Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A potentially prickly encounter

I get a thrill when I'm hiking and see a deer, so you can imagine how stoked I was to see this sticky friend alongside the Cheeseman Ranch Trail in Mueller State Park over the weekend. I'd never seen a porcupine in the wild.

There was that moment when I thought, "How close can I get to this little guy and not be within quill range?" As you can see, I didn't push my luck!

The aspens are just beginning to turn. If you're a leaf peeper, plan on heading up to the area in the next couple of weeks. It'll be a beaut.


UltraRob said...

My understanding is that porcupines can't really throw their quills. The just get loose so they come out easily. They may move the tail to hit something close to them.

I remember when I was a kid, finding one out near timberline on Independence Pass. I didn't try harming him but I got a stick and gently poked him to check out his quills. It was easy to just rake quills off his back. He wasn't close to any trees and he didn't try running away. He just tried protecting himself with raising his quills and almost rolling up into a ball so his face wasn't very exposed.

Dena Rosenberry said...

I couldn't remember. I thought they flicked their tails at perceived enemies and released quills. But I didn't want to find out otherwise!

This guy raised up and looked at me and then kept turning his back toward me if I moved. I didn't want to annoy him, so snapped a few shots and walked on.

Very cool, though.

Zen said...

So far this season, the aspens have fizzled. I have seen a lot turn yellow only on the edges before dropping their leaves while others are heading straight for brown. I remember someone posting an article not too long ago predicting poor fall color due to the lack of SPRING rains. Might well be the case. We'll all see.

Dena Rosenberry said...

The state parks Web site is being updated with leaf news. Seems some areas are seeing the turn.

Check it out before you go - so you don't wind up driving aimlessly (though what an adventure!):