Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Nebraskan Safari

Oriole at Sandy Creek Campground
May 15

I'm no Ranger Rick.  Wild life has to come up and gnaw me on the ankles for me to notice its presence.  The swath of green between myself and the Platte holds enough biodiversity to guarantee I would be bitten.
Woodpeckers, a type of duck I had never seen before, and a bright orange oriole made up the aerial attack.  A raccoon and a muskrat were among those I met who were reclining in rigor mortis.  Immobile animals in a state of decomposition are easy for even me to spot.
I've seen plenty of dead deer already since my return to the trail, but today brought the first living specimen.  As I rested by the side of Country Road 247 a doe hopped through the field to my south, reaching the road a mere thirty yards from where I sat.  She stared at me for a few seconds, looked both ways for traffic, and went on her merry way, back to the woods lining the river.
On the domesticated front, the dogs here seem to be more docile than those in the east.  The two I met today followed me along their property line, never barking or looking the least bit threatening.  They appeared merely curious.  What is this humanoid organism with the huge purple growth on the backside?
I had extended interaction with only one homo sapiens the whole day.  The Sandy Channel campsite was mostly deserted, but James found me resting by the water and soon was telling his tale.  His father had abandoned their family when James was still young.  He and five siblings were raised by his mother alone.  Yet somehow failure or prison never claimed him.  For twenty years he has run a successful construction company while raising his one son, a navy vet poised to enter the San Diego police force.
What happened in between to save James, to prevent the fate I fear for Junior?  James left too soon, before I could find out, before I could think of the right question to ask.
While I sat in the tent composing this entry, an oriole flew a kamikaze right into the side of my tent.  I wish the answers would come as easily.

16 miles/2089 total miles

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