. Not a wilderness encounter necessarily but I thought it was a pretty cool picture
:Feb 24, 2013 at 8:13 pm #1958357
@creachenLocale: East Bay
UL creatures pretty much covers this genre.Feb 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm #1958362
@gallen1119Locale: Golden, CO
2012: Wife and did a fall overnight in November. Hiked in after work in the dark, just a couple of miles northwest of Golden. Brisk cool night. A few reflectors on trees marking a trail could be seen nearby. Then we notice the reflections in our minimalist headlights seemed to be more than reflectors. Turns out there were a about a dozen deer bedded down not 25 yards away. The beady eyes watched us pitch the tent and eat dinner. They were up at dawn and traveled right through our camp site, oblivious and not caring we were there. Didn't seemed they we bother them much, but I'm sure there we other beady eyes watching.
2010: Mountain biking in Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver with a couple of my kids. Three bighorn sheep had come down to the road to visit all those passing by. This is a very busy road, closed to cars and dogs, but full of bikes and day hikers every weekend. They would walk right up and nuzzle your hand until you would pet them. Everyone was good about not feeding them (as posted on signs), so I think they were just wanting some attention.Feb 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm #1958374
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Seeing a wolf in Yellowstone was cool.
The bear I saw in Glacier was a treat. At the time I thought it was a brownish black bear but my visual memory is fuzzy…it may have been a smallish griz.
A bridge on a rails to trails path that ravens had made a nest in.
First time I saw a beaver, walking along the tracks by my house as a kid.
The morning I was in a treestand, and a flock of turkeys spooked the deer I was watching, then a black bear spooked the turkeys.
Paddling on the Des Moines River and saw my first western bluebird.
First pika and marmot on my first hike in CO.
Watching fish while diving never gets old…
Really I am just fascinated by wildlife. I will sit or stand for minutes or hours watching if I get the chance.Feb 25, 2013 at 10:36 am #1958504
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
Waking up on a beach early one morning on the far north coast of CA to multiple Elk eating the dune grass right outside the tent.
Getting woken up while sleeping on the back deck of my boat while anchored off a remote stretch of coastline by a CA sea lion that's jumped up onto the boat and is sitting on my feet with me trapped inside my bivy.
Sharing remote beaches in central CA with huge Elephant Seals. Seeing Orca and numerous other whales cruise the Santa Barbara Channel on our way to/from Channel Islands National Park.
Marauding wild pigs raiding the campsites in the middle of the night in the Channel Islands National Park. Lots of fearless Island foxes and spotted skunks (indigenous to the Channel Islands) wandering around in the years since the pigs were eradicated.
Crazy wildlife everywhere while camping my way around Australia for 4 months… Wombats and duck-billed platypus in the Blue Mountains; Guana lizards on Whitsunday Island; Hissing Blue Crawfish in Lamington National Park, Koala Bears hanging in the trees in Noosa National Park, wallabies stealing food right off your lap; giant fruit bats hanging from Eucalyptus overhead hissing at you…
In NZ, Kea (giant alpine parrots) getting into anything left unattended (packs, shoes, etc), even for a moment.
Countless black bear, bobcat, coyote sightings in my local backcountry. Hearing a nearby mountain lion crying in the middle of the night; makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up.Feb 25, 2013 at 11:45 am #1958522
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I had a black bear pop his head out of the grass in the meadow next to the trail- he was about 20' away.
I saw a Grizzly running hell bent for leather across a mountain side- the mosquitoes were really bad that day and suspect it was running to get away from them. I do the same thing some times.
I've been just feet away from a Mountain Goat family with kids at the top of a mountain. That was pretty neat.
Dall sheep- often encounter these on hikes. They don't stay exclusively in the mountains- they will often come to low ground to forage for food. I've hiked above them on one occasion on a mountain hike, and had them come down to the lowlands for me 3 times so far.
Too many moose encounters to count. Some more in the vein of terrifying than "best" but always memorable. Perhaps the most memorable was a week after hunting season I was out and counted over 50 moose in 1 square mile. A bull moose with his harem of 7-8 ladies, a few bull moose standing around wishing, another bull with his harem, and on and on.
Had a very confused lone Caribou walk practically up to me while I was sitting one day. When it realized what I was, it made a quick beeline in the opposite direction.Feb 25, 2013 at 11:49 am #1958524
I was cowboy camping in Ansel Adams Wilderness, my friend was already sleeping tucked into his bag with a bug net on his head (essentially trapped and blind) and as I was just about to get into my sleeping bag, when I began to hear the fairly aggressive sound of bushes shaking and twigs breaking, followed by the heavy beat of hooves or pads coming our way. I began yelling "yah, yah, go away bear" while waving my arms around, and a moment later a bunch of shapes came busting through the darkness right towards us, and I just managed to turn a small group of mule dear before they could take a shortcut through our camp and over my buddy.
My friend scrambled to get free of this death sack and turned to try and see what the hell was happening just as the deer vanished back into the shrubbery that they materialized out of a moment before. This being his first backpacking trip, and hearing me screaming the word "bear" he was of course full of questions and concerns. So, I of course lied to him while getting inside my sleeping bag claiming, "I didn't know for sure, probably just a bear".Feb 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm #1958637
Bogs and BergsMember
Doesn't seem right to start a story thread and not contribute. My problem (and blessing!) is deciding what to tell. Solo off-trail walking in remote parts of eastern Canada means lots of these experiences, for sure. I'd ramble on and bore you all to tears.
