Unexpected encounters with nature on the trail…

The other day we went for a short hike in Connetquot state park, and had the amazing good fortune to see 31 deer! It was like a deer convention. There was a whole herd of them. We couldn’t believe it. (And I had told Cactus Killer that we probably wouldn’t see any because of the time of day!) As we started our walk we saw one or two in a clearing through the trees, then as we turned we saw the whole meadow was full with grazing deer… maybe eleven of them. That was so exciting in and of itself we were quite content with our walk. But then we saw another meadow area with a bunch more, we kept counting and couldn’t believe there were over twenty. At a certain point we walked right near a few of them, young ones, and only when we crunched some dry leaves underfoot did they look up.

We continued our walk, looping around behind the hatchery, and then back along the stream, and saw a few more deer, for a total of 31.

When we crossed the little footbridge and reached the intersection of trails we headed south, back in the direction of the main entrance of the park, and while we were walking suddenly there was a massive noise as an enormous flock of ducks rose up and flew overhead in formation shrilly quacking as they went. There were so many they seemed almost to darken the sky above. It was amazing.

Mother Nature was putting on a spectacular show for the adventurous souls who dared go walking so late in December.

posted by Blue Coyote in Other thoughts and have No Comments

A chance encounter in the park…

photo-2So today i was inspired by the incredibly great weather to get out for a long long walk, working towards improving my trail endurance (now that i don’t have Cactus Killer’s hill to train on!)… Was up early, around 730am, and went to the nearby state park here on Long Island.

It was pretty empty so early on a Saturday morning in March, and i set off on a trail i had done before, planning to loop into a slightly longer trail further up. The skies were blue, and the sunlight filtered through the branches of the pine trees in sharp rays. All around were signs of spring. As well as some newly fallen trees — signs of a series of big storms that had effected this area only last week.

And i was just walking along enjoying the fresh air and morning light, when i had the sensation that i was not alone. It’s strange how you sense the presence of someone before you see them.deerInpark

But i heard no one, and looking up ahead on the trail, i saw no one either… i stopped. i listened. then i looked around 360 degrees, and at about my 3 o’clock, across the woods, there were four deer. the deer stopped. they listened. they looked up at me… we stayed for a moment looking at each other, then they continued eating… i went to continue on my way, but my motion must have spooked the leader, and he took off running, and the others soon followed him running along the tree-line of the parallel trail.

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photo-3I considered myself quite lucky to see the deer this morning, and smiling I continued my walk. Eventually i hit the intersecting trail, and followed it around. This trail was a bit swampier than the other one, and though the last rain was several days ago, there were still patches of thick mud to cross. I was near the river. There was a small path leading off the trail to the water’s edge, and I decided to go over and watch the ducks… Looking across the water, i saw them swimming in a row… They were awfully BIG ducks… I looked a bit closer, and realized they were not ducks… nor were they swans or geese… I stared at the movement and realized i was just seeing the heads above water… it was the DEER swimming across the river!!!!

I have never seen anything like that before (I didn’t even know deer could swim!!!!)… I waited until they got across, then waded up out of the water — just to be sure i really DID see deer swimming… and then i returned to the trail and finished my 4-mile loop. What an unexpected surprise!

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posted by Blue Coyote in Shaping up for the Trail and have Comments (2)

A walk on the beach…

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So far I have been sticking to my informal training program…

Today i took advantage of the relatively nice (for winter) weather here to go for a walk on the beach. Not exactly sure what distance I walked, but between the sand and the wind I feel like it was definitely some kind of “resistance workout”! I am finding it is easier to motivate myself to stick with the program by going to the park or the beach (both of which are extremely empty in the middle of winter) rather than the gym…

Anyway it seems like I am making a good start… Last week I saw two deer in the woods at the state park! That was a bonus!

posted by Blue Coyote in Shaping up for the Trail and have No Comments

Maryland: Deer at Point Lookout

We finally got up early enough to see some wildlife…


posted by Blue Coyote in America the Beautiful and have No Comments

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