Not to “Boar” You…

Congaree National Forest

Yep, that’s about as far as we’ll go this way.

Not long ago, when walking at a local park, I tried and failed to run. My legs simply wouldn’t lift high or quickly enough to do more than saunter. It was sobering, and has been weighing a little more profoundly than the usual introduction of symptoms… walking with a cane was better than walking with a forearm crutch, so that wasn’t a change without a silver lining. I still have my vision, so the constant rapid eye movement, diplopia and trouble focusing aren’t without their silver linings, etc.

Congaree National ForestI still love going on walks at the park by our home and at the nearby Congaree National Park. Loathing the sun aside, I love being outside when weather permits. Yesterday we took the dogs with us for a drive to the Congaree after a night of heavy rain; the lower boardwalk would be underwater, which is always fun to look at. There was still the upper boardwalk on which to stroll.

To make a long, mostly uneventful, branch of the story short — after getting to and admiring the flooding on the lower boardwalk, my wife took both dogs and left me resting on a bench to keep going on the upper boardwalk. I let feeling return to my legs, did a little yoga, looked around in appreciation… then got bored. So I got up and started trekking in the direction she had, assuming we’d meet up.

Congaree National ForestI reached the place where the upper boardwalk branches off to Sims trail in the forest proper. I stood at this fork for a couple of minutes… then got bored and flipped a mental coin. Sims trail it was! At first I moved slowly in case she were to pass by the fork while we could still see one another. Then I was certain I’d run into my three companions eventually — Sims trail ended where flooding of the lower boardwalk would begin. So I kept going on the soft soil until I could go no further, stepping carefully around the ever-widening puddles. When the trail ended in a lake and no wife-n-dogs were encountered, I paused just a moment to appreciate the solitude and beauty of my surroundings. Even though I hadn’t found my party I felt lucky to be the only human in an acre or two. Truly, it is beautiful out there.

Then a rottweiler growled near me.

Even had I had my camera, I doubt I'd have paused long enough to actually take this.

Even had I had my camera, I doubt I’d have paused long enough to actually take this.

I looked up and around quickly. It couldn’t be a dog out here… oh, crap. Was I alone in the flooded woods with a bobcat? Oh, wait, that’s just a wild boar.

[insert brief horrified pause]

In a move of instinct which I can now take proper pride in, I in one move spun, threw my cane by its stem, caught it, and began running.

Even riding on the terrified coattails of adrenaline I’m no superhero, so the running really only lasted a fraction of the 1/2 mile back. Once I was certain of not being followed, I slowed… but kept a very brisk pace away from every rustle in the leaves beside me. The upper boardwalk has always been beautiful, but now never looked so inviting nor have I ever been so glad to see guard rails.

Congaree National ForestGive or take a few feet, it ended up being a 2 mile walk instead of our usual mile. And I got to succeed at seeing a wild boar in its natural habitat and running away from said murderous beast. A win in my book! It does occur to me, in hindsight, that “the first rule of a horror movie is to not get separated.

From now on, I don’t think I’ll ever again agree to “staying put.” Although I do choose to view this in a confident light of “Not Being Killed By Nature,” and I am adding it my list of positive traits.

    • Debby LaLima
    • December 31st, 2013

    BUT…you didn’t STAY put…that’s the problem!!

  1. What a scary experience, and written so well that I was scared right there with you. Yikes!

    • Thank you for reading and enjoying — you’ve made my day! 🙂

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