Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't see that every day

Guest blog by Trish Milburn

Aunty Cindy is off on another cruise, no doubt enjoying herself immensely. I should have had this blog up earlier today, but I was in the car driving part of the way home from my trip to the D.C. area to do book-related things since my debut book, A Firefighter in the Family, is out in stores this month.

Part of my day was spent driving the Skyline Drive from one end of Shenandoah National Park to the other. I'm a huge fan of national parks, and I visit as many as possible. In addition to having my first book out this month, I experienced two more firsts today -- I took a few steps on the Appalachian Trail, which I want to hike in its entirety someday, and I saw a black bear in the wild. Unfortunately, he about gave me a heart attack. I was rounding a curve when he jumped off an embankment right in front of my car. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him. Silly bear.

So, some questions for you out there in blogland:

1. What animal have you seen in the wild that made you think, "Cool!"? (That's not exactly the four-letter word that came out of my mouth when I about hit the bear today, but since we want to keep this a PG blog, I won't repeat it.)

2. What's the longest trail you've hiked?

3. Does hiking the more than 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail sound neat to you, or do you think I've lost my mind? :)

4. What's your favorite national park?


Tawny said...

LOL Trish- I'd have said bad words too.

I can't recall seeing any wild animals. I'm a total city girl, but know we camped when I was little. My mom said we used to get bears in the campground.

That said, I've only visited Yellowstone and Yosemite (the Y parks apparently) but again, I was little and don't recall much.

Helen said...

Again congrats on the release of your book I can't wait to get it and read it

I think I would have had a heart attack if a bear had jumped out in front of my car, the only animals I have seen in the wild are snakes and kangaroos snakes I run from and kangaroos I just like to watch from a distance because they can be dangerous as well they have really strong legs that kick hard oh and I have been followed home from school by an elephant that escaped from a circus that was scary when you are only 6 years old.
As for National Parks we have some lovely ones here in Australia and have done short walks thru them but not long ones I am nowhere near fit enough to do any long hiking trips but if I was fit I would love to.

Have Fun

Anna Sugden said...

Wow Trish! I'd have cursed a bit too!

But, I'm envious too - the one animal I've wanted to see in the wild (from a safe distance) is a bear.

I love seeing animals in their natural habitat - whether it's a roadrunner in AZ, dolphins leaping off the coast of NJ, whales in Alaska, even raccoons in our back yard! I could do without the skunks, but that's another story *g*

I love the Skyline Drive and Shenandoah. And no, you're not mad. If that's what you'd like to do - go for it!

One thing I'd kind of like to do is go to Antarctica and see the penguins. Except for the long boat trip, the cold and the vast expense! And I'd love to go to Australia and see all your wildlife ;)

Cassondra said...

Hey Trish!

OMgoodness, I bet I know what word you said, and I'd have said it too. Really loud! Glad you did NOT hit it. That would have been a bad day. Messed up car, messed up bear, hopefully not messed-up Trish, but it would have been a possibility too. :0(

I've seen MOST American wild animals in the wild--if you can count parks as "the wild" which is dubious because they're really not very afraid of people in the parks and their behaviors are a little altered.

I have seen the tail end of a grizzly as it disappeared into the woods (lame sighting I know). I've seen black panthers in Florida (and they are rare) and gators and I've seen black bears and little brown bears in the Smokies. All kinds of deer-type animals and I'm a bird freak, so I love seeing those as well.

Hmmm. Which park--that's a tough question, even though I haven't seen that many. I like Mammoth Cave a lot because I live close and know it best. Unfortunately it, like all other National parks, has become very crowded of late so the actual cave experience is not as good as it used to be. But the outside part--the hiking--is still fantastic.

I guess that would compete with the Smokies as my fave because they're so beautiful. I liked Yellowstone's rugged beauty, but I felt a little out of my element as I grew up with "smaller" mountains and more deciduous trees. I know the plants and trees and wildlife of the "old" mountains, but in the Rockies, I'm not very familiar and feel a little out of place.

Okay this probably makes no sense.

I've always wanted to hike the AT. Was planning on actually doing it in stages at one time, but now as I've grown older, I realize I probably will NOT do that. No longer have the stamina of body or mind to pull that off.

Trish Milburn said...

Tawny, I LOVE Yellowstone. My sister used to work there, so I've been there three times. I've yet to make it to Yosemite, but I want to the next time I'm in California.

Helen, I've heard that about kangaroos. And what a story about the elephant!

Anna, I'm fascinated by Antarctica, but I think I'd just turn blue and freeze to death. Very interesting to read about though. You've seen a roadrunner -- how cool.

Cassondra, yes, I'm happy for all involved that I avoided the collision. I don't think I would have gotten hurt unless I veered off the embankment. He/she wasn't a very big bear -- a sub-adult. That's about all I noticed about the black blur. :) Wow, you've seen a lot of wild animals. I saw lots in Yellowstone I'd not seen before -- moose, pika, elk fighting during rut, etc. -- but the grizzly wasn't one. Of course, I didn't go into the backcountry. I know what you mean about being used to the smaller mountains, but I LOVE it out west because it's so different.

Jane said...

I saw some cute baby elephants in Thailand. They were so adorable. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was amazing. We saw lava flowing from Kilauea.