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  1. #1
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Default What's your most memorable backcountry wildlife experience ?

    Whether it be getting a rare glimpse of a cougar in the wild, or having a bull moose practically run you over on the trail , share what encounter was the most memorable for you.

    I'll get things rolling first ; last year while hiking with 4 friends we were stopped dead in our tracks by a large Timber Rattlesnake, (in my gallery) already coiled ,then further provoked( thanks Hikerhead ).
    Less than an hour after hiking around the rattler we encountered a hornets nest that apparantly was squashed as it rested under a fallen sapling which my hiking bud stepped on, suddening finding ourselves being attacked by dozens of angry hornets. Poor Andy got the worst of it , stung 4 times.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  2. #2
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    Much more benign, mine happened last year. I was hiking with my son-in-law. We were talking and enjoying an easy stretch of trail when I noticed movement over his shoulder. Not 10 feet away was a deer that was grazing, blending in perfectly with the surrounding brush. As we stood there, not very still and not very quiet, the deer continued to feed and we realized that there were three of them. I pulled out my camera and took several pictures as they moved along slowly, ignoring us. We finally hiked on and left them behind.

  3. #3

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    Two different Events

    1) Around 12 years old in the Adirondacks walking down the side trail to Bushnell falls and came within 8 feet of a bear. It stood up, we both looked at each other and it wen't on it's way. I was alone as all the others were already at the falls. Really cool experience

    2) Two years ago cruising downhill on the lakeshore trail in GSMNP I almost stepped on a big timber rattlesnake. I jumped back and screamed like a little girl. I had been going about 3 mph for a few hours that day up until that point. For the next couple of hours I was walking at maybe 1 mph. It is a little sobbering being 18 miles from the road and solo when that happens.

  4. #4
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    1993 at Merced Lake, Yosemite National Park ... meeting a Marmot for the first time and not having a clue what a Marmot is. Thought it was a giant squirrel.
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  5. #5

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    Seeing two Bucks fighting out in the middle of a field, and a third one coming to join in, while a Doe stood near by.

    Watching Beavers build and maintain their dam at my local fishing spot.

  6. #6

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    Cool thread...

    My first 112 miles of backpacking on the AT had lots of wildlife in it.

    Second day out.. huge rattlesnake right across the trail. We encountered hornets... got stung & got to do some trail running with a full pack. Then, coming into Uncle Johnnies we saw 2 copperheads within a mile of each other. BOTH right on the trail.

    In PA this spring we took a blue trail by accident but we were so happy to enjoy a dozen or more baby birds... what are those birds that hang out in the brush then scare the tar out of you when they all take off as you approach... yeah those critters. The babies were everywhere and so CUTE!!

  7. #7

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    This encounter happened on the first day of a southbound thru-hike of Maine in 1981 around July. As we were going up Katahdin from the northeast on the Helon Taylor Trail to Baxter Peak via Knife-edge, starting from Roaring Brook Campground inside Baxter State Park; our destination, for this first day, was Katahdin Stream Campground.

    Iím not sure how long into the hike we were, but I know we were still a good way from tree-line, in the dense foliage. All I remember was hearing this deep sounding roar, sort of like hearing an African lion in the zoo, but only lasted a couple seconds. It caused us all to stop dead in our tracks. Never saw anything, but heard some rustling in the brush, then it was gone; at the time we just assumed it was a bear. However, I now know that was no bear, don't know what it was, but definitely was no bear.

  8. #8
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    After three days of absolutely torrential day and night Maine rain in the 100 mile wilderness, soaked to the skin and sploshing along, we came across a lake shore. The rain stopped, the sun came out...and we basked like turtles...I wanted to offer up a prayer to the ancient sun gods...the warm sun felt like as good as a hot meal would have tasted...and then the most incredible thing happened. We were suddenly surrounded by a whole bunch of butterflies of differing hues and shapes...some of them they even settled on us briefly, one on my shoe, one on my sons pack, one on my wooden hiking pole...truly magical and an unforgettable moment for us!

  9. #9
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    Exclamation Two of them, both involving snakes

    I've seen bear, moose, beaver, and innumerable other animals in the back-country. But the two that stand out are

    1) Watching a snake swallow a rodent over a period of about five minutes.

    2) Coming across a rattler (probably a diamondback) -- coiled, rattling, and tongue out -- on the desert trail about five meters in front of me. It was a scene they put in movies right before the bad guy gets it. My only thought as I froze was, "Snake, there's one thing you and I agree on -- I should NOT get any closer to you!!" It slithered away before I could get a good photo.

  10. #10

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    In January outside the east gate to Yellowstone on some private property watching a bull elk guarding his heard of cows from 3 other young bulls who were trying to move in. He had to go from one to the other to the other constantly fighting them off. He would no sooner get one run off and the other two were moved in. I watched for an hour and 45 min. That was one big bad bull. He never lost.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

  11. #11
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    About two weeks ago while hiking into the NOC from Tellico Gap...a bunny rabbit was sitting in the middle of the trail. I saw it from a distance and continued walking almost right up to it before it bolted off trail and into some low shrubs.

