Not so wild life

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.

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2 thoughts on “Not so wild life”

  1. Bahaha – the Katy Perry reference is classic 🙂

    I just know you will get used to the wildlife. The first few nights you’ll jump at everything that rustles and then it will become normal.

    Bears are one thing that scares me about cycling in North America and Canada. But I have 6-12 months in South America first to get used to the idea of bears 🙂

    1. Andrew. One of the things that I had to come to term with was the fact that this is REAL wildlife. The expression that I quoted somewhere of fear NOT being a reason NOT to do something is particularly apposite. While I’ll be cautious, I won’t not do it because I might meet a bear. Funnily enough, I hiked about 6 miles yesterday in a local forest and saw three (real) black snakes. Each one made me jump, though the height of each jump was lower than the previous one. I’m making progress.

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