Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Skunks and Coons and Opossums, oh my!

I am not a trail runner. I don’t own any of those fancy gator shoe dealies to keep the dirt out, don’t own a headlamp, and don’t even have shoes with big “lugs”. Consequently, my knees are trashed from the sidewalks I don’t see much out of the ordinary during my runs and I normally don’t see a ton of wildlife. For the record, it isn’t because I wouldn’t love to trail run, I just have never had the opportunity (read: I’m too lazy to drive to a trail).

Last night I ran my tempo run with a coworker/friend who is getting back into running after taking 6 months or so off. Because we’re so busy at work, we got a late start and didn’t get out on the road until 8:15pm. It was dark and we were running along a creek with lots of high grass and presumably hobos living under the overpasses. I ran the first 2 miles with him at around 9:00/pace and the last 5 miles at 6:50 pace. It was a solid run with minimal knee pain.

What was different about this run was what we saw at around the 1.5 mile mark. We were running along when all of a sudden out of the corner of our eye we saw a huge black creature standing its ground about 15 feet off of the trail. Only when we got closer, we realized that this black animal had HUGE WHITE STRIPES going down its back. We picked up the pace.

About a minute later we came on a family reunion of critters hanging out presumably deciding who to spray/bite/mame next. The culprit? CAT FOOD!! Some genius decided to put two huge cake pans of cat food out in the middle of nowhere. Who leaves cat food out for wild animals!? I suppose they could be leaving it out for feral cats or something but isn’t that also asking for a foaming mouth “love kiss” from a raccoon?

Funny thing about a huge, cat food fed, skunks, opossums, and raccoons – in complete darkness, they look exactly like Gremlins. At least that is what I remember in my oxygen deprived state. Fortunately, we were able to run by them not once, but twice (out and back) without smelling like a mix between the monkey cages at the zoo and a dirty foot.

What is the strangest thing you all have seen while on the run? This one tops the list for me.

21 comments:

Ironman By Thirty said...

I saw a guy running barefoot in a race. That alone isn't that interesting. But this guy had a full gray beard, long gray hair and was wearing a Fred Flintstone-esque toga. He looked like he belonged in a GEICO commercial.

Jill said...

I think I would freak if I saw a skunk - ewww. I've seen big horn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, and a moose once in Yellowstone running on some trails - that one really scared the crap outta me, he was BIG! Oh, and I saw Minke whales in Alaska, but thankfully I didn't just run up on them, they were just hanging and doing their whale thing while I was on the trail next their natural habitat: the ocean!

Zaneta said...

hahaha! That's too funny! I actually haven't seen anything interesting out on my runs... yet! i see the usual rabid dogs, moo moo cows, and road kill... not interesting at all!

track coach and adorable wife said...

Speedo guy. A local hero. Not exactly wildlife but you have to be a little out there to run in nothing but a speedo and mittens in the winter!

Adrienne said...

In Colorado I had to PEE super bad on a long run out in the woods and finally ran down this hill and ducked under a bridge, dropped the shorts and midstream I look up and there is a deer literally 3 feet in front of my face staring at me. I don't know who was more scared. I finished up, pulled up my shorts and walked backwards back up the hill and on my way. Crazy stuff. Glad it wasn't a bear. Glad you got to see some of the Great Outdoors--makes for fun times.

Barefoot Neil Z said...

We once camped in Northern Alberta, in a deserted campground, in a tent. There were cougar sightings and signs all over the place. When I got up in the middle of the night to go to the outhouse, I refused to point the flashlight into the woods for fear of actually seeing the beady little eyes... nature freaks me out at night!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

When I lived in Florida, a giant animal rose to the surface of the bay as I was running by. It was just a manatee but it scared the sh*t out of me!

Emily said...

I see deer all the time when I run on Three Rivers Trail. I'm not sure who's more scared, me or them.

The Sean said...

alligator, rattle snake, 3 bears, mountain lion, marmots, deer and the worst of all- hunters.

Andrew Opala said...

Skunks, raccoons, possums, jack rabbits, red foxes, and deer deer are common in either the very early morning or later evening where I run. And I live in the City!

The most interesting site was a retired Portuguese lady (68 years old) on my street. She was dressed in black (polyester pant suit) like going to a funeral, with a big gold cross on her blouse - JOGGING! I have seen her 3 times already - so I'm guessing the first time she was NOT late for a bus!

Greg said...

Recently saw a testy copperhead snake, which are poisonous, in the middle of the trail I was on. I just stood there sucking my thumb and trying to hold back the tears, while a lady poked it with a stick to get it move on. And on labor day, I was the first person down the trial -- didn't see any critters, but I sure did clear about 4 miles of spiderwebs! Afterwards, my hair was was plastered to my head. I got so worried that I had spiders nesting in there that I shaved my head!

AZ said...

Guy playing a guitar on a park bench at 4 AM? Okay, not too odd.

Runners Fuel said...

It's a good thing you didn't get sprayed by the skunk!

kilax said...

My grandma totally feeds the 'coons in the backyard. ;) We like watching them.

The strangest thing I have seen is that guy running naked (had on shoes and socks).

I am having knee pain too. What do you recommend?

BrianFlash said...

I had a bald eagle sighting this weekend which was pretty darn impressive!

Kimberly said...

I would so freak out if I saw a skunk - mostly because the dog would try to eat it and then I'd get sprayed. Anyways, somehow, in the middle of Indiana, we saw a scorpion. Nuts. We also see lots of beavers and squirrels.

Luke said...

get a pet gizmo to take care of the gremlins.

Jess said...

Dammit, I left a comment and I think Blogger ate it. Oh well, just know it was fabulous.

Teamarcia said...

I've seen tons of wildlife including a veeery long black snake with a bright yellow racing stripe that still has me traumatized, but you've got me beat with the hobos.

Spike said...

The Redhead and I passed a baby skunk once, very early in the morning. It was funny because we had no idea what it was until we were on top of it...the next quarter of a mile was a quick one.

Kathy said...

Croc/cayman/alligator - not sure WHAT we have down here but snappy jaws and I turned around quickly and headed back. Iguanas ALL the time, hermit crabs, a deer once (very rare here), coatimundi, snakes, and crabs. I have jungle on one side and the Caribbean on the other. Frequently see turtle tracks.