First contact with wildlife

Now that the blog is up and running, I thought I’d better actually do a short hike to start to wear in my new boots.  Everything is new, never having hiked before, so I’m a little like a new boy at school.  Hopefully, I’ve chosen well, though the early evidence isn’t entirely encouraging.

I looked around my local area and, recognizing that Florida lacks a anything ressembling a hill, I set my modests sights at Little Manatee River Loop, which winds through the forest for just over 6 miles.  I took a small backpack, plenty of water and some nuts and cranberries to tide me over for a couple of hours.  It was only in the lates 50’s, early 60’s, so very comfortable.

I must say that the boots performed OK, though perhaps 6 miles in new boots wasn’t the smartest idea.  Mind you, I immediately made one decision that will make a difference.  I had been fondly fooling myself that cycling around 50 miles a week (over 3 sessions) would be a reasonable way to get myself into shape.  The hill climbing is just going to have to sort itself out when I start the hike, but I was hoping that the cycling would help strengthen my legs.  No such luck!  While my legs are strong, they are totally unprepared for hiking, so I’m going to drop the three cycle rides and add 2 or 3 hikes a week over the next couple of months.

The big wildlife moment (well, it was big for me) was when I turned a corner and saw what initially looked like a junior horse on the path about 30 yards ahead of me.  It turned out to be a rather ugly wild boar, accompanied by his missus and two piglets.  Happily for me, he turned immediately and ran into the undergrowth, followed by a bit of grunting and squealing from his family.  Typically, having taken several pointless earlier shots with my camera, I didn’t react quickly enough for a shot.  Still, it was good to see something wild and I was somewhat reassured by the eagerness that he displayed in having no part of me.  God knows what I would have done if he’d decided to take issue with me .


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