strange but impactful moments in nature

mrhnau

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Every once in a while, you can observe something in nature, or really life in general, that really sticks with you and makes an impact. Anyone care to share some of those moments?

When I was around 12, I was walking by a pond we had at our house. I watched a very small snake (6 inches or so) being chased across the top of the water by a turtle. The turtle was eating him as he was swimming, and the snake was already missing some of his body. I don't know why, but it always stuck with me. Just seemed like a beautiful yet primal dance.

Also had a vulture fly over my head, about 2 feet out of my reach. Just something about it being so beautiful, delicate and graceful in the air changed the way I look at them and other birds of prey in general.

Anybody else?

MrH
 

Sapper6

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i saw an F3 tornado completely level a town of 3,500 people in less than 5 minutes; then spent the next 10 days searching for survivors, force protection, and clean up.
 

arnisador

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I'll never forget walking around during Hurrican Gloria.

But I can think of some animal moments too.
 

MA-Caver

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Being as outdoorsy as I am I've had numerous of these episodes. All of them humbles me that I am not as powerful or all knowing as I like to think I am.

I don't want to share all of them here at once but probably will pop-in from time to time to share something that someone else's post reminds me.

One (of many) that sticks out is when I was leading a group to a cave. The hike begins as a gradual upclimb for about a mile and a half before one has to turn off the main trail and hike (nearly) straight up the canyon walls (at roughly 70 degrees angle). It was a nice spring morning and (for once) I was ahead of the group, lost in my own thoughts. I paused at a bend in the trail where a healthy mountian stream crosses, to await the others to catch-up. I turned and took a few steps and lo, in the middle of the stream stood a big-horn sheep. He was skinny from the hard winter we experienced but his rack was at a full curl. We were roughly 20-30 feet apart. He stood looking at me and then non-plussed he bent back down to finish drinking.
I turned to my companions who were chatting animatedly and made shushing motions as they approached.
The Ram stood his ground and all of us got a chance to see him. What made the encounter even more special was that as we stepped closer he moved off (as predicted) but surprisingly he followed the exact same trail that we were to take to the cave. More so he would go up about 50 yards and then stop as if to wait for us to catch up. I jokingly at one point mid-way during the hike (in a loud voice) said: "Uhh, we already know how to get to the cave thank you." :)

I was moved by this as I've never encountered these animals at such a close distance, usually they're just brown dots moving along the grey of the limestone.
An awesome morning to be sure. :asian:
 

OnlyAnEgg

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Recently, I was driving to my brother's house to borrow his lawnmower one afternoon. He lives about 10 miles away by highway. I was driving at speed (about 60 m/hr) when this small bird swooped in front of my car, about windshield level.

Now, bear in mind, 60 mph is 88 feet/sec.

The bird flew in from my right and hovered in front of my car long enough for me to see it's colors, which were gray with somewhat lighter gray marks. It was as if time halted long enough for me to take complete notice of this creature, even though it was probably only a split second (or about 44 ft.). Then, the bird flew off to my left. How it held it's position is beyond me; though, I daresay a look into the flow dynamics of air at the front of my car may yeild a satisfactory answer. I'd rather not do the research.

It moved me quite deeply, though I know not why.

Also, a day or two later, I saw a fire column over the morning sun for the first time.

egg
 

Tgace

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I once fell asleep deer hunting and awoke to find a squirrel sitting on my foot......
 

oldnewbie

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When I was about 26-27 yrs old, a co-worker took me on a cave diving weekend. Now this was my first experience diving, let alone cave diving.

The beauty that lay below the ground was humbling, as was the un-earthy feeling of floating....

But that does not compare to being blown away standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon....there are no words.....
 

arnisador

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OnlyAnEgg said:
I saw a fire column over the morning sun for the first time.
What is this?

As to the Grand Canyon, I too was surprised by its impact on me. It was hypnotic. Ditto for the (not natural) Mt. Rushmore.

There's something about a hawk in flight...I always love that site. My wife helped me learn how to pick out the hawks from other birds at a distance and now I always get a kick out of seeing one swooping in the air.
 
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mrhnau

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arnisador said:
There's something about a hawk in flight...I always love that site. My wife helped me learn how to pick out the hawks from other birds at a distance and now I always get a kick out of seeing one swooping in the air.
I grew up in the country, and we had a red tail hawk in our woods. I always loved watching them, especially after they harvested the crops and lots of mice and other rodents were running around in the field.

We also have a bunch of barn owls. Its always a pleasure seeing them leave their shelter at dusk. Can barely see their outlines. Quite graceful.

We also had bats! Try going swimming in your pool and watching bats skim some of the dead bugs off of the water beside you. Rather neat!
 

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I've done a lot of wilderness camping and backpacking, much of it in the Rockies. In doing so I've had my share of encounters with bears, including having one stick his head in my tent in the middle of the night. Still, I've never felt so vulnerable and out of my element as when I was diving in the Fla. Keys a few years ago and had a 10 ft. Tiger Shark check me out at a depth of about 20 feet. I rarely felt genuinely threatened by the bears, but the shark was a real and vivid reminder of where I really stood on the food chain.
 

OnlyAnEgg

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arnisador said:
What is this?
I've been looking for a proper term and/or image. Edit-- And I've found it!

