Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wild America: Where YOU are on the menu!

How many of you dodged five moose* and two herds of elk on the way to work this morning?

Oh, really? Well… um… so did I. (I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting any answers in the affirmative there. Kind of took the wind out of my sails. I had no idea Boston or the Hudson Valley or Brooklyn or South Georgia or North Georgia or the Twin Cities or Southwestern Kentucky or Knoxville or Rochester or Adelaide or Capetown had such an abundance of large ungulates.) (And I’m clearly counting on someone in each of those localities to actually be reading this - wishful thinking, I’m sure.) (And I apologize if I left anyone out. Tell me about it in the comments. De-lurk, if you must.)

You might expect a photo of a moose or an elk at this point, but I wasn’t about to stop on the shoulder of the highway in my full park service regalia and whip out a camera like a giddy German** tourist. Besides, there will be plenty of time for wildlife photography when I’m dressed more anonymously.

Speaking of wildlife, I keep talking myself out of an evening run due to all the grizzly bear activity around where I live. Normally when a person is jogging down a designated US highway with a posted speed limit of 55, they are primarily concerned with four-wheeled traffic. Last week when I hit the pavement for a short out-and-back I was instead scanning side to side for traffic of the four-legged variety, which tends to weigh slightly less than the wheeled kind (but not by much,) although the ones with wheels don’t possess free will and seldom view a guy in Adidas runners as an hors d’oeuvre.

But bears come with the territory, so if I’m going to keep up the running, I’ll have to take my turn, sprinting down the roadway like it’s a human buffet line while ursus horribilis waits in the trees, sharpening his claws, ready to spring on me from some dark place before I can clear the gauntlet.

Or I could buy a treadmill.

Actually, just an hour or so ago there was a bear about a mile from my residence that attracted a crowd and ended up bluff-charging someone. Probably a German tourist. Or maybe some Quebecois. They can’t drive either.

*Anyone who uses the non-word meese in the comments will be immediately and unceremoniously kicked off my sidebar. And if you’re not in my sidebar I will instead put a voodoo hex on you, malady to be determined (but probably involving parasitic infestation of the small intestine and/or an eruption of coarse, uncontrollable ear hair.)

**I’m giving the Japanese a break. At least the Germans know how to drive. Stereotype? Yes. Racism? No. Residents of Tokyo are just like Manhattanites: they don’t know how to drive because they don’t own a car. Hertz and Avis don’t seem to care either way.

11 comments:

nancypearlwannabe said...

What about the plural of meese, meeses? Does that still get me thrown out?

Dude, I know what you mean about the Quebecois. Their car accidents ruin my drive to beach at least once every year.

I do not know what you mean about the bears though. That sounds terrifying, even for a girl who grew up in moderate woodlands.

Julie said...

NPW is calling your bluff. How tough are you, really?

Which leads straight into the running thing. I don't really think you could take a bear, but I do think you're smart enough to avoid them and back yourself out of a situation. Also, you could try running with a can of beer in your pocket. If you get into a pickle, just pop the top and throw the can into the woods. That's what I was told to do. Of course, it could serve as a sauce for a MickManwich, but it could be worth a try.

em said...

Scott can confirm that the Germans love our National Parks. Apparently they are quite frugal as well. There, I contributed a blatant generalization to the cause...

surviving myself said...

Tell me more about this "bluff-charging." I might want to incorporate that into my daily commute.

courtney said...

You could always try to outrun the bears. I think they're pretty fast, though, so maybe not. Although that would add an unprecedented level of strenuous activity to your workout, so perhaps this is an excellent fitness plan: Sic some bears after some fat people. That'll get them running.

The Modern Gal said...

No -- because I didn't go to work today. Awww, snap! You never know, had I been working I might have been sent to the Smokies and encountered at least an elk or two.

Have I ever told you about the time my dad and I were hiking in the Tom Miner Basin in Montana? No? Well it's your lucky day. We went for a hike in what had to be one of the gorgeous spots in the state and saw the rear end of a grizzly near the end of our hike. We were recounting the encounter later in the day to one of the natives who said, 'Oh, I never go up there without my gun for that very reason." So there you go. Take your gun.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

Hudson Valley checking in. No moose in these parts lately.

Stefanie said...

Twin Cities representing here. And no, I did not dodge a moose or even a single herd of elk on my way to work this morning. Or on Sunday morning, for that matter, which is when you posted this. But then, I don't go to work on Sundays. I'm sure if I had, I totally would have seen some elk. (Or not.)

Allie said...

My morning commute consists of shuffling from one room to the other. If I encountered an elk on my way to the living room this morning, I would have been really confused.

A Free Man said...

Not so many ungulates, but we've definitely got you on the marsupials.

"but I wasn’t about to stop on the shoulder of the highway in my full park service regalia and whip out a camera like a giddy German** tourist" - a likely excuse. Five moose, sure there were.

Chris said...

I'm in the same boat as Allie: no moose or elk in my bedroom-to-home-office daily commute. Meaghan does spot some miniature deer on her way to and from work most days, though, I suspect. You know the ones.