So I'll pick a species: white-tailed deer (moose, caribou, bear, fox, lynx, hawk, owl and whale stories will just have to wait).
1) Camped under alder bushes and had just settled into the sleeping bag when a deer walked up and started eating the very bush I was under. Kee-runch! Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. GLURK! Kee-runch… Nifty at first, irritating 20 minutes later, hilarious a few minutes after that. Damn noisy neighbours, I gotta get some sleep here!
2) Made many trips to an area with a small pond, open grassy field on one side, woods on the other. I'd get up in the dark, make coffee, and hide in the bushes before first light. Foxes, herons, otters, osprey, muskrat, hummingbirds, etc. etc. And deer. One morning at dawn I watched a doe nurse a tiny spotted fawn. Aww. Months later, same spot, likely the same deer, but it was weaning time! Little one went bouncing up to mom and she reared up and smacked him/her upside the head. Poor little thing shook it off and ate a tree instead. Tough love out there.
Great stories so far, more please!Feb 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm #1958661
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I was on a trail in Yosemite National Park, just walking along and minding my own business. Suddenly I saw a doe deer fifty feet off to my right, so I pulled my camera with long lens and started clicking away. The doe just stood there, even though she saw me, and that seemed odd. Then I looked more closely and saw some smaller legs underneath. Her newborn spotted fawn was getting milk. Then the doe walked away, and the little fawn was still standing there with milk running down from its mouth. It stared at me for a few seconds and then walked off looking for its mother. Awww.
–B.G.–Feb 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm #1958668
There was the moose that walked right in front of us during the trek along the Teton Crest. And the coyotes Tom and I saw in the Sierras, and the four bears during one trek on the Black Forest Trail (one right in the middle of the trail eating something).
But my favorite story was when a buddy and I were riding our bikes around Ireland. We were pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, with very few houses and/or traffic, when, late in the day, we happened upon a bull in the middle of the road. It must have escaped from an area farm. And it was quite ornery. We started to ride toward it, and it lowered it's head and advanced. We stopped. Figuring we'd be less 'irritating' if we dismounted, we began slowly walking, trying to get past it. But it once again lowered it's head, stamped it's foot a time or two, and advanced again. We backed off quickly.
We were in a bit of a quandary. It was getting late, and we still had some miles to the campground. Going back wasn't really an option, as there was nothing behind us for miles. But every time we tried to go way around it, it made it quite clear that it wasn't going to allow us to do that. Suddenly we heard a truck off in the distance behind us. "Get ready!" I yelled! Thomi knew what I meant.
We backed up quite a bit, the bull watching us the whole time. Then we got a running start as the truck approached, and rode 'with' the truck past the bull, keeping the truck between us and the bull. Never pedaled so fast in my life! But we made it, and began laughing loudly as we continued on our way to the campground.
Fun times.Feb 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm #1958670
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
Charged by this grizzly in Alaska on account of a dispute over some fish, not one of my best encounters.
This was actually my favorite. On the NPT in the Adirondacks, the trail crosses right over the top of a number of beaver dams. This guy did not appreciate that much, and did his best to dissuade me. He repeatedly swam up to me, turned upside down, and whapped the water with his tail as he dove under, soon surfacing to see if he had chased me off. It was the first time I had seen this defensive behavior and I was enthralled. Still, not wanting to be the first backpacker mauled by beaver, I ultimately moved on.Feb 25, 2013 at 10:50 pm #1958759
@romonsterLocale: SF Bay Area
Here's one from long ago. I was 17, and decided to spend a week camping alone on some land owned by friends of my parents in the Colorado Rockies. Winter was not quite over, and there was a light covering of snow on the ground. Sometimes I could hear coyotes howling on the surrounding hills. During one night I heard footsteps going around and around my tent. I was terrified, had visions of a pack of coyotes circling closer and closer, ripping open my tent and eating me! Eventually they left and I fell asleep. The next morning I peeked outside, and in the snow I saw a neat circle of rabbit tracks around my tent!Feb 25, 2013 at 11:39 pm #1958766
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
Killer Whales (Orca's) have provided a few exciting encounters for me.
I was fly fishing (wading waist deep) off the beach when two transient Killer whales suddenly appeared in front of me. Transient whales are known for eating mammals rather than fish, so I decided to back out of the water and watch the show from a safe place (I've seen the films of killer whales beaching themselves to get seals and I just can't get that picture out of my brain… they always make me nervous when they are around).
I followed them along the beach to a little cove where they went into high gear. They raced around like mad for a minute or two, kicking up quite a turbulence in the water when suddenly a seal went cart-wheeling through the air. That ended the excitement (in the water at least), and I just stood there with my mouth hanging open as they quickly finished their lunch and swam off. I don't take a camera when I fish alone but I very much regretted than decision on that trip.
Killer whales will often come very close to us when we are fishing. I took this photo while we were fishing close to shore and was surprised that the whale would come between us and the shore. Unfortunately, that was the end of my fishing (fish vanish when the whales arrive).Feb 26, 2013 at 1:16 am #1958770
Last year while hiking solo in Mount Rainier National Park I was joined by this guy following along on the trail. At first he went around me and I waited about ten minutes to let him get away before continuing but somehow he showed up behind me again.
I continued walking (backwards) and the bear continued to follow. Every time I stopped the bear would become intensely interested in something beside the trail but the bear would immediately resume following me when I started to move again. Though he was briefly distracted by the wonderful view from this point
…and off we go again
I was coming to a downhill section of trail where it would be difficult to walk backwards so I said goodbye, turned around and walked away. Not sure why I wasn't scared but I probably should have been.
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