I was out last weekend in Algonquin Park and thought I'd share a story.
First night in the park, I was all set up, sitting by my Fourdog woodstove, enjoying a cup of coffee. I had just finished supper and it was that time of the evening when the light is fading. Dusk as it's called or, as us outdoor types are prone to say, when walking around at that time, "Owww, my eye! Where did that branch come from?".
Anyways, back to me sitting by my woodstove. I noticed a movement out of the corner of my good eye. I saw a snowshoe hare (varying hare to those intellectual types) starring at me, pretty as you please, at the end of my toboggan (which I had conveniently placed, just on the other side of my hammock, in case I needed to trip over something in the middle of the night). I thought to myself, "Self, this is incredible.”, I always see the tracks in the snow, but rarely see them out, and never this close to camp. “Wow, what a special treat!" I then went back to drinking my coffee and contemplating whether I had enough insulation to keep my butt warm that night as I had been working out and it wasn't as big as it used to be.
A few seconds later, I glanced over at the toboggan and the little furball was still there, looking at me, all innocent like. Hmmm, maybe if I moved very slowly, I could get a picture of him. I pulled out my idiot proof camera and snapped a quick shot, hoping the picture would be clear enough despite my hand shaking in excitement. No good. There wasn’t enough light, and on playback, the image was dark. I then proceeded to figure out how the heck the stupid flash was supposed to turn on (did I mention it was an idiot proof camera?). To this day, I'm still not sure what button I pressed, pushed, or mutilated, but up popped the flash. Eureka! I looked over to the hare and it was still there. So, I took a nice picture of it with the flash on, and to my surprise, it didn't run away. “Okay”, I thought, “maybe I could get even closer...”. I crept up on the little feller, using the ninja stealth training I had learned from those DVD's I bought at Walmart. I was thinking: “Maybe it's frozen and can't move?”; except its head followed me as I snuck closer.
I took the shot and in the flash, realized it was chewing on the ropes of my toboggan!?! A mix of emotions overwhelmed me; first, indignation and anger that this wascally wabbit was making a meal out of my gear, then secondly, fear and horror as I recalled that these animals also eat meat and have been known to be cannibalistic! Was this a killer rabbit eating my rope as an appetizer; before the main course... me?!? Did it mistake me for a big, fat rabbit?!? I rushed back to my stove to grab my axe (owww, my other eye! where did that branch come from?); turned around to do battle with this formidable adversary, and as I blinked through the tears in my eyes, I saw his little tail bouncing into the darkness. I swore I heard laughter echoing through the trees. Needless to say, I slept with the axe in my hand that night. As I lay in my hammock, wrapped in my sleeping bag, my last thoughts as I drifted off to sleep were, was I to become a giant burrito for a horde of cannibal killer rabbits...