Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Ratty New Year

Happy New Year, everybody! I have to tell you, I don't really have much to say today, but I just felt like writing. Does that mean I'm feeling better? I don't know, but writing has to help. In my last post, I showed you a picture of my ghostly white arm. Take a very close look at the picture above. Look at those arms. That's me! And you thought it was just a costume.

Well, I do have one confession. I lied just a little bit. Yes, part of it really is a costume. Look closely at my face in the picture. I'm embarrassed to say it, but I disguised myself a bit. Alright, I'll just come out and say it. It's the eye patch, okay! I'm just wearing it because I think it makes me look cool. C'mon, everyone does some small thing like that, don't they?

Nature Center Magazine - Gloofhrtd goedfrig sedrik un tro wersd facvolm! And that's the bottom line, 'cause Ratty said so! (You figure it out!)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Birds, Snow, And Other Nonsense

The good news is that I was able to go on a little adventure on a nice clear day. The bad news is that I keep going out at the time of day when the animals are hiding. It's feels kind of strange when I've walked all the way to the back of a nature park and I haven't even heard a bird in the distance, much less seen something.

But then clear at the back of the park I had a small change of luck. I heard some very faint cheeping sounds coming from high in the trees. Then I saw some mysterious white bellied birds up there. I stood there with my camera, hoping for any kind of picture. But the bird I targeted flew away. There were more sounds, but I never found the birds.

The bird in the picture above is a black-capped chickadee. You can follow that link for more information about it. But as I said, I didn't get any pictures. This one is from almost a year ago. But I've never shown it here before, so I say that counts as brand new. How do you like it?

After the mysterious little white birds, there seemed to be nothing more but silence. I kept thinking that last year there would at least be the sounds of woodpeckers out here, but there was nothing on this day. Then as I entered the trail that leads out of the park, I heard a faint rapping sound high in the trees.

I hoped my luck would be better this time. But of course, different sounds, same situation. Actually, I never saw the woodpecker, but I know what kind it was. It was a downy woodpecker, like this one. There's another cool link for you. This is the kind that just loves this park.

Anyway, after standing there stupidly staring up at the treetops for about five minutes, I heard somebody coming with their dog. I knew there would be no finding my little woodpecker now, so I moved on my way towards the front of the park. Game over man. Game over.

The best picture of Ratty ever
Well this is no nature picture! Can you guess what white rat this arm belongs to? This is the result of the IV that was in my arm the other day. I just thought it might be amusing to show it. From the red marks to the yellow bruising around it, I think it maybe looks more gruesome than it really is. But look at the bright white skin around it. Look at it too long and you might go blind. And I bet you thought the picture I have of a white mouse wasn't really me.

My adventures aren't all nature related. I've been writing a serial horror story over at Rat Tales. The first episode is already up, and the full story is going to be a long one. I've been wanting to write this one for a long time now. I'm well on my way, and the second episode is coming along nicely. There's only one unexpected problem though.

I've wrapped myself up in the story so much that it's been giving me nightmares! I've put myself in the point of view of the main character so deeply that I feel some of his fear. I thought that was a bit of a crazy road to go down, so I decided to take a short break from that today. It's been fun to write this one though. It all made me a little too nervous, but I'm feeling muuch better now.

And finally, this is one of the pictures from my newest adventure. I would have shown more of them instead of the others above, but how many pictures of snow do any of us really want to see? Don't worry though, there was something else interesting, with pictures, that happened to me on this little adventure. That's a story for another day though.

Oh. Wait. What about this last picture? This is just the side of Carpenter Lake. I liked the look of the area this time as soon as I looked at it. And the picture seemed to capture it perfectly. Sometimes something you see very often can just look so beautiful if you look at it right.

I'll be back soon, soon, sooooon...

Nature Center Magazine - Gloobidy gliggl fllibbi gerf fgapugs ferbul nerj. Figure that one out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Chickadees

This photo was originally posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 in my post, "A Time Of Chickadees"
I felt energetic enough to go on another winter hike recently. Right away I encountered a small flock of black-capped chickadees. They turned out to be the only animals I saw that day. But, oh, what a wonderful feeling they gave me!

You see, these little chickadees have given me a great gift. It's the gift of knowledge. When I entered the edge of the forest, I heard familiar little peeping sounds in the trees. And for the very first time I immediately knew what kind of bird was making them! As expected, these tiny little birds with black caps showed themselves. And without conscious thought I knew that these were indeed black-capped chickadees! I am now becoming what I wanted ever since I began my adventures into the natural world!

I know I still have so very long to go before I may finally feel like some kind of expert, if that really ever does happen. I mean, does our learning ever really stop? I know mine never will. But I still feel a sense of accomplishment. I knew what I was hearing and seeing without having to go home and study.

These next two pictures, the one above and the one below, are the best of the bunch of the pictures I got on this recent adventure. They are bad, and I know it. But we can all see that they are indeed chickadees. It was a dark day, but my energy was good, so I went out.

The darkness of the day and my lack of practice turned out to be the downfall of my camera. I just couldn't quite get the camera to focus on the birds. I knew the whole time that I would not get good pictures, but I was still happy because I did have the opportunity. And that's all that matters to me right now. It was so fun!

There have been better days recently to go on a hike, and I've had the energy, but other obligations have stopped me from my favorite activity. Whether I feel good or bad right now, my health takes priority over everything else. So now I will give a promised health update, since many of you said you still wanted them, and because of some developments on my end.

My neurologist finally decided to speed things up a bit, and he sent me for an MRI on my brain. My regular doctor also insisted that I go. So yesterday was the day. When I got there, they had me lay on a table that was connected to a big machine and hooked me up to an IV. Once I was ready, they moved the table into the machine, for what seemed like an eternity but was really a half hour. I laid in there hearing all kinds of banging, whirring, vibrating, and many other loud machine noises.

Then they finally pulled me back out of there and it was all over. I won't know if they found anything until a few more days. This is just one of many trips to doctors I've had over the past week and a half. This has all kept me very busy, and I'm not finished at all. Next comes the memory test. I don't think I'll do very well on that one.

But back to the fun stuff. I'm going to try to go back out hiking in the next few days. Hopefully I can choose a time of day when more animals are out. I have the good kind of anticipation this time. I have also written another story over at Rat Tales. This is the beginning of a long serial that I've been wanting to write for a long time. I've had this one in my mind since before I was even an adult. I'm very excited about telling it. It's the one Rat Tales was always intended for.

I also hope to make my presence known in the blogging world in the next few days, until my next doctor's appointment. I'm happily anticipating reading some of your blog posts a little more thoroughly. One of my favorite pastimes that I have been missing more than you'll ever know.

One last thing for today. We have an extra special Nature Site Of The Week up at Nature Center Magazine today, Photography By Ginny. Ginny is one of my very favorite people in the blogging world, and her pictures are always the very best. It was her blog I was thinking of when I thought up the concept for Nature Site Of The Week. I'd like for each and every one of you to take a look at her blog and say hi.

Nature Center Magazine - This week we are featuring the blog that is the inspiration for Nature Site of The Week. We only waited this long so we could show it to the most readers possible.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Perching Mystery

All of my activity last week took more out of me than I hoped it would. It hit me about the time I published my last post. I became exhausted and dizzy so most activity had to stop for a few days. ...But I'm feeling muuuch better now.

So I'm back with a bit of a mystery. Take a close look at the bad pictures I have of this bird here. The first thing you might notice is the bright yellow belly. Then the darker back, which is either gray or maybe more possibly an olive color. The front of the neck appears to be white. That last part is very hard to see.

I found these pictures while browsing through my archives. I took them at the beginning of May last year with my old camera. I don't remember the event at all. I'm guessing that's because I must have thought at the time that this was an American Robin, which is very common around here. But after doing quite a bit of research over the last few weeks I suspect it is really a Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, but I am far from sure. It's definitely not a robin.

I'm so interested in this bird because I have never seen a bird like this one before. Birds are some of the most interesting creatures because there is such a huge variety of them. Before I began really paying attention to them I thought there was only one kind of bird around here. Brown. You wouldn't believe my amazement when I saw my first American Goldfinch, which is bright yellow.

So now every time I find a new bird I am very excited. It's more fun to know the bird is new when I actually see it, but seeing the picture is pretty good too. I actually have stumbled across several very interesting pictures of birds in my archives. I only wish the quality could be just a bit better.

So, do any of you think you know what this bird might be? I already made my guess, but it could be way off. The one thing I am sure of is that this is the only one of its kind I am sure I've ever seen. So even if I never find the identity I am very excited to discover that I have seen another type of bird. What could be better than the discovery of something new?

Nature Center Magazine - This week begins the start of a series of some very good nature videos that I found. Today we feature some very special Reindeer that have a taste for magic mushrooms.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tracking An Adventure

It's been a good few days for me. I was able to go on a nice hike, and I've been more active here on the internet than I have been since my accident. Just this much has worn me out though, and I knew it would. But I feel good about it all. And now I've brought you something I promised in my last post!

