Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rain in the Woods

  Living in Washington State, one must learn not to let the rain deter them from outdoor adventuring. Here are some pictures from a rainy day hike. It wasn't just sprinkling either, it was pouring! But it was fun wandering though the woods on a rainy day. The poor weather made the woods seem extra atmospheric and gloomy. A place full of mystery!

   Part of what makes the forest feel full of mystery is that it looks like it could be full of mysterious creatures. The only animals we saw on our hike were birds and a dog that was with a fellow hiker. I love seeing animals on hikes, unless it is a brutal or intimidating animal such as a mountain lion! I am reading a book right now about animals called "Animals Make Us Human" by Temple Grandin. I am currently reading the section on wild animals and I just read interesting facts about mountain lions. Mountain lions are especially scary predator animals to me because I live with an adorable, yet feisty gray kitty. My little guy could do a lot of damage if he tried and he is just a small house cat. I can't imagine what he could do if he had the strength and size of a mountain lion!  
   The book tells the story of a jogger's mangled body discovered in 1991. On witnessing the body, police thought they had an evil serial killer in their midst... the type of grotesque serial killer you'd read about in a disturbing mystery novel. The body  did not look like the careless savagery of a hungry animal. The horrible death looked more thought-out and purposeful. But it turns, out the poor jogger's death was due to a mountain lion. 
   In the past, people thought that mountain lions didn't kill people because it had not happened in such along time. In 1991 when the joggers body was discovered, there hadn't been any known mountain lion deaths for over 100 years. At that point, more people were probably dying in the woods from tripping and falling off the mountain rather than actual mountain lions. But something was changing in the mountain lion community. They no longer stayed in the darkened corners of the forest but were exploring further into common human habitats. The mountain lions behavior started changing because they were learning something new. They were learning that humans could be prey. According to Temple Grandin, it is our behavior that is leading to the mountain lions change in behavior. We are acting like prey when we go jogging through the woods. People use to walk in the woods, but jogging in the woods is much more common now then it use to be. When mountain lions see humans acting like prey (running away), it triggers there predator instinct.  This makes a lot of sense! It shows once again how much our actions impacts animals. And although I will always be nervous about mountain lions, discoveries about their inner thinking like Grandin's actually makes them less scary. They are not malicious when attacking humans, they are responding to some deeper instinctual urge. It is their urge to stalk prey that has led to their survival as a species. 
(Information about mountain lions learned from this source: Grandin, Temple and Catherine Johnson. Animals Make Us Human. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. Print. Pages 247-248)


Erik Bartlam said...

I think I've mentioned this before, but it's so funny to me to see these pictures of things that grow in the damp. All the fungus and moss and just inexplicable *****. We have the same thing in Mississippi...which is hundreds of miles away in a different climate...but, we share moisture and moisture produces these crazy growths.

Autumn Elixe said...

Beautiful pics. The trees and undergrowth look happy.

Laurie Duncan said...

Beautiful photos, and I love your facts about mountain lions. Very interesting! :)

Amber said...

Erik- I agree! It is awesome to see all the strange things that can grow in moist environments.

Autumn- Thanks! It did seem like a happy and thriving forest.

Laurie- Thanks! Mountain lions are pretty interesting animals!