April 25, 1997
I understand that a few of you out there are going camping this weekend–or at the very least, planning to enjoy the great outdoors, and I don’t mean renting the video. But while enjoying the great outdoors, remember to be careful when you encounter wildlife. For instance, if you see a sign on a fencepost that says, "Forget the dog, beware of the OWNER", avoid that area. The animal that lives there is very protective of its territory. Or, if you see an animal whose bermuda shorts provide very poor camouflage, be even more careful: this animal has the capacity to latch on to you and suck the life out of you unless you give it some postcards of the area. Then there’s the strangest animal I ever saw–one that I think may be unique. I was with a group on a hiking trip, and we were passing through a moderately civilized area on our way to the campground. We passed a creature standing in a paved part of his territory and washing his car. Suddenly, he saw us, and started yelling in the direction of his nest. "Carl! Get out here! You’ve gotta see this!" We all stopped–none of us had ever seen any kind of animal behavior like this before. He kept on. "Carl! You’re gonna miss it!" I said, "Do you want us to wait while Carl gets his camera?" It was the least I could do–he was obviously more afraid of us than we were of him.
Enjoy these other comments on the great outdoors:
This list is circulating among (US) Forest Service employees. These are actual comments left last year on Forest Service registration sheets and comment cards by backpackers completing wilderness camping trips:
"A small deer came into my camp and stole my bag of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call."
"Escalators would help on steep uphill sections."
"Instead of a permit system or regulations, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness."
"Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands."
"Ban walking sticks in wilderness. Hikers that use walking sticks are more likely to chase animals."
"All the mile markers are missing this year."
"Found a smouldering cigarette left by a horse."
"Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill."
"Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the area of these pests."
"Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow in the winter."
"Chairlifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them."
"The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals."
"Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 feet so people can hike at night with flashlights."
"Need more signs to keep area pristine."
"A McDonald’s would be nice at the trailhead."
"The places where trails do not exist are not well marked."
"Too many rocks in the mountains."