So, what are these snowy pictures showing? What you are seeing above are a set of squirrel tracks. The thing I have the most fun with in the snow is tracking animals. Snow is the only thing that makes this easy. You wouldn't think it at first, but finding their tracks in the snow is just about as fun as actually finding the animals.

But why would this be? It's because the tracks show us in a very good way what the animal was actually doing. It's difficult to study an animal's activities so much when we encounter that animal, because they almost always run away and hide. Then we're stuck with only a fleeting glance. But the tracks tell us so much more!

For instance, this was the first real snowfall we've had here, and when I began my hike I knew from last winter's tracks that I would find squirrel tracks in this very spot. The squirrels always gather in this place where I took these pictures. But you wouldn't really know that in the summer because you wouldn't see them here much.

And squirrel tracks almost always start at the base of a tree and end at the base of another tree. That's of course if you follow them from start to finish. Not many people would follow the tracks of a squirrel, but I do it all the time. Of course there are other animals to track as well, and I will probably show you those as the winter rolls on, but for now it's the squirrels.

But wait! What do we have here? These are no squirrel tracks. These are much smaller. I've never seen anything quite like them before, but I believe they are the tracks of a chipmunk! They are very much like squirrel tracks, but much smaller.

This was something I never expected, but my hopes were high. I really thought all the chipmunks had gone underground by now. I have read that chipmunks don't hibernate, but they spend almost all of their winter months underground.

There is an interesting story about me finding these tracks. When I was taking pictures of the squirrel tracks I thought about the possibility of finding chipmunk tracks. I quickly thought to myself that it wasn't going to happen, but the thought just wouldn't leave me. And after just a little more walking, and in an area heavy with chipmunks, I came across these tracks. It was almost as if some instinct in me knew they would be there.

Now you may wonder if they are maybe really from a bird or some other creature. Well, take a very close look at the picture above. The tracks toward the top show front and back feet. Obviously a small mammal. Too small for much other but a chipmunk or maybe a  rat-like rodent. Very similar tracks, but I've only ever seen chipmunks here.

And besides, rat tracks are much bigger. Here's a fine example of rat(Ratty) tracks, in case you were wondering. You'd never mistake them for a chipmunk or any other animal. Well, they might be mistaken for a Bigfoot if not for the fact that this creature was wearing shoes. They're certainly big(gigantic) enough. For a picture of the elusive Ratticus Giganticus you can click on this link. Trust me, it's a strange sight indeed!

That's about it for today. I'll be back with another post as soon as I'm able. Even though it's been incredibly fun, all of this activity has taken a lot out of me. Plus, our temperature here has dropped drastically. I make it a rule not to go hiking when the temperature is under 15 degrees Fahrenheit. I could probably do it, but it's just a little too cold for comfort. Until next time, this is your Everyday Adventurer, signing off!

Nature Center Magazine - I have an article up on Nature Center Magazine today that talks about more snow fun. It's actually somewhat of an extension of this one. No rat pictures, but I have some rabbit tracks on it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Short Hike In The Snow

I gotta say, it's not an easy thing to get back to hiking when it's so cold outside. It seems like last year's cold was so much warmer than this year's cold, even though it was colder last year. And the days seem so much shorter this year too. I guess it was just the different perspective I've had lately.

But something changed my negative point of view to one that's a little more positive a few days ago. You see, I don't really own a good heavy coat. It's not that I can't afford one. It's my preference for something different. What I like more is to wear two jackets together. One by itself isn't good enough for the winter, but the two of them together are much better than any winter coat I've ever tried.

I don't even feel the cold with those two good jackets on. I had forgotten my second jacket until a few days ago, and I've been freezing! So I went and dug it out of the closet, and I've been okay ever since. And that's what gave me the courage to get myself back to my hiking trails, with only a few small problems.

We were lucky enough to have a few sunny days, and the weather warmed up above freezing, so that was good. The weather change happened because it snowed though. In fact, it was our first snow that really stuck to the ground so far this winter. I know some of you are already sick of the stuff.

One thing about snow or rain. When you see any precipitation, you know the temperature outside is probably going to change. That change is usually why we get it. This time the snow happened to be a prelude to a warm up. The next one we have coming is supposed to have an opposite effect. That won't be much fun.

I was happy to be out there finally. But I learned the last few times I've done any hiking, which I still have to keep short, that my now constant headache gets worse whenever I walk very far. This time was no exception at all. When I got home, I felt like my head was going to explode, but it was all worth it. You'd think that one of these doctors would figure out something.