Here's what it looked like, only larger when I saw it:
sp1.gif


The science is here

egg
 

arnisador

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Cool! I don't think I've ever seen the like!

A few other neat places: Devil's Tower, Wyoming--all the more impressive with people climbing it.

The most memorable experience of nature I've had is probably on the roof of a ten-story hotel at 8000 feet in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City (Snowbird Resort). The roof has an open-to-the-air swimming pool and a sauna. Sitting in the sauna, ringed by mountains, looking at the sky...it's like touching the stars. The ring of mountains is amazing.
 

shesulsa

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I've also had many experiences like this but the most recent happened two mornings ago on my front porch. My son woke with croup so we were bundled up in a camp chair in the cold, damp air of the early morning to bring down the swelling of his larynx and were watching the birds flit about between the prolific old growth Doug firs in our yard and neighborhood. We watched a humming bird dart around and of course there were the ever-present bluejays and crows when we saw what we at first thought was a woodpecker. We could only see it's sillouette until it moved to the tree nearest us and we saw that it was a male bluebird - more rare than the bluejay. We were marvelling at the bluebird (my son's first viewing) when two eagles soared low overhead from one tree on our property to a tree across the road. I knew we had a nest in one of our trees, and as my eyes followed them I saw a second nest in the tree they came to rest in.

We've seen hawks and heard them cry and the eagles screech daily but it was such a quiet, majestic moment for them to be only about 20 feet over us - it was just amazing.
 

arnisador

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Honestly, the image of a mother sitting out in the cold with her sick child, trying to heal him, is a striking image of its own.
 

tradrockrat

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Oh my. There are so many stories. I've been climbing, traveling, and camping for my entire life, and have tons of funny, scary and downright bizzare animal stories, but the one story that immediately comes to mind has nothing to do with animals. It is the time I was stranded at the top of a mountain in a lightening storm.

I don't think anything can be more humbling than the realization that nothing - not one thing - around you cares whether you live or die. It was a cold, wet terrifying hour as I tried to get down a mountain face while being the olny lightening-rod around...
 

Martial Tucker

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tradrockrat said:
Oh my. There are so many stories. I've been climbing, traveling, and camping for my entire life, and have tons of funny, scary and downright bizzare animal stories, but the one story that immediately comes to mind has nothing to do with animals. It is the time I was stranded at the top of a mountain in a lightening storm.

I don't think anything can be more humbling than the realization that nothing - not one thing - around you cares whether you live or die. It was a cold, wet terrifying hour as I tried to get down a mountain face while being the olny lightening-rod around...
I've had that terrifying experience too. Nice feeling...Knowing if you go too slow, good chance you'll die. But if you go too fast, good chance you'll die.
All the while, all you can think about is how each step might be your last. Time slows down, and you aren't even aware of being wet, cold, tired, etc...

When it's over, you just look up and say "Thanks for letting me hang out awhile longer"
 

tradrockrat

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Martial Tucker said:
I've had that terrifying experience too. Nice feeling...Knowing if you go too slow, good chance you'll die. But if you go too fast, good chance you'll die.
All the while, all you can think about is how each step might be your last. Time slows down, and you aren't even aware of being wet, cold, tired, etc...

When it's over, you just look up and say "Thanks for letting me hang out awhile longer"
Yeah. And THEN the shivering and cold hits you and the hike out is pure misery. I still remember that day in a haze. I remember that feeling of "hyperfocus" on the little things like feeding the wet rope through the ATC cause it was soaked and binding up instead of looking at the lightning all around me, and I remember looking carefully for every step down, all the while my mind was screaming, "Get downdowndowndowndowndown!" And the funniest part is that the whole time you're sure the rock or storm will kill you, but once your down, the rock and storm become your best friend and you actually THANK them for not killing you!:idunno:


EDIT: I didn't like the feeling of my hair trying to stick straight up through my helmet either...
 

oldnewbie

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Martial Tucker said:
......Still, I've never felt so vulnerable and out of my element as when I was diving in the Fla. Keys a few years ago and had a 10 ft. Tiger Shark check me out at a depth of about 20 feet. I rarely felt genuinely threatened by the bears, but the shark was a real and vivid reminder of where I really stood on the food chain.

How about being down 70 feet, and having a Stingray rub it's underbelly over your bald head....I suppose they itch too....or the Barracuda, or Moray....
Cool stuff!!
 

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I'll never forget the time I was conscious of the end of my sleep and the beginning of my being awake. It wasn't a single moment, but rather a process. In my dream, I was looking at my house from the outside, when I began to hear crescendoing music. As the music faded in, my dream faded out, and I found myself awake in my room with the music I heard, coming from the MP3 player.
 
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mrhnau

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A few years ago I went to the beach. I was out walking at night. I was walking near the shore, and noticed the sand was glowing! It was pressure sensetive. You step, and the sand would glow a bright yellow around your foot. You could drag your toe in the sand and leave a trail of light. It was quite beautiful!

I looked it up later. Found out it was flourescent bacteria. My grandfather was in the Navy in WW2 and would periodically notice at night from his ship. The propellars would churn them up, and they would leave a glowing wake. Quite neat!

Same beach, at two different times I got to witness turtles laying eggs on the beach. Never got to see them hatch, but it was still very beautiful.

MrH
 
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