I was sitting on my porch yesterday afternoon, in the late sunshine, reading yet another Appalachian Trail book. I was engrossed as the light faded and, using my Kindle app on the iPad, I was hardly aware that I was gradually plunging into darkness, as the iPad is so well backlit.
You may recall that my only encounters with wildlife thus far have been with some wild boar on the Little Manatee River trail and a rubber snake in a gated community. As a consequence, I’m hardly the grizzled veteran for whom wild animals hold no fear. Indeed, I am to long distance hiking what Katy Perry is to deep sea drilling. That said, I feel relatively comfortable facing most animate objects in the coming months, so it is somewhat jarring to report another brush with reality.
As I say, the sun had entirely gone and I was quietly minding my own business when a frog had the temerity to jump straight out of the gloom onto my hand. In the dark, this is more than a little unnerving and I confess to jumping like a 10 year old girl and, very possibly, starting to emit a squeal that I quickly caught in my throat. Of course, it passed in an instant and I laughed at myself, yet I’ve had to recall something that I read recently, that the fear of something is not a valid reason for not doing something. That is a wild paraphrase, but I’m sure you get my drift.
Of course, I’m as frightened of frogs as I am of rubber snakes, yet I know that it is the sudden movement that I need to get used to. With nearly 2,200 miles to cover, there will doubtless be many moments of unexpected movement, so I guess these tiny false alarms are all part of the process.
Roll on my first bear encounter. Then I’ll really have reason to jump.