Another problem was that because I'm not used to doing much, I ended up with a cold in my back. It feels like a backache, but also a coldness that goes right to the bone. So I was unable to go back out for our second sunny day. That's okay though because I got some interesting pictures that only winter and snow can provide.

This is what Carpenter Lake looks like in the winter. It looks kind of desolate at first glance, but it's heavenly when you get to go out there alone and just examine it for awhile. This is what it looked like the first time I ever saw it. It's a small lake that is smaller than even some ponds, and it's hidden inside a sometimes busy area, but they still found a way to make you feel all alone there. I appreciate that very much.

I'm glad this whole park is there. It's small for a nature park, but it's just right for me to get back to things. I can walk the whole park without messing myself up too much. And this time I didn't have to have anyone else along with me. I call that progress.

I'll be back in a few days to show you some interesting things I found there in the snow.

Nature Center Magazine - The videos are going to be getting extra interesting here. I found some really strange subjects, so they're going to get better each week!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Hungry Goldfinch

I've had a lot of time to go through my archives lately, and I have found some surprising things. I really forgot I took these pictures back in May. There were just so many things to see back then that this exciting event was swept by the wayside. How could I have done that?

The bird in these pictures is called an American Goldfinch. They are maybe my very favorite type of bird because of their bright yellow color. The first time I ever saw one I was amazed by that bright color. I never knew that a bird could look like that outside of a tropical climate. I've learned a lot of things since that time long ago.

"But what is this bird doing," you may be asking yourself. Well, it's eating the seeds from what looks like possibly a dandelion. It may be some other type of plant because it is so tall, but I'm just not sure. I am sure that this little bird was a very hungry goldfinch.

The goldfinch was so hungry that I was able to get very many pictures while I observed him eating his meal. I have several identical pictures of each of these. He would dig into that plant and then pull out a mouthful each time. It really was fascinating to be able to watch him for so long.

Here you can see the seed stem in his mouth as he pulls it from the plant. One of the things I really like in these pictures is his tail. I don't think I've ever had this good of a look at a Goldfinch's tail before; probably not even when I first took these pictures. I was just so busy finding new conquests back then. Now I'm able to go back and look fondly upon all of it. There is so much!

I want to pause right here to mention that even though I still am not feeling well, I will not be talking about it anymore. This blog has always been intended to be a happy place to talk about nature and my everyday adventures. It was never intended to talk about me, and I am uncomfortable doing so. The nature stories are so much more fun anyway, so that's what my subject will be from here on out until I have something good to say about the other. So let's move on back to the goldfinches.

There were so many goldfinches that day. They really love that park. The one in this last picture is a female. You can easily tell them apart because the male has a black cap and mask, while the female does not. She is all yellow on her head.

They are both very beautiful, and also a fun subject on this cold winter day. I'll have some wintery pictures coming soon too, but these fun warm weather pictures help take the bite from the cold weather. Cold is something that I'm not quite as prepared for this year, but I'll be out there.

Nature Center Magazine - There have been a few changes at Nature Center Magazine, and there will be many more coming. We are always striving to become a valuable resource for all bloggers who are interested in nature.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shiny Black Squirrel

I have awakened from my turbulent slumber to bring you some absolutely amazing pictures of the latest little creature that I have discovered. Now, many of you who have been longtime readers here already know the identity of this shiny black bundle of fur. That's right, it's a black squirrel!

But this isn't just any black squirrel. It just happens to be the subject of the best pictures of a wild black squirrel I've ever had. I've had some better pictures of some tame squirrels that liked to beg for food, but this squirrel is one of those that I like to call Ninjas of the Forest. And they are usually only seen as ghostly black streaks.

This one either missed my presence in the forest, or it found itself paralyzed under my astounding hypnotic gaze. And, of course, it could have just all been a coincidence. We can never be sure which it may be, but I have no doubt that you can figure it out.

Before I go on, I'd like to answer a few questions that were in the comments section of my last post. First, I am almost always alone when I go on my adventures. That hasn't made it very easy recently because of my car accident. My head doesn't seem to be improving as I hoped it would. I am still having severe headaches and confusion.

Because of this, I have been having a bit of trouble keeping a proper concept of time. I had no idea that I hadn't posted anything here for so long. I haven't been out visiting nature much either because I'm just not up to it yet. It doesn't help that the days have gotten so much shorter here and the temperature has dropped so much.

