Mule Deer Trick-or-Treaters

Not even noon on Halloween and already the first trick-or-treater is at the door. Need to get more fun-size salt licks.

Mule Deer Rut

With herd breeding-rights at stake Gary and Darren size each other up before engaging in one of nature’s great annual dramas – mule deer tetherball. (Evergreen, Colorado)

Colorado Mountain Goat

Unbeknownst to Larry it wasn’t his tracking collar that so annoyed the other mountain goats. (Mount Evans, Colorado)

Rethinking Man’s #1 Ranking on the Food Chain

I heard on the radio the other day that man is still ranked number one on  the food chain. Well shucks, of course we’re number one, we do the voting.

Does anyone believe we’d enjoy such a lofty ranking if other species had a vote? There’s zero chance a grizzly bear would defer to us? It would be thinking, “Man? Number one? The species that can be chased into a lake by a single bee? The species that feigns death if we approach it? Maybe number one on the food chain with the use of props. But take away its guns and pepper spray and humans are helpless buffoons. ”

Helpless buffoons, indeed.

Our egos, however, won’t allow us to admit our buffoonery. Or at least concede there should be an asterisk next to our ranking. We’re too full of ourselves. We’re convinced we’re the planet’s shining species, preventing us from recognizing our idiocy.

Take, for example, a beached whale. Less than 95% of us know to administer CPR to a fellow human being. Yet all of us are experts on determining a beached whale needs to be pushed back to sea.

How do we know this? The closest most of us have come to attending to an aquatic creature is feeding Tetra flakes to a goldfish. Yet we, with limited knowledge of whales, are rock-certain it needs to be shoved back into the ocean? Can we be any more delusional?

Have we ever considered that maybe we’re preventing the whale’s evolutionary path into becoming an amphibian? Or possibly even that it’s come to tell us something important? Like running with scissors is dangerous.

We’re idiots. Need more proof? Here are three more examples:

  1. The monarch butterfly has the brain size of a pin. Yet it can migrate thousands of miles south to find an exact location in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains. We drive two miles from our homes and we require GPS to find a Taco Bell.
  2. Every fall most species do things that border on miraculous. Birds migrate. Bears hibernate. Elk grow antlers. Humans? We spend $5 billion annually on Halloween decorations to make our expensive homes look abandoned.
  3. Every Arbor Day we plant a tree and every Christmas we kill a tree.

Do you have additional proof of our idiocy? Or thoughts on where we should honestly rank on the food chain? Please share with words or photos. The funnier the better.

Mule Deer Drama

Hats off to the Mule Deer Historical Society for its stunning reenactment of the Battle of Hastings. Already I look forward to next week’s reenactment of the Sacking of Rome. (Evergreen, Colorado)

Clean Humor – Colorado Black Bear

After being blocked from exiting my deck a tense 7-hour standoff came to an end when I finally acquiesced to Bud Bear’s demands and revealed where I kept my garbage. (Evergreen, Colorado)

Best Not to Describe Camping

While lying on the Utah desert floor cinching the sleeping bag’s hood so only my nostrils were left exposed to the sleep-denying cold, I concluded that it’s a good thing we have words for outdoor recreation otherwise we’d lose interest if we had to describe our favorite activities.

Take camping for example. The word itself conjures happy images of pitching tents along forested edges of gin-clear lakes, conversations around campfires, and monarch butterflies landing on the foreheads of small children.

If someone asks, “Want to go camping?” the outdoor-minded don’t think twice. It sounds fun. Yet, if we didn’t have a word for camping getting people outdoors would take convincing.

I would give second thought if some of my backpacking friends instead of asking “Want to go camping?” asked “Want to spend the weekend without furniture and focus every waking second to avoiding mosquitos, ticks, bears, and mountains lions?

And then at night sit around a campfire attempting to escape camp smoke that regardless of wind direction somehow defies all logic and follows your every step? And then when it comes time to call it a night sleep on wafer-thin air mattresses filled with our own foul breaths. But don’t worry about sleeping. We’ll be too bug-eyed awake from the comforting realization that even though all of our food is dangling from a sturdy branch inside a bear bag, bears also like meat, we’re the meat, and we’re on the ground.

After limited sleep we’ll rise at dawn and eat freeze-dried cheese omelettes from a foil pouch. Just before you’re about to compliment the deliciousness of the meal you or someone else will realize we forgot to remove the oxygen absorption packet from the pouch. We’ll then become obsessed with food poisoning concerns, distracting our attentions, leaving us vulnerable against mosquitoes, ticks, bears, and mountain lions.

Out of necessity we’ll then spend the afternoon collecting firewood like hapless medieval peasants. Just so we can repeat last night, with all of its discomforts and fears, all over again.

So what do you say? You in?”

I’d hesitate, but I’d be in. For what sounds like discomfort is actually the entranceway to experiences and memories. A weekend spent camping – good or bad – will perpetually bloom in the brain as a king-wow memory, forever fueling a sustaining sense of being alive.

Try saying that about a weekend spent indoors watching TV. No memories, only guilt for squandering time that can never be recovered.