Into the September Woods
Several months ago, my husband picked the first week of September on the calendar, and asked if I could take the days off as a vacation from work. I did that, and what a week we've been having! We got important stuff done around the house. We swam. We ate out.
And as the forecast slid us a couple of sunny days in the 70s with nights in the 50s, we decided to go on our first backpack of the fall season; my first one since late September of last year! We spent some time on Wednesday packing up, and Thursday morning by 9:15, we were in the car and on our way to the woods.
We decided to head into the Quehanna Wild Area; more specifically, the site we love, in the back-country. We've heard and seen elk there; we've heard the coyotes howl. We were ready for a wild time, and boy, did we get one!
By shortly after noon, we had arrived at the back-country site in the place we call the Valley of the Elk. The ground was covered in elk sign! We took along our friends Alex the Alligator, Tiny Tiger, and Little Bear. We had drinks in our mini-coolers and plenty of snacks. I had made us four B.L.T. sandwiches, and we ate those over the course of the two days we were there.
We heard our first bugle of the night around a quarter to seven in the evening. It was followed by a howl around 7 pm. We spotted a doe and a buck on the hillside across from us around 7:45. And that's about when the bulk of the bugling and howling began, although I have to admit that most of the elk sounds were more like whistles and squeals and grunts than actual full-on bugles.
Around two in the morning, the noises reached a crescendo. We have no idea what was going on, but it sounded like the elk and the coyotes were locked in mortal embrace. We never actually SAW either species, but what a sound show they put on. In the morning, Tiny Tiger (a veteran of quite a few backpacking adventures: see here and here) was a big peevish about the whole thing; how is a tiger supposed to get his rest, with all that racket going on?
There will be more of this story tomorrow, but for now, here's just one photo. Above is a picture of my husband with his backpack and gear on, heading into the wilderness. And me, well, I was right behind him; for whenever he goes into the woods, I will follow him. . . .
The soundtrack is a song from the movie Sister Act, with Whoopi Goldberg and a host of others, singing I Will Follow Him.