When people find out that I hike a lot, and they hear of the places I have hiked, one of the first questions they ask is, “Do you see much wildlife out there?”

Well, anyone who spends a lot of time in the woods, whether hiking, hunting, or camping, can tell you that the answer is, “sometimes.”

I will say, I have seen a lot of wildlife, but certainly not every time I venture into the woods. There is something special and calming about walking around in a habitat that is not normally mine, and seeing animals grazing, walking, climbing, and just hanging out in their native surroundings. In national parks and areas where hunting is not allowed, most of the wildlife pay no attention to me. They may look up in curiosity, but not in fear. They don’t really have any concern that I am there visiting their home, and seem happy to just co-exist with me. This has been my experience, but we must remember to be good guests.

The place that I have seen the most creatures is in California in the High Sierras. On the John Muir Trail, a 211-mile trail up on the highline of the Sierras from the Yosemite Valley to the peak of Mt. Whitney, we saw some type of wildlife every day. We had close encounters with a coyote, countless mule deer, bears (although, that was across a river), marmots, ptarmigans, jackrabbits, picas, squirrels, snakes, lizards of all kinds, countless varieties of birds, and frogs like I have never seen. Bobcats are common, though I have never seen one.

I have enjoyed the company of a wolverine in the Canadian Rockies, moose in Maine, a herd of elk that numbered more than 100 in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is hard to escape a meeting with bison or moose when hiking the back country in Yellowstone National Park.

It is relatively easy to find rattlesnakes in our neck of the woods here in the East, along with copperheads at Pole Steeple and anywhere there are rocks. Black snakes are plentiful all along the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia all the way to Maine.

It is fascinating to see wild ponies in the Grayson Highlands in Virginia, and the mountain goats in Zion Canyon. There is something incredibly calming about sitting …….

Source: https://www.gettysburgtimes.com/sports/article_16893f4c-3b0d-5448-a88b-1d545129448f.html

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