Recently I was asked to come up with a short write-up for an outdoor magazine. The title was:
Top 5 things you should and should not do when venturing into the wilds of B.C.
Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, as I’m out of the loop on “normal” hiking etiquette, my article was declined. They said it was out of the realm of the “average” hiker and could I come up with possibly the Top 5 survival items to pack when venturing into the wilds. My number 5 item was a mouse trap!
So here’s my do’s and don’ts of how to have magical encounters with wildlife or at least see them more often:
- Practice invisibility: quiet your chattering mind. (wildlife hears it like an air horn)
- Walk like a cat: slow down – pause- listen – move on. (repeat)
- Switch from tunnel vision to wide-angle: this allows you to catch movement you were once blind to.
- Hike off the main trails: give yourself permission to wander without a goal. (You’ll be surprised at the treasures you’ll find)
- Open all your senses: trust your intuition and let go of logic. (especially in serious situations)
- Fear the wildlife and they won’t fear you: animals sense your energy. (fear can often lead to aggression)
- Stare: when observing wildlife soften your gaze and drop your eyes. (they get that uncomfortable feeling too)
- Wear heavy hiking boots: thin-soled shoes allow you to quietly feel the earth, not send shock waves through it.
- Sound like Santa’s reindeer with bear bells: the birds are already alarming the forest of your arrival.
- Freeze when an animal spots you: start slowly grazing as they are and either back away or move closer. (pretend if you don’t know what’s edible)