It all gives my mind the feeble excuse to sit here and stare at the wall rather than do what I really like. I actually have to concentrate extra hard to get anything done at all. But I've decided to do just that. I'm going to make a bit more of an effort to get back to my old self again. One of these days I'll be back here every day again. But let's move on from the whiny excuses.

Even though it's not the season for many other animals right now, the black squirrels are out in full force. And the odd thing is that they seem to be taking over the forest here. I've been seeing the population of the fox squirrels dwindling, and the smaller black squirrels are moving into their territory to fill the empty space.

It's all very interesting to witness, but I don't want to lose my precious fox squirrels altogether. The variety is what I like so much about the squirrels around here. I can walk just a quarter of a mile and find three or four different types of squirrel. Black squirrels are a fun novelty for me, but the fox squirrels are my oldest friends among them.

I started this blog to keep me going back out to my hiking trails. And as I write all of this right now, I wish I were out there right now. Maybe that is the key. I need to get back to what I love the most. I miss the squirrels, the trails, all of the other animals, and nature altogether. Just this last time I saw this wonderful black squirrel. Who knows what I might see next!

Nature Center Magazine - I'm still here at Nature Center Magazine, writing mini versions of my normal posts from The Everyday Adventurer. The format is a bit different, but it's still all about the enjoyment of nature.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Small Bridges

It's been awhile since my last update. As I wrote that last one I had intended to increase my presence here in the blogging world and the world of nature. It was a good plan, but many plans don't seem to work out very well at first.

It was the day I had gone to the neurologist. I told myself at the time that I would begin by visiting all of my favorite blogs and leaving a few comments. And I was able to do a few. But I was given a prescription for some pills to try to get rid of the headaches I've had since the accident.

Ever since all of that, things have been nothing but a blur. Oh, the headaches never went away, but everything else did. The one thing I have had has been a whole lot of sleep... And some crrraaazzy dreams. But those aren't fun for me to share. What I'm more interested in is nature.

The pictures in this post are from the second time I have been out since my car accident. I believe this was from the day after my last post, but my memory is still not very good. These pictures show some of the small bridges I routinely cross in this small nature park.

I think I've taken pictures of that first one from every angle and at every season now. I never get tired of it, but I only share it rarely because nobody wants to see the same thing over and over all the time. I actually see something different every time I approach that bridge. It's a thing you have to be there to experience properly.

The second picture just above is the walkway that leads to the fishing platform on the lake. This walkway was among the first pictures I ever showed from this park. The difference is that I took those from the opposite direction, from that hill in the distance of the picture.

This last little bridge is really the first. This one is at the front of the park. When you cross this bridge you are officially on the trail into the park. It feels like crossing over into another world when you are walking over this small bridge. On this side is the parking lot. On the other is the entrance to the forest. When you get to that side, the parking lot is no longer visible. Only nature.

And I think we'll end it there for now. I'm not sure when my next post will be right now. It could be tomorrow or it could take another week or two. I might pop up in your comments section before that. I just can't be sure. But I've decided that's okay for now. I can only do what I can do. I'm just glad that I can still do it at all.

Nature Center Magazine - We're still rolling along at Nature Center Magazine. There are so many things to see, and we are getting better all the time. Come over and see for yourself.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm Back

I did it! I'm back!!! After almost exactly two months, I'm back! Well, at least partially. The photos you see on today's post are brand new! This is because I was able to go on a very short hike the other day! Can you see how excited I am by all the exclamation points?

I'm going to attempt to take you through my little adventure, but my mind is still mostly in fiction writing mode. Writing fiction is actually quite a bit different than what I write here. It takes a different mindset, and it is much more difficult. Both methods are satisfying in their own way though. Anyway, here's what happened on my walk.

Driving to this place is a short trip for me, so I can do that, but not as often as I'd like yet. I had already decided to be careful and take things slow. I knew I had to turn around as soon as I began to feel anything odd. And with those thoughts I got out of my new Jeep and entered the trail.

The first thing I noticed was that everything looked much different than the last time I was out here. Back then it was late summer, and the leaves on the trees were full and green. Now they are a dull brown and they're falling to the ground. This wasn't too surprising, but it was still a bit of a shock.

Unlike many people, I'm not the biggest fan of the fall season. In the depths of my mind it represents a form of death, or at least a deep slumber. I think of it as the end of nature for the year. Logically I know that's not true. But as much as I try, I still can't change that feeling.

But I have to tell you, seeing those fall leaves and being able to walk into that red and brown forest was one of the most beautiful and wonderful experiences I've had in a very long time. I felt free once again! I haven't been able to have this old familiar feeling in far too long. If anything can change my deep down opinion of fall, it must be this.