  12. #12
    Registered User jfarrell04's Avatar
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    We had just finished a long, wet day somewhere in NC I believe. I think it was in the early/mid 1990s. We came to a shelter that had just been built and wasn't on our maps or in our guidebooks, but it was, for that day, perfectly placed. Seems like it was called Flint Mountain Shelter maybe? Anywho, we sat at the front of the shelter relieved to be done for the day when a big, old, fat bunny rabbit hopped out from under the shelter and into the clearing in front. It couldn't have been 10 seconds later when some type of weasel-type creature came flashing out of the woods and grabbed this poor bunny by the neck and dragged it back into the woods. Made for a restless nite of sleep, not sure if this devil-weasel was gonna attack again! On our way outta the shelter the next morning, we walked past this bunny laying on the shelter access trail, pretty much gutted....weird wild stuff for sure. I'm gonna go look for the "after" picture that I took of that rabbit laying there.

  13. #13

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    Crusing along a trail in Yellowstone, looked up and saw the butt end of a Bufflo blocking the trail about 5 feet in front of me! I was tempted to slap him in the butt to get him to move, but decided that was not a good idea and crashed through the brush around him instead.

    Also in Yellowstone, I was sitting up against a tree resting near a stream and had a prong horn deer wander up next to me to browse on some flowers and grass just feet in front of me. This went on for a few minutes until he looked up and ran off. Then I heard bear bells coming up along the river and eventually the source of all that racket approched. This guy had about a dozen bells on him. He didn't even see me until I spoke up and asked if he had seen any wild life. Umm, no he replied. I wonder why...

    Again in Yellowstone, had a pine marten run out of the woods, stop on a tree fallen across the trail and look at me for a few seconds and then ran off again.

    Camping out side of town near Jasper, Alberta, woke up to find a small herd of Elk milling around my tent.

    At Chimney pond campground in Baxter, watched a bear take the food out of a tree we had hung in front of the shelter. It took some serious effort, but he eventually got it. The next year we got a moose tangled up in some climbing rope we brought to hang the food with, as the rope was laying spread out on the ground in the morning. Thankfully the moose somehow got untangled, looked back at us, grunted and wandered off.

    One morning at a shelter in Vermont on the Long Trail, woke up to see a porkiepine about six inches from my nose. I'm not sure who was more startled when I opened my eyes, him or me. I'm sure he wanted to lick the salt off my nose!

    Hiking in NY, I heard a noise behind me and when I turned around to look, two 8 foot long black snakes twisted together come rolling down the hill. Yikes!
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  14. #14
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Crusing along a trail in Yellowstone, looked up and saw the butt end of a Bufflo blocking the trail about 5 feet in front of me! I was tempted to slap him in the butt to get him to move, but decided that was not a good idea and crashed through the brush around him instead.


    He may taken that slap on the rear the wrong way, and you may have found yourself in a compromising position.





    Hiking in NY, I heard a noise behind me and when I turned around to look, two 8 foot long black snakes twisted together come rolling down the hill. Yikes!
    They were just frolicking along, not meaning to scare you ...
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  15. #15

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    90% of my best wildlife encounters have come in National Parks. Troubled as some may think it just goes to show you how valuable of a resource they are despite some of the downfalls some think they have.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

  16. #16

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    grafton loop trail , broad winged hawk kept on circling, stayed with me for about 5 minutes, guess he figured i wasnt food, eventually flew away. just me and the hawk nobody around for miles

  17. #17

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    Hearing a "woof"and looking up to see a griz and two cubs on the CDT across Leeds creek in northern Wyoming (south of Yellowstone)(Ley wy11).

    On the AT it would be seeing my 1st black bear just south of Jenkins Shelter.

  18. #18
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    In the 100 mile wilderness I decided to head up a side trail to a view of Katahdin, 3/4 of a mile. Dropped my pack with my hiking companions and ran. At full speed near the top I came upon a moose. He looked at me and I looked at him. We shared a moment and then he moved away.

    At Pierce Pond near dusk I saw a strange creature swimming to shore from the middle of the pond. When it climbed onto the bank it was easy to tell that it was a squirrel! The next morning I saw a repeat performance at the same spot.

    In the 100 mile wilderness I saw a large group of ducks, estimated at twenty to thirty, swimming around together. The lead duck and two flanking ducks had their heads under water. The group herded some aquatic life-form, presumably fish, into a cul-de-sac and fed in a frenzy. They repeated this three or four times.

  19. #19
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    In Haleakala NP, Maui, on the Halemau'u Trail, where it first reaches the crater rim. From this viewpoint, you are looking across the whole length of the crater floor, 1000 feet almost straight down. To your left is the Ko'olau Gap with the Pacific 7700 feet below. Clouds rising up from the ocean are pouring into the crater through the gap right right below you. I hear an odd noise and I look down and I see I am surrounded by a flock of a dozen Nene (Hawaiian Geese), the closest ones were about 12 inches away. At the time, I figured this was about 5% of all wild Nene in the world.

  20. #20
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    Came upon a white goat on the trail one rainy/foggy afternoon in VA.

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