If you come from a place that isn’t particularly forested, there’s something a bit terrifying about going for a walk in the woods. I’m used to landscapes of open fields and rolling hills and grazing animals so a trip into some of the huge woods that exist in New England always feels rather primal and unnerving. There’s always that fear in the back of my mind that I will be surrounded by an ever decreasing circle of wolves, bears or coyotes or that my last words recorded for posterity will be “Is this snake venom….?”
I’m well aware that there aren’t any particularly dangerous woods in the immediate area around where I live and that animals usually try to avoid humans as much as possible (on the off chance that one might be a dentist from Minnesota) but I am a little bit afraid of getting lost. Trails are usually marked with blazes of colour on trees but being colour blind it would be easy to walk around in circles following the red and then the green trail until it gets dark and I am never seen again.
This morning we went for a walk in the Middlesex Fells (about 10 miles north of Boston) and I am pleased to say that I made it out alive (I guess that statement is kind of superfluous as blogging is probably difficult if you have been savaged by a bear). We didn’t see any mammals apart from the lesser spotted cyclist and the only animal I found in the woods was a smallish snake, which a Facebook friend assured me was a garter snake and disappointingly non venomous.
The most noteworthy thing about our hike was that we managed to locate the most unattractive lookout tower in the world. Imagine a watch tower in one of Stalin’s gulags but also covered liberally in graffiti and litter and you will be close to what we found. The view from the top over the forest to Boston’s skyline in the grey murky Sunday morning light was worth the risk of tetanus from the rusty guard rails though. My next challenge is to go to a forest a bit further afield and to try and see some more impressive wildlife without getting lost or eaten.
Do you have any stories of getting lost or chased by wildlife in the woods?