Monday, 4 April 2016

C IS FOR CHIPMUNK : A-Z Challenge

Welcome to Day 3 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is:


'Wildlife Encounters'

The following is an edited extract from a travel essay shortlisted in a BBC Wildlife Magazine Travel Writer of the Year competition and subsequently published in Spain.


The best adventures are unplanned and unexpected. A wedding had brought us to Ontario, Canada with no plans beyond toasting the bride and groom.

We were not equipped for a simple ramble, let alone a serious hike to spot wildlife, but – ever optimistic – we decided to visit Algonquin National Park.



It was Fall. In their gaudy seasonal finery, the sugar maples formed exuberant backdrops against the crisp blue lakes. It felt like we had stumbled into a painting by an impressionist on acid.

The park's information centre supplied us with bundles of field guides and trail booklets. We returned to our lakeside cabin and riffled through our booty. The park was home to many animals including black bears, wolves and moose.

We knew that a couple of tourists sans the requisite hiking gear would be lucky to see a chipmunk. So I studied the literature, picked out some manageable-looking trails, and hoped we might see a moose. Failing that, I'd settle for the chipmunk.


Early the next morning we paused outside, transfixed. In the pre-dawn stillness there was an ethereal quality to the landscape. The moon cast a lambent glow over the lake, like spilled mercury.



In yielding darkness we found our chosen trail - The Whiskey Rapids. We struggled down a steep slope, tripping on tree roots, skidding on autumn leaves. On one particularly close tumble we flushed our chipmunk. He scolded us indignantly before skittering down the trail, tail aloft.




See you tomorrow - I'm heading in an easterly direction. Can you guess where and what the next animal will be?



If you want to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click HERE



54 comments:

  1. Your description of Ontario is perfect. I was there two years ago in autumn visiting my son, and actually saw a chipmunk on my walk to the shops! And a black squirrel in their garden.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Lizy. It's my favourite time of year to visit. The chipmunk on my leg was a wild one, but had clearly learned to beg for treats.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a delightful picture you painted wit your words.It sounds and looks amazing.

    'The Choir', a short story with 2 neglected words

    ReplyDelete
  4. Right country... wrong animal!
    East? Quebec? I'm afraid I can only manage deer or duck... weak, I know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, right country. Algonquin is in Ontario in eastern Canada - not far from the Quebec border. (Nothing wrong with deer or duck :) )

      Delete
  5. Beautiful country! The first and last time I saw a chipmunk was in Yellowstone. It ate out of my hand. I was thrilled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They'r such endearing little creatures, aren't they, Bish?

      Delete
  6. Beautiful country! The first and last time I saw a chipmunk was in Yellowstone. It ate out of my hand. I was thrilled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They must be one of the bravest squirrels - I've never been able to coax red, grey or black.

      Delete
  7. Cute photo of you and the chipmunk. I also want to know if you ever saw that moose! Canada looks gorgeous in Autumn. Love the colors. My guess for D is deer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was ridiculously thrilled when I climbed up my leg, Karen.
      Another 'deer' guess - you'll know all tomorrow!

      Delete
    2. Oops - I meant I was ridiculously thrilled when IT climbed up my leg.

      Delete
  8. That was very well-written. Enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - the original version was shortlisted in a BBC Wildlife Magazine competition. :)

      Delete
  9. I love chipmunks! :) Great photo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're great little animals, aren't they?

      Delete
  10. I love chipmunks! What a special photo. Thanks for sharing and I hope you are enjoying the challenge!
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Scarlett, thanks for dropping in. I'm enjoying the challenge very much... and really enjoying interacting with so many interesting new people. Hope you'll check out my blog again tomorrow.

      Delete
  11. I love your description, Susan. You seem to have so many stories to tell that I don't think I could ever get bored of them. D for Dingo, donkey or duck?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Eve. I've got quite a few more up my sleeve! Three guesses, eh? You'll find out tomorrow if one of them is right. :)

      Delete
  12. Susan, you have a way with words :) This is majestic, and brilliantly told. I'm so glad you got to see the chipmunk, too!

