Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

All Creatures Great and Small and Slithery

There’s a commercial on TV where a guy is camping by himself and with nightfall descending rapidly on him, he decides to light a campfire. After he strikes the match and lights up his surroundings, he sees he’s surrounded by a gallery of wild animals – a raccoon, deer, a bear – all staring at him unblinkingly.

I don’t remember what the commercial was for; I tried searching for it on YouTube and only found out the Animals released a song called “The Night” in 1982. Close. No cigar.

I went camping last month for the first time in about 15 years. I’ve had my eye on the Woods Canyon Lake area of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests ever since touring it during the Promontory Fire in 2007. A couple of days before my vacation was set to kick off, we here at AzEIN received a missive from one of our friends in a national forest in New Mexico warning would-be campers about encountering bears, hungry after a winter of hibernation.

My camping trip was starting to lose its allure.

New Mexico bears would know better than to wander into Arizona, right?

Being in the great outdoors affords many pleasures, like biking alongside the edge of the earth on the Mogollon Rim, and there’s no denying seeing Mother Nature’s creatures in their habitat is exciting in its own way. But when those creatures start rummaging through your tent – while you’re sleeping in it, as it happened to this woman – I start researching the sights afforded from a hotel room.
The edge of the earth, as seen from the Mogollon Rim.

Fortunately, my camping trip was heavy on hiking and biking, and light on wildlife encounters, although I’m still not sure what was hanging out at my tent in the middle of the night.

At least it wasn’t this slithery thing that chased me and my beloved around last summer.

Yes, that's a rattler between the rocks and the wall. This is the best picture I could take with my BlackBerry without asking the snake to stretch out in the sun.

A member of the Bucksin Fire Department prepares to put the rattler into a container. The snake is on the end of the long pole being held by another Buckskin Fire Department firefighter.

For the record, it was much bigger than the one sighted by my coworker as she left a building in Phoenix last week:

But office-dwellers shouldn't become complacent, at least not the dwellers in our Phoenix offices:

Arizona is home to many creatures, and our interactions with them can be inspiring or catastrophic. With a little respect and knowledge, the danger associated with wild animals can be mitigated and we can enjoy what this state offers us outside.

Also see:

No comments: