Saturday, January 8, 2011

Let sleeping deer lie

Little story of adventure today.

It's a testiment to how silent snowshoeing is that I could sneak up on a deer at all.

The soft "whoomp whoomp" on new snow doesn't make much of a sound, but my wheezy breath should have given some advanced warning of my approach. (yes, little out of shape lately)

Okay. so NORMALLY I do try to be very aware of my surroundings. The whole point to snowshoeing is being in the moment and drinking in the peace of nature. But in this instance, I was hurried, absent, mind racing ahead to everything I had to do when I got back.

And that's how I nearly tripped over a deer curled up asleep in the snow. I saw her just before I stepped on her. It startled me into a very awkward crash to the ground beside her. And when I say beside, I mean practically in her lap. The lap with long legs unfolding with wicked sharp hooves at the ends.


photo credit FlickerCC. I did not have time to take out my camera
What happened next I'm sure would have won a funniest home video contest. Neither of us could get away fast enough. I flailed and rolled in the deep snow like a turtle flipped over on its back, frantically trying to get up, she flailed trying to get her cold, stiff legs underneath her. It is a wonder I survived unscathed.

this is about how close I was. photo credit FlickerCC
The whole event reminds me of the day I nearly died by moose. (In fact - that story is being published by Wild Washington in the near future.) Or the sleeping bear I surprised during a rainstorm.

I'm thinking perhaps the deer might have been chased by wolves - they become exhausted and don't like to move once they've bedded down. Or maybe she had slipped on the ice and injured herself. I'm going again today to check on her.

Life Lesson #214 - Look up from your snowshoes.

26 comments:

Dana Elmendorf said...

That is the cutest story ever. I am so envious of your life. I'd love to be in nature like that but my urban CA life has taken over my country TN roots and I am grounded here in the city...for now. Maybe one day I can convince my city born and bread hubby we need to be in the country. (He did just buy a big 2011 Sierra truck.)

Thanks for sharing your story.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet you were both surprised! Good thing it wasn't a bear.

Janet Johnson said...

Now I'm waiting to hear about the sleeping bear. Scary!

But what a great story. Hopefully the deer is okay (and I'm glad you are too!). :)

Deb said...

Report back on the deer if you can...

I will try snowshoeing for the first time this year. (K Country, just west of Calgary) It will go something like yours, except there will be THUMP, ACK every third beat, lol. But you are so right about hearing and feeling all that stillness that surrounds you when you are out there. It is incredible.

Deb said...

Oh and yes...coming up on a moose is scary. We rounded a corner on a cow and her babe (with our kids).

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh my, oh my. That's a moment to relish since it ended well. I'm amazed you found photos that match the story. Gotta love the internet.

I do the same thing sometimes. I walk to get away and then take stuff in my head like what I'm going to do as soon as I'm back. But at least I'm learning to recognize that.

I can't wait to hear your moose story. A moose almost ran me over in Yellowstone. I was hiking to a lake and suddenly something was coming down a wooded hillside toward me. He stopped. I stopped. And we stared just a couple of yards apart. I think if he meant to trample me he would have. I've made up the story that he was as startled as I was and so turned and left.

MG Higgins said...

Great story. I love it when the unexpected happens. As long as everything ends well!

kimkircher.com said...

Great story. I love it how even in your haste you were reminded to pay attention. Life constantly throws us these cautions--but for you they come as encounters with wild animals, where most come as near misses on the freeway.

Anne R. Allen said...

What a wonderful story!

E. Arroyo said...

Nice.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow...you live an interesting life! Be safe, Terry.

Paul Greci said...

Very cool story, Terry!! It is so cool to think about the animals around us that we don't know are there. And sometimes we get lucky and see them, and in your case you were double lucky that those hooves didn't find their way to you.

Last winter I was snowshoeing, my mind was somewhere else and I almost walked into a cow moose with two yearlings. When I finally noticed her, she was staring at me like "hey idiot, what do you think you're doing walking right at me, I can't believe you're doing this." Luckily she let me turn around. I was like thirty yards from her just trucking along.

Faith E. Hough said...

Beautiful story. :) It's amazing how dangerous a peaceful little deer can be at close quarters!

Jemi Fraser said...

Glad you didn't step on her - the poor thing must have been scared out of her mind! HOpe you're both okay :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

She's beautiful. You do lead an adventuresome life. Hope the deer's okay. We have deer here, but they're pretty skittish. I haven't been able to get a close up picture of them. Still trying.

Natalie said...

I have been so out of the blogging world lately, so I'm way overdue with my congrats, but here they are anyway!

Congratulations on your release day! I'm going to to get myself a copy of DOGSLED DREAMS ASAP.

My parents live up in the hills so we've almost hit dear with the car many times, but I don't thing that's quite as exciting as almost tripping over one. :)

Jan Morrison said...

Wonderful story. Once I surprised a young buck on the trail. I saw him before my dog did and we just stood and stared at each other. Then Hoagy noticed - schriggled out of his collar and was gone for two days. yoicks.
I do not NOt want to surprise a bear. I wouldn't mind seeing some of the coyotes around here though.

Kelly said...

Wow! What an adventure! And I'm glad it was only a deer that you stumbled upon this time!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Okay...once again I say it: YOU HAVE SUCH AN AMAZING LIFE! Girl, your whole life is an adventure movie waiting to happen. :-)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love deer. Once my husband who's from Texas took me on a camping trip there in July (before I knew better than to go in their awful heat). The deer were so hungry they almost ate out of my hand.

That's cool seeing all the buzz about your book, like on PJ Hoover's blog and Adventures in Children's Publishing.

Marcia said...

Wow! The silence of snowshoeing sounds heavenly. So glad you're all right, and that your animal encounters remain this benign. :)

52 Faces said...

So frickin' cute!!!

Thank you so much for your comment on my "real name blogging" post - that meant a lot and cheered me after those silly stats got under my skin.

Time to focus back on my revising :)

p.s. Your book makes me smile - I still have a tourist shirt from when I visited Anchorage at age 13 that reads "Alaska: Where Men Are Men and Women Win the Iditarod"

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

What an wonderful experience and well told story! Where is my book?

MT said...

Oh, what a fantastic event - so long as you weren't punched by those hooves. :)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

What an awesome story and post, Terry! It's hard to imagine which one of you was more startled and frantic to get on your feet. LOL! Here's hoping the little girl is all right when you go to check on her (if you find her again).

Stephen Tremp said...

Deer and moose and bears, oh my. Where the heck do you live? Just kidding. I saw a moose once in Montana. They sure are big. Wouldn't want to make one mad.