This story is a week old, but for some reason it didn't really cross my mind as worth telling on the blog until today. Last week the family and I went camping at Mistletoe State Park and I took K and E for a little hike. The hike was fine. The baby backpack wasn't as well designed or fitting as the pack I took backpacking with Mickey, so it was more uncomfortable than my heavier hiking pack on a much shorter walk, but it wasn't that big of a deal. K started enjoying herself after catching her stride and despite almost quitting on me on the first and only stream crossing, she got excited about trying it again on the way back (so much that she was planning our return to make sure we crossed it again).
None of the actual hike was all that noteworthy, however. Instead, it's what happened behind the ranger station while I was waiting for K that makes for an interesting story. I already had little man strapped to my back and as usual he was silent. He loves going for walks outside. He's usually so amazed by what he sees that the usual running commentary of "dah" or "wuh dah" that accompanies his seemingly endlessly pointing left index finger is shushed to the point I can only hear his breathing as he strains around the side of my head to get a better view of what's coming ahead. I walked to the section of the trail that connected all of the park's trails behind the ranger station and stood looking around trying to decide in which direction we needed to go to get to the head of the Rock Dam Trail. Then something bumped me from behind. I turned to look and there was a gray squirrel sitting on his haunches looking at me. That was a little strange, I thought.
Then the little bastard charged me again, slamming into my ankle. I'm not used to being attacked by these dastardly little rodents. I'm more used to them running in terror from my 6'3", nearly 250 lb. frame. I think they can smell the meat of squirrels long passed that I killed and ate as a kid and know that I am their predator and not their friend.
This one apparently had a sinus infection. As I scurried away from my attacker, I noticed that he just scooted a few squirrel-strides away and returned to glaring at me. I started to back from my tiny nemesis and he charged again. This time I kicked the little jerk and he went skidding a few feet away. My mocking of Chris for beating up a mocking bird to save his dog crossed my mind as I realized I'd just gotten into a fight with a squirrel. Chris, please accept my apology at this point before you move on.
I thought this was the end of the skirmish. The squirrel had run away from me for the first time, so I just walked a couple of yards away from it down the path and resumed waiting for K to catch up.
Then the squirrel attacked me again. This was getting a little creepy. I have to admit I was getting a little freaked out. What if this thing was rabid? I've never heard of a rabid squirrel. Most rabid animals eat squirrels and would have killed the thing in the process of infecting it. Maybe it was just protecting a litter of its young in the tree near where it had first attacked me. Whatever it was, my amusement and irritation was starting to turn into the first intimations of fear. I was tired of being made a fool by an animal that possessed less mass than my foot, so I jumped a ditch and decided to wait across the gully from this mad mammal.
It didn't work, the squirrel leaped the ditch and was coming for me. I grew tired of putting up a fight and ran back up the hill, E strapped to my back. Luckily, K walked around the side of the building just in time to see the squirrel leaping the ravine and chasing me up the hill so that she actually saw enough to back me up on the fact that I indeed was being attacked and not just imagining things. The whole thing reminded me of a certain scene from a certain movie. Roll the clip!