A bobcat stands in wait, crouched down, looking ready to attack. A middle aged woman stares the cat straight in the eye. Instead of running away, the woman gets closer. Then closer still. The cat comes nearer.
Then the woman’s runs her palm over the bobcat’s fur. The large creature practically purrs, completely content and absolutely submissive.
We saw a lot of amazingly tame wild animals at the Lakota Wolf Preserve the other day. My friend, Zach, and I went on a hiking trip with a group called Discover Outdoors. Discover Outdoors does just what it sounds like- it takes you on all kinds of unique outdoor trips and adventures. We were with a group of people who had been on other trips with the company, including parasailing and mountain climbing adventures. There are a ton of different outdoor options, even including international travel.
The hike we went on was called “Hike and Howl,” and we started hiking in the Kittatinny mountains of New Jersey, and ended up hiking through Pennsylvania as well. At one point, we could see the Poconos from where we stood. It was quite the beautiful trek. We even crossed over a bit of the Appalachian Trail… something I’d wanted to see ever since I’d read the book ‘Wild’. The main character hikes the Pacific Crest Trail but references the Appalachian Trail and how it’s the more well worn East Coast companion trail.
The tour guide for Hike and Howl, Zach, was fantastic. He showed us edible plants along the way, pointed out different rivers and their names, pointed out all sorts of scenic views, and even taught us how to build a compass using only a stick. You could tell how much he loved nature- he picked up empty bottles left on the trail by others in order to recycle them and at one point even moved a small caterpillar off the path because it would’ve been stepped on otherwise. It was an extremely compassionate trip!
We hiked for about 5 straight hours, stopping only once for a 20 minute lunch. I felt the hike in my calves and thighs, but it was a good sort of hurt, where you feel like you’re getting some really strong, slow exercise. After 5 hours we piled back into the van that brought us to NJ, and drove a few miles to the Wolf Preserve, which was a cool change of pace after the hike. The whole preserve is run by a couple, Jim and Becky Mace, who are extremely passionate about animals and very inspiring. They’re great speakers, LOVE their animals, and will tell you everything you ever wanted to know (and much more) about wolves, bobcats, and foxes. You really feel like they’ll go to the ends of the earth for those wolves.
My friend Zach found the Discovery Outdoors adventures through a website called Vimbly, with which you’re always “seconds away from finding your next adventure” in cities all over the United States. It’s a cool site that has everything from the hike we went on to a “Trapped with a Zombie” adventure to “Pizza, Beer and History” tours.
Discovery Outdoor is a great company, and Vimbly is a great site. I highly recommend you try an outdoor adventure soon!