Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, May 20, 2016

Endangered Species?

This may come as a surprise to some of my faithful readers, but...  I confess...  I wasn't always the nice person I am today.  (cough, cough)....   In my last blog I wrote a little about birds passing through...  how here in the Ohio River Valley birds that we see only for a short time in the spring or the fall, we simply don't see the rest of the year.  If you look at..  say, the Sibley's bird map that accompanies each bird listed, you'll see that where our farm is here in Ohio, there's a thin strip where birds like the Rose-breasted Grosbeak for example, just don't summer here.  I've seen them in West Virginia (my very first siting was at Seneca Rocks when I was on a college field trip)...  and I've seen them north of here.  But you have to keep your eyes peeled to see them as they're passing through my particular area here.

Now..  back to the story....

Back in the 1970's,  I was vacationing in the fall...  heading up to Maine (I REALLY wanted to see a moose) and on into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  As it happened, that's how this Appalachian hillbilly gal found out she got seasick... crossing the Bay of Fundy on the ferry.  

This was with my first husband...  the one who carried a whole arsenal of weapons no matter where we went.  Yes, I read with trepidation the signs saying no weapons as we drove through Massachusetts, but I kept my mouth shut and on we went.

I should add here that at this time I worked for the State of Ohio...  for the State Park System.  Actually I worked in a State Park that was close enough I could bicycle to and from work quite easily.  Even though it was a seasonal job, I knew the manager and the rangers...  the maintenance guys...  the whole crew.  (which probably numbered around 6 in total... it's a small park).  My kids were great friends with the Park Naturalist and attended all the park programs.  So did I....

Back to the story...  So...  here we are... in Maine... heading into New Brunswick.  Woweeee...  I'm loving it...  seeing places I've never been...  seeing sights I've never seen.  And...  of course while I'm watching for moose, I do check out the roadkill.  Hmmmm....  they have porcupine up here.  We sure as heck don't have these guys in Ohio.  Well now...  apparently they are somewhat nocturnal...  why else are they roadkill we see in the morning, but never see a live one?  Hey...  this one looks almost intact!  

My little ole pea brain gets to working...  Let's scoop up this nice, quite obvious porcupine...  put him in the cooler and take him back to Ohio......  Then...  I'm going to lay him down on the park road..  let's see...  the one by the beach where he won't get smooshed real soon and if I put him down early enough of a morning the park rangers will be the first to drive by...  and... hmmmm...  a porcupine in Strouds Run State Park in SE Ohio?!?   No Way!   Ike, one particular ranger, was nobody's favorite.  He was a jerk...  maybe I'd get lucky and he'd find this guy.

Yep......  into the cooler.  We took our roadkill porky all the way through New Brunswick and into Nova Scotia...  then about week later headed back into the Maine.  I get to thinkin'.....  get a little worried......  for some reason those guns we were carrying didn't even bother me...  but what if Border Patrol checked our cooler?  How in the world do you explain you're carrying around a dead porcupine?

Somewhere, before we headed back into Houlton, Maine, I got cold feet and ditched my little hitchhiker along the way.

I don't even remember if the truck got a cavity search crossing the border...  all I remember is that I'd lost my opportunity to play a joke on my ranger friends back at the park.

That was about 40 years or so ago....  I never did see a moose on that trip (finally saw my first moose on our Alaska trip in 2001)....  but when folks talk about what you're likely find in various places, whether it be birds, flowers or whatever, I always think of my porcupine buddy....  who would have created a real stir in this part of Ohio.

That's All For Today!


  1. We had porcupines in western Pennsylvania where I grew up and spent about half my life. We did a lot of camping and were told never kill a porcupine because if someone was lost in the forest and needed something to eat, that that was one animal they could catch. Don't have any where I live now.

  2. I like your sense of humor. I can see you looking through the trees at some poor park emploee finding the dead porcupine. Another big part of your post is guilt. You could do a whole post on guilt!

  3. Pretty funny. A shame it didn't come to pass.

  4. I wouldn't never guess anyone would carry a porcupine in a cooler or anything else. What a hoot!

  5. Thats a great story too bad you were not able to bring the porcupine back would have caused a fuss.
    Good thing you did not get caught with the guns crossing the border, van't imagine what would have happened.

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