A Close Encounter

An early morning hike with my friend, Caryn was the start to my birthday celebration. We hiked the blue and yellow trails at Canfield Woods as a light rain fell on the leaves above us. It was wonderful. While we walked along a swampy area, I saw something hop. I stopped to investigate and found a toad sitting next to a log. “Let’s play one of my favorite games, ‘How close can I get?'” I said to Caryn.

I stepped off the trail, nearer to the toad and pulled out my camera. I focused on the toad and took a picture. Then I crouched down, moved in and took another picture. The toad sat still. I moved in even closer and took another picture. Caryn said, “It would be cool if you could take a picture straight on.”

“They don’t usually let you do that,” I replied. Then I moved my camera around to the front of the toad, he didn’t move. I held my breath and took a picture.

I stood up, laughed with delight, and returned to the trail. And the toad calmly hopped away. What a birthday gift!

Next time you are out in nature, watch closely for movement, it often means wildlife. Then you can play “How close can you get?”

Remember: When you encounter wildlife, approach with gentle respect. You are a visitor in their habitat. 

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