March 10th, 2008

catastrophe - fuck yes!


pantsnotneeded and I went hiking out at Congaree National Park today, and ended up doing TEN AND A HALF MILES. Holy fucksticks. We hauled ass pretty well, too, clocking in at 3.5 hours versus the 5.0 hours estimated on the map.

But more importantly - we saw a freakin' WILD PIG on the trail...! This guy was RIGHT ON THE TRAIL and eyeing us a little belligerently. He's a bit bigger than he looks at first glance in the picture; I'd say about lower-thigh-height on me (I'm 5'10) and built like a little freaking tank. When he skittered irritably a couple times in the underbrush you pretty much felt the impact from the hooves; I'd say he was probably somewhere between 80-100 pounds. At first we thought he was a wild dog - the sun was in our eyes - and I thought "man, that dog has his head awful low... that's not good..." and then I heard ripping, tearing noises as he tossed his head a little and thought "that's REALLY not good" before realizing that it was vegetative ripping and tearing, not meat, then I got a little better look at his outline, and Chris and I pretty much simultaneously realized "that's not a dog."

(click for higher res)

Neither of us had ever encountered a wild pig before, and truth be told I might almost have preferred the dog - I know how to fight a dog; fuck if I know how to fight a pig. They don't seem to likely to present themeselves for a knee to the jaw, or as likely to be fazed by it if you did... but, you know, basically when it comes down to it anything smaller than you generally knows it and would prefer not to get hurt, so in the end I just sorta walked up slowly talking to the pig so he'd know I wasn't trying to sneak up on him. Worked well enough, he was way more concerned with Chris sneaking by while I took pictures than he was with me taking them.

(click for higher res)

Later on, we saw a ton more of them to one side of the trail or another - usually entire sounders, most of them noticeably smaller than this guy. The last sounder towards the end of the day had a couple monsters in it, though, including one big all-black boar who looked to be pretty easily half again the size of our friend up there.

At one point, I also saw a freaking ENORMOUS white-tail deer go bounding across the path 40 or 50 yards ahead of us, but he was long gone before I could even think about trying to get a picture. Chris was looking off to the side and never even saw him.

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