I’ll Meet You at the Gator, But First I Gotta Get Around This Turkey

I texted that to Tracy yesterday afternoon while we were both hiking here at Choke Canyon State Park in south Texas. He was up ahead, and he’d found an alligator in a shallow part of the lake, so he texted me a heads-up in case I wanted to see. I did!

In my rush, I ran up against a wall of turkeys who just would not let me pass. Is it okay to shoo wild turkeys?

After one glorious first day here, we’ve had shitty weather, including a thunderstorm one night that I thought would be the death of our trailer. The constant lighting lit up the inside, and my weather app kept telling me that reported lighting strikes were happening 0 miles from my location.

And we were right under a huge live oak and a mesquite.

The trailer came out fine, but the storm was the death of our tent, my bike, and something to do with our Starlink setup. Tracy has the dish working now, connected to the old router, but everything needs attention.

The animals here keep distracting us. That alligator was one of two I watched for a good long while, as if they were elusive Loch Ness Gators.

I saw bigger and closer ones this past fall in Louisiana, but heck, who’s counting. They’re all impressive.

The turkeys are so plentiful and so used to people that I think I have a handle on exactly how many roam near the campground and what family groups they’re in. Tracy and I will be looking out the window and notice some animal in the field. Is it the doe and her fawn? The big gobbler with his hens behind him, or the two rogue gobblers? How about that one hen who oddly travels by herself?

Banjo stared and stared at the big gobbler with his hens one morning on her walk, not knowing what to think but unwilling to let it out of her sight. She stood rooted to the ground, and I had to drag her away, up until another dog came along and barked, which I guess signaled that turkeys are to be feared. Banjo bristled up, lay her ears back, and headed fast back to the trailer, trying to pull me along. Good. I have no intention of getting into it with a turkey.

Later that day, we had Banjo tied to the picnic shelter while we were trying to repair the tent. Thank goodness we’d just put her inside when a new wild thing emerged from the woods. What the heck is that?

A javelina ambled out and tried to grab an orange our neighbors had left on their picnic table. Tracy and I stood on top of our table to get a better view; we’d seen them before but never this close.

This guy was absurdly entertaining. His short little legs moving in fast-motion under his huge, front-heavy body. His fur was thick and rough (that’s one easy way to tell javelinas from wild boar), and he had a lighter “collar” of hair around his shoulders, plus big tusks jutting out from his jaw.

Later, we saw him right by the bathrooms, and again it was a close call. We’d gone over to an empty loop of the campground to shower in peace, so I was the only person in the women’s room when the overhead light went out (it was on a timer). Have you ever been alone in a public bathroom, naked, in the dark?

I said aloud, “Oh shit” and hurried the heck up.

On my way out is when I saw the javelina again, much closer, wandering around sniffing. Until then, in the dark on the shower, my biggest fear had been a serial killer sneaking up on me. Suddenly I was imagining a much worse scenario.

I am so, so glad this beast didn’t wander into the bathroom to see if my bar of soap was worth snacking on. Can you imagine? Being cornered in a shower stall with nothing but a loofa between you and a wild pig?

Tomorrow is our travel day to another state park west of us, which is purported to be even prettier than here. We’re going to take one wild animal with us.

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