" You need bells, or the only trace we'll find is a Nikon lens cap in bear scat," said Dan.
Adherent of Leave No Trace, I move quietly and tread softly. Pack it in, pack it out. Take only memories. Stay on the trails. Even my gear bag is near silent. A few weeks ago, stealthing through Richie Ledges at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, surprised an owl! Terrified both of us as she alighted from the brush adjacent to the trail! Majestic wingspan, screaming as she swooped and circled me before landing in nearby tree to watch me warily.
I've gotten much better about personal safety since a scary near miss at the bog, last winter. I tell people where I am, in real time. Like my son, I now wear keys on carabiner at waist to jingle. Bear spray becoming part of my kit.
This week I was back to one of my Happy Places, Manatoc Scout Reservation, tucked inside the confines of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Off season weekday, no Scouts in residence. Most of my time there, has been summer. I wanted to see Autumn.
Autumn and Scoutless, even the homey familiar is new and intriguing. Shifting light filtering through golden leaves reveals spectacular ravines and views previously obscured. Silence and solitude is meditative. Scoutless Autumn also means the critters are out and about.
Padding quietly through muck and leaves, coyote, deer, and bobcat prints abound. And an odd bird print. Paid no mind to the bird print. Why should I? Great blue heron aviary nearby. Pterodactyl- like flyovers so common as to be unremarkable.
Setting up a shot of undulating sloping long prairie grass against golden leafed birch and blue spruce, The Bird appeared.
Agressive. Screaming. Territorial. Angry. Bird.
I did what anyone else would in a similar situation: I developed a new keen interest in Trail Running! And I learned Turkeys are not fans of rough limestone gravel drives.
" Holey Leaves" is the last image captured before Turkey Trot at Blue Spruce.