10 February 2006

Squirrels Grabbed My Nut Sack

I know how you feel. Posted by Picasa


I went and officially cracked the seal on Hiking Season '06 yesterday with an 8-mile round trip hike up Mount Si. I've done that hike a few times before, but this is my first time doing it during tit-freezing season. Nobody told me that it was still winter up at the top. I checked the freezing levels, which were at something like 5-6k yesterday when I went up, but again - nobody told Mount Si that, and it decided that freezing levels oughtta be well below 3k. No wait - it decided that I personally should freeze every single one of my teats off, and so endeavored to help me in that regard.

Other item of note: There were squirrels. But more about that in a moment.

The first three miles of the trail were unremarkable, save for the fact it was fairly warm by February in the Northwest standards - about 56 degrees. But the last mile to the summit was nothing but hard-packed snow and ice. Were I wise enough to bring along cleats and poles, I would've been just fine. However, I am anything but wise, and therefore spent a great deal of time falling on my ass and grabbing at the branches of saplings as though I were a soul of the damned being pulled from the lake of fire. My lug soles didn't do much on the ice except to turn me into some kind of spastic Hans Brinker, with my arms violently windmilling for all of nature to see.

So I sweat buckets for the first three miles, and then froze for the last mile. Luckily I brought along my wantonly bourgeoise fashion statement of a North Face parka (fully accessorized with North Face gloves) and some ice goggles that proved to be indispensible. Nothing sucks worse than snowblindness, and the weather was perfect for it - nothing but ice below and not a cloud in the sky above.

At the summit, I picked out a spot that was in the sun but protected from the wind, and got out my bag of trail mix and a Power Bar and sat down to have a snack and drink in the glory.

Then the shakedown started.

First it was the mountain jays who started eyeballing me. I made the mistake of offering them some nuts, which they eagerly snapped up straight from the palm of my hand. Then the squirrels came around, snapping their tails and barking. So I figured what the hell, I might as well give them a little something. Well, as you know with squirrels, it's "give 'em a nut and they take the whole sack". Suddenly I heard a shriek from behind me ("Nuts are for the people, man!"), and in a trice I had squirrels caroming off my back while the jays attacked from the air. So I did the manly thing, which was to scream like a girl and wrest my nut sack from the bushy-tails' grasp, and then scamper away flailing my arms. The hike down pretty much consisted of me tobogganing down the trail on my ass to the hoots and jeers of tiny rodents.

This reminds me of a quote from the movie "The Game", starring Micheal Douglas and Sean Penn, which is: "they [bleep] you and they [bleep] you, and just when you think they're done [bleep]ing you, that's when the real [bleep]ing starts!" - which is to say that nature is all fine and good until it starts to be all natural and shit. And by "natural" I mean when squirrels start kicking my ass. Bears I can handle. Cougars, sure fine. They got books on that kind of stuff. But squirrels? They're everywhere, man! What if a bear could break into a hundred tiny bears and grab your nut sack? Think about it. It's truly frightening. And what are squirrels but tiny, tiny bears? I rest my case.

So I went down to REI and bought a six-gallon tub of squirrel repellent. Hopefully that'll take me through the rest of the season. However, if I should be taken down by a gang of squirrels in the North Woods, please tell people at my funeral that it was a gang of tiny bears instead.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.



T K Wilson said...

Which reminds me I need to get a copy of that very fine album.
What the fuck ever happened to Patagonia you weasel?

An old Yupik woman (maybe Ballassa Nikolai?) told me to wear a pair of old wool socks over my boots for the ice. She was probably trying to get this "gussaq mudderfucker" to crack his skull.

If you have a pair of boots that are specifically for hiking you could get a bag of hex head metal screws and screw one into each of the lugs. Do not however attempt to wear these fuckers on Terrazo or somebodies nice hardwood floor as it could cause sudden death.

luke keen said...

them bastarsd suirrerls!! yuo know what they are? Rats with good PR agents!
fluffy tale? aww cute!!

the mother fuckers have wiped out most of our indigenous population of Red Squirrels who are Properly Cute!! (go find a pic to reassure yourself)

but what's the deal?
some of these grey Squirrels are BLACK!!!
live the devils minions!
wrong-uns! i tell ya!