Friday, July 24, 2009


Throughout our trip, Sam and I formed a special relationship with deer. I'd like to think it began with the sighting of a deer atop a rock formation at the Badlands, but I think we truly sealed the deal on Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic Peninsula when we rounded the corner to find ourselves ten feet from a deer eating dinner. We stood still, assuming she would soon spook and run away. Not so. We hung out with this deer for a good fifteen minutes while she nonchalantly munched on ferns.

Five minutes after leaving her, we encountered a group of deer feeding on the slopes. Five minutes after that, we gained a deer as a trail guide. He stayed on the trail about twenty feet in front of us all the way down the Ridge, a good twenty minute hike.

We were never without a glimpse of our deer friends for the rest of the trip. We saw them again in the Hoh Rainforest and on the mountain in Squamish. There were a few that even hung out on the roads on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

The deer were all very friendly until Montana. We had decided that the fastest and most scenic way home across Montana was not the Interstate, but a State highway. The speed limit was 70mph and there were few cars on the roads. This was all well and good until the evening, when all the deer in Montana come and hang out right next to the road. In an hour and a half, we passed no fewer than two dozen that we could see, and felt the presence of many, many more.

We weren't going 70mph anymore and our adrenaline was certainly running high. By the time we got to our overnight spot, my muscles were cramped from gripping the steering wheel and being ready to brake in an instant. We managed to avoid hitting any of our furry friends, but I will be happy not to drive at night in the country for awhile.

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