As I got deeper into the forest I realized that below my neck everything seems to feel as good as ever now. But my head was throbbing just a bit, which I was very conscious of. I knew I was going to have to be careful.

At right about the halfway mark to the back of the park I was greeted by a familiar face. It was a happy little fox squirrel! He stopped on the side of a tree and just clung there and stared at me. A squirrel was the last animal I had seen before the car accident. And now a squirrel was the first animal I had seen on my first hike back. As much as I talk about them it seems so very appropriate.

Shortly after my meeting with my little friend I began to feel something familiar in my head. The pain was coming back, along with a fogginess of consciousness that all told me it was time to turn back. This was the first time I've been out with these feelings, and it wasn't pleasant at all. It was like being in a bad dream.

I had to slow my pace quite a bit, but I knew I was fine enough to make my way back to my Jeep. The farther along I went, the more I stumbled as if I were drunk. I had to be very careful, but I also learned exactly what I was capable of for now.

I made it back to the Jeep okay. And don't worry. I never took a big risk. I had a cellphone with me, and I also had someone waiting for me at the front of the park. For something like this I made sure I had a big safety net to work with. I'll only go back alone when I absolutely know I can do it.

This very short hike was a huge step in my return. I know I still can't hike or blog every day yet. I still have to rest more than anything else, and even be careful not to think too much. But this was a beginning. I now am pretty sure that my head injury is the only thing still holding me back. And maybe more hikes like this one will help with that.

All I kept thinking throughout this short hike was that I'm back. I'm back!

Nature Center Magazine - Today I have for you another in the great collection of some of the best nature videos on the internet.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And Then The Raccoons Chased Me

Along with the reposts of these old raccoon stories I've been giving you some updates on what I'm doing right now. These updates have been pretty negative from my point of view, mostly mentioning my ongoing headaches. But I have something much more positive today, even though the headaches haven't changed.

Okay, here goes. I said I had spent some time out in the last week. What I was doing was searching for another truck to replace the one that was smashed up in the accident. And I finally did it! It took me awhile to replace my old one with one of equal value, but that's just what I was finally able to do. This one is a Jeep, and I like it a lot.

The only problem is that I can't drive very far in my condition, so I had to ask someone to drive it home for me. But I have been able to drive it on a couple of short trips to get a feel for it. So that is one huge step towards getting back to normal.

My next post will also be another step. I'm not sure when it will be yet, but my next post will be something I haven't been able to bring you for about two months. I don't know how exciting it will actually be to some, but it's huge to me. I'm looking forward to writing it. But for now, here's the conclusion to the story of the raccoons!

I left you yesterday in the second part of this trilogy of raccoons as I began walking down the path in the same direction the baby raccoons had fled. It was probably foolish to do it, but I had been already going that way and I thought they were leaving me now.

Here are links to parts one and two if you missed them:
  1. The Story Of The Raccoons
  2. The Raccoons Surrounded Me

As I rounded the bend that the raccoons did, I saw that they had not disappeared into the forest, but they were watching and waiting for me. This time their were only four around though. The other two decided I wasn't so good after all. Just as they spotted me coming down the path they darted towards me again!

I stopped again as these four remaining raccoons surrounded me once more. In my greedy mind I saw it as another great opportunity to get some more valuable pictures of these adorable little creatures. And I was still just fascinated by them. As I keep saying, nothing like this has ever happened to me before.

As I was taking my pictures of them though I began to realize something. They didn't seem as curious of me as they did last time. This was something different. They were looking to me for comfort. That's when I looked around for their mother again. She was nowhere in sight.

There was one little raccoon that kept climbing up my leg. I had to shake it off a couple of times. I had to be careful not to touch any of them with my hands, even though I had an overwhelming urge to pet them. I didn't want to put any unnecessary human scent on them.

I didn't know what that would do to them when they got back to their mother. I thought they were probably too old for it, but I didn't want her to reject them because of human smell on them. Still, where was she?

These little ones were beginning to get very comfortable with me. They were wrapping themselves around me as if they were hugging me. One of them laid down in between my feet as if it was going to take a nap right there. I was quickly realizing that this was not a good thing for either of us.

I was assuming hopefully that the mother was fine and she had just taken a little stroll. If that was the case, she would be back shortly. If she saw me with her babies I would be in very big trouble. I definitely did not want to have to fight off an angry mother raccoon.

This is an animal that is much bigger than a house cat, and could kill it with ease. An adult raccoon is almost the size of a middle sized dog. The raccoon would usually win in a fight with a dog that's bigger than it. Either way the fight went, the dog would come out of it hurt. Like I said before, I was in trouble.

I decided then that I had better move away from these little ones, even though I thought they were very adorable. The leg crawler did it again, so I shook it off for the last time. They were all looking at me in an almost pleading way now. As you can see, they look very healthy, so I'm sure their mother would return very soon.

So I started to walk down the trail, and the little raccoons followed close at my feet. They were still closely surrounding me. I had to be careful where I stepped so I wouldn't hurt one of them. This was way out of hand now! I had to do something, and I had to do it now!

I quickly moved away from the crowd, and they came right back to me! I moved one direction and then another but they still kept coming! I finally stomped my foot at them in a threatening manner, but it didn't work either. They liked me too much now. I even growled and hissed at them to no avail.

So you know what I did? I did what I had to do. I ran! I ran as fast as I could go! The raccoons ran too! They were right behind me! I kept running until I began to pull away from them. I had never run so hard in my life! Up and down hills, and probably halfway through the park.

I stopped to rest once. I turned to see if they were still coming, and off in the distance I saw them running towards me! So I turned and ran again even further and faster than before. I ran down a huge hill to the creek, and then up the other side with equal speed!

From the top of the hill I turned around again, and to my relief they were nowhere in sight. I had finally lost them. I have to admit that I felt bad about it, but it was the best thing to do in that situation. I couldn't lead them through the park only to have them get lost from their mom. Yup, I was finally away from them and I felt like a jerk for it.

When I returned to that section of the park on my way out, I took the other path so I could avoid another encounter with them. It was the best thing for the little raccoons. I would never see my little friends again, but I wish I could.

That's the end of my encounter with the little raccoons. This one was extra long only because I promised it would be the final part of the story. I hope it teaches us in some small way that you can't make friends with or a pet of a wild animal. Just try to stay away if you can. Let me know what you think.

I have written another story over at Rat Tales! It's called "A Nightmare In The Forest". This is actually an update of an old story from this site, but I updated it and brought it back especially for Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Raccoons Surrounded Me!

I'm back with part two of my raccoon story! But before I present this to you, I have a promised update for you. I went to the doctor yesterday, where they did an EEG on me. That's a test on my brain activity. Well, that checked out completely normal. That's good news, but I still don't know what's wrong. I'll be going back for more tests.

I've had a few other trips away from home as well. I seem to be able to do physical things just fine now, but if I try to think very much I become exhausted. And I forget things much too easily still. It seems like information goes in my head and then falls right back out. I almost forgot to write this post today.

Oops! And I also almost forgot to mention that I have a new story posted over on Rat Tales. This one doesn't involve spaghetti in any way.My new story is actually an updated version of an old one I did here a while back. It's about what happens when a person goes for a midnight hike at the worst time.

Anyway, enough of the bad stuff and on to nature, my favorite thing. When I originally posted this story of the raccoons I had to limit the amount of pictures because there were already very many. But this time I have added a few extras to go along with them. This was really a big event for me. It's not every day that a person is chased by raccoons and still gets a lot of pictures to show. Today you get a good hint of why they came after me! Here goes...

I ended the first part of this story yesterday as six raccoons were running towards me. When I first saw them I had no idea what their intentions were. I only knew that they were very interested in me. I thought they would run away when they saw me, but they only came on faster.

If you haven't seen part one of this story, you can go here to read it: Raccoons

As they were quickly moving closer to me, I noticed that the majority of them were only juvenile raccoons. They were not full grown yet, and they were only about half the size of a full grown raccoon. I watched to see which one was the mother, but I quickly realized she wasn't there.

That was a relief! I didn't want to deal with an angry protective mother raccoon. Raccoons can be very dangerous animals. Probably the most dangerous I've met yet. Their teeth and claws are very sharp, and they like to use them. This could have turned into a very bad situation for me.

As you can see by the first two pictures, they reached me. Before they got to me I could see that they were just curious, so I held my ground and let them come. They got to me and began curiously moving all around me. I liked them immediately! Just look at those cute little faces!

They were staying very close to me. I had the whole crowd of them at my feet. One of them was walking in a circle around my left leg. Two others decided to stand up on my legs a little bit so they could get a better look at me. They were trying to figure out just what I was. They were more curious of me than I was of them.

Make no mistake though, I was very curious about them. I knew this was the best opportunity I've ever had to get closeup pictures of wild animals. I was alternating between trying to focus my camera on them and making sure I got to really look at them with my own two eyes. This was maybe the most amazing experience I've ever had!

