Sunday, September 30, 2012

She Was Not So Deer to Me

In the region of North Idaho between the cities of Coeur d'Alene and Kellogg, there lies a beautiful stretch of river known as the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. Here is where an unusual event took place between me and a not so dear deer.
There are many wonderful campsites along the North Fork that offer spacious secluded spots with many of them sitting right on the banks of this crystal clear river. Some of these sites have campground hosts and charge a small fee per night for your stay. Many of the sites are free and this is where I chose to stay for my weekend adventure. The site had great shade, a perfect swimming hole and was off the road enough so I thought I would not be disturbed by any humans so I could enjoy a nice quiet couple of days. Well, it was not the humans I should have been concerned about after all. I never thought a small female deer could be so much trouble.
It all started on my first night while I was having a nice camp dinner of spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. In the middle of my feast, I left the campsite for a minute to get some water from the river. Down at the river, I heard a sound coming from my camp table. I forgot about getting my water and hurried back to my table only to find my dinner on the ground with a beautiful doe munching on the spaghetti. I was quiet and watched her eat the rest of my food and when she was done, she sniffed around the campsite for a while and slowly meandered down the river bank.
This was fun and exciting for me to see and I was thankful for the experience until the next morning. What a great feeling it is to wake up to the sound of a rushing river and the crisp mountain air, I thought, as I began cooking my breakfast of scrambled eggs, potatoes and bacon. The coffee was perfect, the breakfast tasted better than any other and once again, I found myself in the presence of my dear deer friend. With her nose up in the air sniffing the aroma of my cooking, she seemed to have little fear of me. As beautiful as this deer was, I shooed her off so I could actually finish this meal but my shooing did little to keep her away from my table. The doe would not come up to me but she did come within three or four feet with her mouth watering and her lips smacking. I gave in to her hunger and threw her some eggs and potatoes. She gobbled this food down quickly and wanted more. "That's all you get!" I told her and she eventually left but not before relieving herself of some of her pellets on my site.
I love to hike more than just about anything in my life so after breakfast, I set off for a short five mile excursion along a trail that went to a gorgeous mountain meadow well above the river. After two or three hours of some great scenery and rugged terrain, I was back at the campsite ready for a snack and a cool drink. Normally when I camp, I am not too worried about putting my cooler away until I go to bed so I had left it out under my table. Like I said, normally this is fine but not this weekend. My cooler had been tipped completely over with food and ice scattered everywhere. Plastic wrappings that held a variety of different food items had been chewed open and whatever was in them was gone. The only thing left was my raw eggs and bacon. I did not even think twice about who the burglar of my food was. Can you guess?
I was not really upset about this and it gave a great story to tell you. Luckily, there was a small store and restaurant just down the road a few miles so In case you were worried if I starved that weekend, I did not. I did learn a valuable lesson about putting away my food when leaving the campsite. I also learned from a forest ranger that I was not the only person in the area that had been visited by this deer. The doe had been going around to many of the campsites the entire summer and had actually had been given a name from a group of campers a few weeks prior to my visit. The name they chose was Frita, for the deer's insatiable love of Fritos.

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