On Sunday afternoon I took a walk along the property my Dad farmed for years. I stopped by to visit my dad’s cousin and his wife and to pick up some green beans fresh from their garden. Like everyone else who hasn’t seen me for a while, they asked how my running was going.
Monday morning I headed out for a run, forgetting my pepper spray. I always keep a weather eye out for animals when I run in Southwestern Virginia – not that I’ve seen anything of concern, but my mom and several neighbors have seen a lot of bears in the last few years. Once home from my run, my dad’s cousin called to say that the mailman had seen a bear next to the road in the field between where this picture and the next picture were taken.
Yesterday morning as I headed out for my run I brought along my pepper spray (affiliate link) and opened my GoPro selfie stick (affiliate links) to full extension to use as a weapon if necessary. Ha!
I had a couple of moments of panic during my run when I quickened my pace and felt my heart rate climb higher than it normally is during an easy pace run. During the first incident, I heard leaves and twigs crunching loudly in the forest right next to where I was running – a sound was much louder than a squirrel would make. I nervously looked over my right shoulder to see a black………………………….. cow walking parallel to the road.
The second incident happened when I flushed a deer out of a spring where it was drinking. A thicket of bushes separates the spring from the gravel road and neither the deer nor I realized the other was there until we were beside each other. The deer thrashed like a puppy trying to gain traction on a slippery floor, crossed the road right in front of me, and then gracefully jumped a fence and ran into the woods on the opposite side of the road.
I returned home safely, much to my mom’s relief, and I only have one more run scheduled before I drive home on Sunday. I’m going to be meeting a friend tomorrow to run at Hungry Mother State Park in the Jefferson National Forest, but since that’s a heavily populated trail, I doubt we’ll see any bears…
Stay safe out there, and if you see a bear, take a picture for me!
- Have you had any wild animal encounters on or off the running trail?
- Do you carry pepper spray when you run or hike?
- Would you have gone out on that run after hearing about the bear?
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