Fire II – Going Home

Even though we are locals, we had underestimated how far the fire had come to some of the places we love to go hiking in. So it was a bit of a shock to be confronted with a closed park and this sign at the entrance road to the park.

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As we could not drive up to the trail head, we stood there on the road beside our car for a while, looking up at the charred hills.
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As we learned later, firefighters had started a tactical fire in the Deukmejian Wilderness to protect adjacent residential areas and some structures in the park. This measure was a success, but the park itself suffered severe damage. A lot of animals, amongst them deer and coyotes, fled the fire and came down into the residential areas – and suddenly we saw some of those on their trek “back home.”

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These three deer just wandered out from a garden onto the street. They stopped about 10 yards away and eyed us. Then the largest one of the three ventured forth, up the hillside.

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The other two stood very quietly, waited a while and then tentatively started to follow their mate.

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The only reason imaginable that the deer did not bolt when they saw us must have been that they were exhausted and in a certain way shell shocked. First the race from the fire, then living in a residential area for a few days – they were ready to go back home, no matter what.

They climbed the hill and disappeared out of sight. But where to? We could see quite clearly that the top of the hill was fenced off with a chain link fence. So we, too, crept up the hill, much more slowly and not as graceful as the deer and we found them.

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Two of them were resting in the shade, the third one must have gone further to check out how matters stood.

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The final amazing discovery was the way they must have managed to get past the fence (with barbed wire on top):

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They surely slipped back in underneath the fence. Try doing that with antlers on your head!

But as we all know – there is no place like home and you do what you have to do to get there.

8 Replies to “Fire II – Going Home”

  1. Yes, that’s what we thought – poor things. It gets to you to see such beautiful, healthy wild animals so near by purely due to the fact that they are “displaced.”

    I do not even want to think about those who did not manage to get away. Nature is harsh, yes, and living in the wild is not like the want to make one believe in “Bambi” – still, I feel saddened thinking about those animals who died.

    And yet, it was an amazing moment meeting those graceful animals.

  2. Speaking of wild animals, as we were also on Konnichi Wa, Ya’ll, deer can be quite dangerous, especially rutting bucks. They have actually attacked and killed people. So, it’s always a good idea to keep one’s distance. The daughter was running in the neighborhood, years ago, at dusk, rounded a corner, and came face to face at about 10 ‘ from 3 deer, all does or yearlings. She screeched to a halt, and ducked behind some shrubbery. She finally peeked carefully out, and they had retreated. But I was pleased she had sense enough to be respectfully fearful. They are not Bambi. Here, in the Hill Country of Central Texas, we have a large population of white tail deer. They are a real menace on the roads. We actually saw one on an overpass on a toll road in Austin. The poor thing was having trouble figuring out how to get away. But, it’s very dangerous. At different times, in different vehicles, our son has actually had deer run into him! Twice. Dented up the side of his car, too.

    Once, I had to drive a victim home at 2 a. m. The drive was about 12 miles, but on a two lane road that is notorious for deer. I think I went 30 the whole way, even though the speed limit is 55. I was right to be wary, too. We saw at least 10 deer on the sides of the road in various places. They are just so unpredictable. I think I saw that many or more on the way back, too. They usually are out in larger numbers at the full moon.

  3. Yes, I have had accidents with deer too. In broad daylight on my way to work. Plus, I can’t even count the number of pheasants flying in front of my car and ending up dead besides the road. Hares, too. Quite saddening, but what can one do.

    I never came across rutting bucks, but I was very careful around the times when wild boars had their young when jogging through the woods. A peeved Mama Boar trying to defend her young was not something I particularly wanted to meet.

    I always enjoyed the abundance of wildlife in the area in Germany where I lived, but that rose did not come without the odd thorn here and there.

  4. Oh, I’d forgotten all about wild boars (we have javelinas here). They are ferocious. Also, wild pigs (domestic pigs that have escaped into the wild and gone feral) are breeding in huge numbers and have really become a problem in this country. They tear up fences, crops, etc. They are every bit as nasty tempered as javelinas. We don’t have pheasants here. They hang out farther north.

  5. True story. The 3 Bobs (my brother Bob, his friend Bob, and friend Bob’s cousin Bob) were hunting in south Texas. The hunting accommodations were, shall we say, rustic. The bathroom was a two seater outhouse. So, two seats, three guys. Every morning there was a rush to the outhouse and one would always have to wait. One particular morning, the two Bobs (not my brother) scrambled out of the cabin, and laughingly told Brother Bob he was out of luck. As Brother Bob told it, the other two Bobs dashed into the outhouse and firmly shut the door. Then commenced a lot of squealing, snorting, and general banging on walls and commotion. Fairly quickly, the door flew back open, the two Bobs came flying out, followed by a most peeved mama javelina, and several piglets. From then on, they shut the outhouse door at night, and checked carefully before they went in there mornings.

  6. That is so, so funny!

    On a related note, but much less cute: When Berlin was still a divided city and sitting like an island in the DDR, large parts of the “hinterland” were no-go zones. Wildlife proliferated there undisturbed for decades. Then the wall came down, the two Germanys became reunited and the former pastoral woods saw invasions of people.

    Now we all know that wild boars (all pigs, actually) are very intelligent animals. Apparently the elder of the tribes got together and decided on a plan, which was to move to pastures greener and quieter. As I said before, pigs are clever, but rather unschooled in geography – they chose the wrong route and marched on Berlin.

    Suddenly the outskirts of Berlin saw a huge invasion of wild boars, working their way through fields, parks and gardens, until some of them finally arrived on the Kurfürstendamm. (That would be the equivalent of wild boars on Times Square.) The boar invasion became such a pest that the city of Berlin put out a cry for help to people with a hunting license to help the police hunt down the poor critters and shoot them.

    So they solved the problem – but imagine – wild boars in the middle of a huge, teeming metropolis!

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