I'll take a bit of a break from my Scotland posts, lassies and laddies, to post about Friday's (June 6) hike in Shenandoah National Park. And I am going to do this a little differently, first posting about a couple of critters that I saw, then later about the hike itself, which you can read about here.
I saw three animals that were worthy of posting about, but only got photos of two of them. This first one should be very easy. Follow the clues and make your guess....
What I can find is what I'll eat:
Insects and plants, sweet fruits, and meat
I search all day to find these goods
While wondering through the deep woods
I need to eat all that I can
For winter's sleep is my grand plan
It's in the winter, cold and deep,
That you would find me fast asleep
There cubs are born, helpless and small
They'll stay with me til second fall
And by that time, like me they're large
But while they're small, watch out - I'll charge!
I have thick fur, both front and back
To keep me warm - it's deepest black
My fur makes hats for Coldsteam Guards
Who stand their watch near Scootland Yards
That should be enough clues.
I'm sure that you guessed a black bear
When I'm with cubs, you must beware!
I saw these bears along the road before I got to my hiking point. While I've seen them while hiking a number of times, I've only gotten photos once, in Grand Tetons National Park. So I decided to post these photos, even though it was before the hike.
First, I spied what looked like an animal from the distance as I drove north on the Skyline Drive. I slowed and got close and was thrilled to see a black bear! The bear began crossing the road, then stopped right in front of me ....
.... and looked back.
And here's why - a tiny cub came out of the brush and joined her. They crossed to the other side, and the cub disappeared into the dense vegetation. But a moment later, the bear turned and started to cross back to my left.
Imagine my delight when not one, but two, little cubs joined her. Clearly, she had gone to get her other cub after seeing me as a potential threat coming between them.
They reached the other side....
Then, one by one, the cubs scampered up the tree that was behind her, I suppose on some signal from their mother. She began munching on big mouthfuls of this plant. I watched for a moment, then left them in peace to live their lives.
What a wonderful and fortunate wildlife sighting. I was annoyed with myself that I had left my house about 30 minutes later than planned. But had I left on time, I would not have seen these bears, nor would I have seen the other incredible animal after starting my hike. So I guess that there was a reason that I left late. We need to be patient and accepting of things, as one never knows where they might lead.
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