"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Monday, June 11, 2012

Encounter in Pinckney Recreation Area

Last Saturday I hiked the final section of the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail...that is, the final section I'd never been on. It was a happy and satisfying event for me to complete this 35-mile foot path in lower Michigan. On the way back to my car, I encountered a little raccoon crossing the trail. He was the smallest I'd ever seen. I've had several close encounters with raccoons, in Michigan and elsewhere, but this encounter felt special. He (she?) did not seem anxious to approach me, but neither did he run. In fact, he voluntarily came within about six feet after I sat down in the trail.

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Picture of a Racoon on the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail

Six feet away was plenty close for me too. Raccoons are not pets. This one was very calm however, so I enjoyed the extended eye contact. I know I'm projecting human qualities when I say this, but this raccoon's eyes had an interrogative quality. He seemed as intent on observing me as I on him. Was he hoping I would offer food? I did not. Was he assessing me as a threat? Maybe. I felt no hostility in return, though maybe some timidity. We spent a good minute just staring at each other. And when he finally headed off up the hill, he moved slowly. It was not a retreat. The only sudden moment in the whole encounter had been my coming into view. This encounter was the perfect coda to my hike. 

Picture of a Small Racoon in Pinckney Recreation Area


  1. I'll pass your appreciation on the next time I am on that section of trail ;-)