    Thanks for the visit over at Life In Dogs — and kudos to you for giving a home to a rescue dog! Adoption is the central spoke on which rescue runs, so on behalf of all the strays and homeless out there waiting to be taken in, thank you for clearing a spot for the next one :) You rock!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, Guilie, thanks for visiting my blog and thank you for your kind words. Hope you'll drop in again to see where I lead you on my wildlife adventures!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Chipmunks are so cute. I loved this write up and the way you described Algonquin made me laugh. My dad was born in Barry's Bay just an hour north of Algonquin. In the 1930's he worked in the logging industry in Algonquin (My dad was 51 when I was born). Did you take the logging trail museum? You would have seen the typical cabins my dad would have lived in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Birgit, I did indeed visit the museum (a few years ago now). I have family in Ontario and have managed to find time to visit Algonquin on several visits. The fall (autumn to non-North Americans) colours blew me away the first time I saw them.

      Delete
  15. Ontario is beautiful. I have an Asgardian squirrel that darts in and out of my various tales: Ratastoskr -- he runs up and down the World Tree spreading gossip between the Mystic Eagle at its top and the dragon gnawing at its roots.

    He can be found maddening Hibbs in HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE.

    He makes me laugh when I write of him.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ah, Norse mythology - a subject of which I know very little. Your squirrel sounds splendid, Roland. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Unexpected wildlife encounters are always magical. I've learned that setting out to look for a particular bird, animal or plant is nearly always doomed to failure. You just have to keep your camera ready and your eyes and ears open for whatever finds you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so true, Linda. The important thing is to take pleasure and delight in every encounter, whether exotic or mundane.

      Delete
  18. Oh! It's so cute! I thought it would be bigger than that... Drongo? Duiker?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Liz - chipmunks are cute and small. Nice guesses!

      Delete
  19. Oh we do have a lot of chipmunks in Canada! Here in the west one has to be careful if stopping for a break while hiking they love to scamper into your pack and help themselves to lunch. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But how could you resist allowing them to help themselves? :)

      Delete
  20. Close encounters of a chipmunk kind. How lovely! :) And Fall looks pretty sensational too.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi, Jo. Whilst all close encounters are exciting - this one was particularly sweet! The sugar maple display in autumn should be classed as one of the natural wonders of the world in my humble opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Beautifully written adventure, the pictures, amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Happy April 4th!
    Ninga Minion @YolandaRenee from
    Defending The Pen
    Parallels
    Murderous Imaginings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Yolanda. Thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for your kind comments. I hope you'll continue to follow my wildlife encounters. :)

      Delete
  23. You are an artist with images as well as with words. I love the lambent light sentence. Wow. I hope you have enlarged the two landscapes and framed them for your living room. As for D...dingo? That would be very far indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your complimentary words, Deb (I do try!). D is now up - hope you'll join me again.

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I used to think that chimpmunks were cute, until I realized how quickly they can empty my birdfeeder! One day I watched six of them take turns at it, filling their little cheeks and then running off. They are still cute ... but this year I'm figuring out how to keep them off my feeder :D

    For D .. I would guess Deer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Tracy - I can only imagine how that must have looked. Six chipmunks scampering back and forth from your birdfeeder!
      Thanks for visiting and hope you'll return to see if your guess is correct. :)

      Delete
    2. Tracy, I can't get to your blog via your Google+ page - can you post a link?

      Delete
  26. When we first bought our house, we had a chipmunk that would come to visit us at the docks every day. My husband kept insisting it wasn't the same chipmunk, but I liked to think it was my little buddy coming to say hi each morning. Beautiful story. Looking forward to more wildlife encounters.

    @WeekendsInMaine
    Weekends in Maine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He he - of course it was the same chipmunk, Karen! Glad you enjoyed my story.

      Delete
  27. Isn't that the cutest chipmunk! Beautiful landscape, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're very high up on the cute scale, aren't they? :)

      Delete
  28. Loved your photos. Loved your post.
    Jo-Ann Carson
    www.lovindanger.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. Loved your photos. Loved your post.
    Jo-Ann Carson
    www.lovindanger.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jo-Ann. Hope you'll drop in again to see what else I have in store this month.

      Delete
  30. This is such a great post! I deeply enjoyed reading this post.

    https://ficklemillennial.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks, Gina. Hope you'll look in again.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm amazed the chipmunk got that close.

    ReplyDelete
  33. So was I - it was a wild one too! :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment!