Saturday, February 2, 2013

When You Need A Lift

I was feeling a little flat lately and needed something to get energized again. What better place to do it than among critters who like people who feed them? So I took a jaunt up to Sequim, WA to the Olympic Game Farm where hands-on means exactly that, except maybe to the Kodiaks, timber wolves and tigers. I hadn't been up there in awhile.

Armed with a couple of loaves of wheat bread and the truck's sideview mirrors pulled in, I ventured down the roads and was immediately accosted by the llamas, yaks and zebras, none of whom have ever brushed their teeth. Peacocks were everywhere, as usual, just starting to feather in for the warmer weather.

Then it was to the bears. All but one were napping. The loan actor was waving and trying to be cute in order to get the bread that you had to throw at him over an electric wire, which he respected immensely. It is said that bears have poor eyesight. If that's the case, how come he can catch a slice of bread in his mouth at twenty feet? Maybe he had his contact lenses in that day.

Next it was off to see the wolves, cougars, tigers, bobcat, racoons and fox. They are all in enclosures that don't allow you to feed them, but if they were to get out, they would have no problem feeding on you. One of the bigger cougs was pacing back and forth sounding more like a puddy cat than a big ferocious predator. I've heard them when they scream and that certainly wasn't it!

Finally, it was out into the area where the buffalo, elk and fallow deer roamed. Sure enough, here came the buffalo. The ticket lady warned me about them. They were just coming out of rut and might be a little fiesty. I was ready. I just kept the truck moving and received only moderate slobber-fication. Their tongues are long, sticky and purple and they don't mind wrapping them around your hand as well has the bread. You don't realize how big the bulls are until you see that they stand taller than your side window and give you "the look."

The fallow deer were dainty eaters, but they had a definite chain of command. The bucks ate first. Period. Everyone else got what was left over.

Then came the elk. Beautiful animals. They've got snouts softer than a baby's butt. The bulls haven't started growing their racks yet, which is a good thing, otherwise the truck would've been skewered. I can honestly say that I had a full elk head and the better part of two noses wedged in my window treasure hunting for bread. I've never had a bull elk lay his head across my substantial belly before and let me pet it, although I know it had ulterior motives -- the bread. It was peaceful in an odd sort of way. If I would've stepped out of the truck, I would've been crushed by the size of those guys and girls. A couple of them were already kicking at each other getting in line.

I talked to the lady in the gift shop afterward and she was giggling. "We thought we were going to have to come out and rescue you."

All I was thinking was that my inspiration was back and this had been one of the better ideas I'd had in a long time! It's no wonder that the indigenous people held these animals in high regard. They're magic!


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