The mutual admiration went on for a few minutes until I noticed a straggler. There was one of them that was holding back. It wasn't quite so sure that this new creature they discovered was entirely safe. It was the shyest and probably the smartest of the bunch.

While I was looking at it, the shy little raccoon finally let it's curiosity get the best of it, and it finally joined it's family at my feet. I continued to hold my ground. I wasn't sure what to do now, so I took more pictures while the little raccoons kept walking around me.

Finally I decided that this was enough so I moved my feet a little bit, and the shy one turned and quickly started walking back down the trail from where it came. When the others saw this, they decided that it was best to keep the family together, so the whole group turned and reluctantly followed the other one down the path.

I took more pictures as they fled from me down the path. I thought this was the last I would see of my new friends, so I took as many pictures as I could before they disappeared forever. They finally followed the trail around a corner until I couldn't see them anymore.

This was not the end though! I happened to be going in the same direction as these little ones. It probably would have been wiser for me to turn around and use another path to the back of the park, but I honestly thought they would stay away from me now. I thought they were afraid of me now because they decided I was a threat. I was never so wrong before.

If you haven't guessed yet, the story doesn't end here. The next part will be the third and final part. The best stories are all trilogies anyway. It will be the most action packed part of the story. There will be another twist to this story that you might guess from these first two parts. Can you guess what it might be? Don't miss tomorrow's exciting conclusion of my encounter with the raccoons!

Nature Center Magazine - We're going into Halloween mode! We'll be bringing you some fun ghostly stuff for the next two days!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Story Of The Raccoons

It's been a week since I gave you an update here even though I intended to do this soon after the last one. But it's been a rough week for me. While any injuries to the rest of me seem to be healing just fine, the pain in my head is as strong as ever. I also get dizzy and feel very sick at times; stuff I've already whined about before. Sometimes I feel better and sometimes I'm not good at all. Well, I've not felt very well for the past week so I had to take a bit of a break.

Anyway, things haven't been all negative and I'm feeling a little better right now. There have also been a few other positive things which I'll explain in the next few days. I'm hoping my next doctor's appointment begins to get to the bottom of the pain in my head too. And like I said before, my other injuries seem to be fine now.

I know that many of you had questions and concerns about my raccoon story last time. I intended to answer them in the comments section, but since I couldn't do that at that time I decided that I should just bring you the whole story. This is a three part story because of the size so the next three days will be busy here. I'll bring some current stuff with each post, just like this one. Here's part one!

I have an astounding story to tell you. This happened to me only yesterday, and it might be the most significant and unusual animal encounter I've ever had. I'm going to have to tell this one in multiple parts because this story is too big for just one post. I have very many pictures I hope to show you with the full story. I hope you enjoy this one.

When I went out hiking yesterday I was really hoping to see the heron I showed you last time. I thought the day would be just another ordinary hike with a few small forest creatures along the way. I can tell you though that there is nothing that could have prepared me for what happened. My encounter was completely unexpected.

I entered an area of the nature trail where I have seen very many chipmunks recently. When I began looking for them I found something else entirely. That's right, you guessed it. What I saw were four raccoons on the trail walking out of the shadows right towards me!

They didn't seem to notice me at first, so I frantically began trying to get my camera ready for a few pictures before they fled. It took longer than it should have, but I was soon clicking the shoot button as fast as I could. That's when they finally noticed me and looked up in my direction.

I thought for sure that they would run now, but they didn't do that at all! When they saw me they kept right on coming! As a matter of fact, not only did they keep moving towards me, they started moving towards me with a purpose. I can tell you now that I was a little shaken by this development.

As if that weren't enough, as they began to get closer their quick walk turned into a trot! They were now running right at me! They were running together and crisscrossing around each other, and their sole purpose was to be the first one to reach me. I soon noticed that the four I had originally seen had now grown to six!

What did they want? This is the second time now an animal ran towards me. The other time was a squirrel that scared me thoroughly until it stopped only to stare at me from a tree. These raccoons did not stop. I've been wanting to see a raccoon or a possum or even another bigger animal like that, but I never thought of this!

I'm going to end this part of the story right here. This will give me a chance to tell you the whole story without making you read a novel in a day. It will also enable me to show you many more pictures of this encounter. But what happened? Did they reach me? Am I injured? To find the answers to these and many more questions, tune in tomorrow. Same Rat time, same Rat channel!

Nature Center Magazine - We're going into Halloween mode! We'll be bringing you some fun ghostly stuff for the next two days!