The great outdoors

Our neighbor called over the fence and told me to bring our dogs in the house. He scared off a huge eagle that has been circulating our houses for a few weeks. We have seen him in one of the trees beside our yard. The eagle had a party on the neighbor’s lawn, eating a rabbit for lunch. Our dogs are not much bigger than a fat rabbit. They bark more but I am not sure what they would do if Mr. Eagle dropped by. My grandparents lost one of their dachshunds to an eagle way back in the day. I have heard the story since I was a kid, but I never thought it could be a problem up until now. Our dogs walk in and out all day, make sure the cars are parked in the right spot, bark at delivery trucks, chase rabbits and squirrels, make life miserable for people walking by. Now, it looks like we have a bird problem in the neighborhood. I am lucky to spot eagles basically every day. I hang out where they hang out, by the water, in the forest, on mountaintops.

The wildlife and the nature around here are amazing. Gigantic trees, mountains, deep forests, rain forests, water, beaches, trails… We have been here so long I often forget how amazed I felt the first few years. The first time I saw an owl up close, sitting on our deck by the kitchen window, staring into my soul. The first few times I saw coyotes on our street, roaming around and howling at night. The first time I met coyotes when running scared me and can still make my heart skip a beat. Caroline and I had to sprint away from one last summer. He was clearly guarding something and did not want to let us pass. Similarly, the fear when I realized I had been followed by a cougar during a late-night orienteering in the forest. The amazing mountain goats climbing around us when hiking. Last year’s stare down with a bobcat in our neighborhood: I froze, she froze. Bears…they do not like getting close but sometimes they pass your route, or maybe vice versa. You live and you learn and try to not disturb and interrupt their lives and their homes.

With the pandemic we have seen big crowds out in nature, and it is great that so many choose to go outside. Our most used trails are like highways. When you hike, try to pick a trail that is not overused. You share the great outdoors with animals and their babies, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, hunters, etc. Be kind and share the space, be respectful and friendly. If it is very muddy, choose another trail to bike, do not go off trail; leave no trace and make sure to leash your pup.

A few days late, but Happy Earth Day! A little goes a long way, small actions have big results.