Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Walking with a Porcupine

Author's note: I'm re-posting a favorite story from June, 2012. Hope you enjoy!  ~Nina

Earlier this summer, I was visiting Toft Point Natural Area, near Bailey's Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin. Enjoying the brilliant early June day, I hiked just off Lake Michigan's shoreline on a wooded trail well-padded with many years' worth of of pine needles.  At times, the trees along the trail opened up, inviting me to the water's edge; then I'd retreat back to the cool, green shade. 267







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Making my way toward land's end, I moved silently along the trail, my footsteps almost completely muffled by the soft path beneath.

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I stopped and raised my binoculars to look at a Bald Eagle perched on a high branch on the tip of Toft's Point. After a couple minutes straining to locate its nest, I lowered my binoculars, and there it was. The porcupine stood not 10 feet ahead on the trail in front of me. Apparently, I was using its trail. And it was as surprised as I was.

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Okay, I admit, the second my brain registered P-O-R-C-U-P-I-N-E, I gave an involuntary whoop, did a quick sidestep, and turned and ran few yards back down the trail. Then I turned to see the spiky animal, unimpressed by my quirky dance, obligingly move off and give this temperamental tourist the right-of-way. Nice.

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Yes, it gave me the well-worn path to use, while it picked through brush and over fallen limbs. I was now headed back the same direction, and I kept pace with the porcupine, who seemed to have very little use for me. It steadily continued on its way, despite the inconvenience of the detour.

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Goodbye, friend Porcupine. Thanks for sharing your road, and your beautiful corner of the planet.

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Nina Cheney
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them. See what they bring you.

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