Tag Archives: raccoon

A Walk in the Woods


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Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors, wrote an amusing book of that title, about his trekking along the Appalachian Trail.

I took my own walk in the woods this morning, although it was only a bit over 30 minutes long and ended due to excessive insect activity.

Anyway, when the kids were younger and at home, once in awhile one of them and I would tromp through the woods south of Dry Creek. I returned to that area this morning, figuring a hike would count instead of gym time this morning—could not bear the thought of being inside, so I went out.

The first obstacle is a widening canyon cut by an ephemeral creek that runs from a street storm drain. Someone at one time actually built a bridge, but the rickety think now lies on the bottom of the creek bed—I’m just glad I was not standing on it when it fell in.

Well, I just paralleled the cut until I came to dry creek. Since no water is running in the ephemeral creed, there was a wide rocky delta that was easy to cross, and then I returned to the woods.

The main route is a deer highway (which, by the way, simply cuts across the canyon—deer can leap more easily than a middle-aged man, apparently). And there was traffic of the Bambi variety this morning.

Two does were on the same path, well ahead of me. Several times, though, they stopped and looked back, as if to say, “well, slowpoke, are you coming?” Eventually, they sped ahead out of sight.

The “woods” are partly settled. By a somewhat iffy looking tree house, someone had abandoned a bike some time ago. As I walked on, I felt a little like I was lost in nature, but in the distance I could often see signs that I was still in my Cedar Rapids neighborhood—yards and houses were never far away.

There were some mysteries along the trail, such as why were the wings of the butterfly there? What ate or otherwise destroyed the body that connected those wings?

Nature is a toothy place. I wrote in my last post about the baby cardinals in the back yard. Sad news today, blog fans. The nest is empty. Something got to the babies the night after the day when I found them—some neighborhood cat or raccoon. Something has been drinking our hummingbird nectar off of our back deck, too. A cat might eat the cardinals, but a cat wouldn’t drink nectar. A raccoon might do both. And Thursday night I saw a giant of a ‘coon cross Brentwood drive and run into my yard—could that be the baby bird killer-nectar drinker?

Oh well. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal will rebuild and try again, and I hope whatever won’t find the nest this time.

Back to the walk. I don’t know why I’ve never had a poison ivy rash, as much as I tromp through Iowa woods and wouldn’t recognize the nasty stuff if it bit me. Lucky, I guess.

Anyway, after 20 minutes or so the mosquitoes were starting to zero in on their Joe target, so I turned around. As I was walking back, there was a loud crackling crash. A substantial branch broke off a dead tree and went smashing to the ground, not 20 yards from where I stood.

Well. I’m glad to say that the branch was no nearer to me.

It was a fun walk, but I think I’ll reserve most future rambles for when Dry Creek dries up or after a nice cold frost in fall. Either a faster pace in a dry creek bed or some freezing air will reduce the mosquito issues.

By the way, one more update, a happier one, this time. Audrey Skyped today with Jon and Nalena, who are safe and sound, and have a nice host home, in Paraguay. They are undergoing training before deployment, so no final word on where they will be inside Paraguay, but they are doing well so far!

Much more of an adventure than my walk in the woods …

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