This is the fourth episode of “I wish I had a buddy”.
I spent a good portion of the fieldwork for my thesis alone. I was working long days, and I didn’t have the resources to pay for someone to come with me all the time. I did wrangle friends to help when I needed an extra hand, but I couldn’t really ask for the entire time commitment that I needed to be there.
So there I was, in the middle of an extremely snowy winter. I had to drop off a bunch of equipment, and I was trying to get as much done as I could with the limited daylight. I did have the good sense to at least get out before dark. I had snow to contend with (more than 2 feet - more than enough when you have short legs), so I had snowshoes and was pulling a sled with all my stuff.
Once again, I wasn’t exactly in trackless wilderness. I was following a dirt road (albeit snowed over), and my field site was a little under a mile from where I’d parked. If a truck went by on the closest real road, I could still hear it.
The sled was heavy, so I was concentrating more on pulling the sled and keeping the snowshoes straight rather than my surroundings. But I flushed out an extremely large doggy-type creature that ran absolutely silently across my path. I knew its size wasn’t the result of my imagination, because it left extremely large doggy-type footprints in the snow.
I was comforted by the fact that it did run away. Sort of.