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


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


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.


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.


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.



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


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

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