Rabid Ninja Squirrels?

It is 82 degrees outside.  The boys are in various stages of undress, jumping over the sprinkler in the front yard and occasionally pausing to gnaw pieces of watermelon down to their mottled green rinds.   I should be doing something productive like vacuuming or laundry but I have very much missed blogging the past several days while my mom was in town visiting.  I thought I would tell you about a trip we took to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

We rolled into the parking lot around 10 am and were cheerfully greeted by this sign.

Nisqually Sign

I texted Husband, who was at work, a picture of the sign and wrote In case we don’t come back you know what happened.  One can never be too careful.

He responded:  Oh my!  So while you’re backing away I wonder if you’re supposed to maintain eye contact with the squirrel or avert your eyes…  That man asks some good questions.

We paid our three dollar entry fee and everyone except Carter, who adamantly insisted that he did NOT have to go, used the bathroom before heading out onto the walking trails.  Or we tried.  The beginning of the trail was temporarily closed and so we were diverted to a dirt road.

Nisqually Dirt Road

It was a short detour and before long we were back on the main trail heading to the twin barns observation platform.  I have a love of all things that even resemble old barns or farmhouses so I will try to hold myself back and only post a few pictures of these lovely barns.

Nisqually Barn 3

Nisqually Barn 2

Nisqually Barn 1

I tried for a cute shot of the boys in front of the barn doors, a pose you often see professional child photographers use.  I will never be a professional child photographer.

Nisqually Boys and Barn

The wildlife refugee is a wonderful place to view many types of birds in their natural habitat and as such the place attracts numerous photographers of the slightly stodgy and relatively serious variety.  Some of them don’t take too kindly to loud and romping boys.  Knowing that my walking companions would not help in providing the best environment for wildlife photography, I instead focused my attention (and my camera) on random wildflowers, my rational being that the poor flowers are rooted to the spot and cannot run from us.

Nisqually Flowers Collage

I did spy a small rodent-like creature with a long furry tail that darted out into the trail twice.  By the time I thought to get my camera out the boys came stampeding around the bend and the critter disappeared for good.  I proclaimed it to be a weasel.  I didn’t think I had ever seen a weasel and I was not sure if they even lived in these parts but it was exactly as I would have imagined a weasel to look.  I did not have time to express my excitement over my weasel sighting however because Carter started doing the dance, you know the one, and we had to sprint to a nearby port-a-potty.  After the nearly-disastrous-he-almost-didn’t-make-it-in-time bathroom trip we caught up with Cody and my mom.  While we were rushing along the trail I saw this.

Nisqually Weasels


The trip was a lot of fun and the boys held up very well throughout the one mile loop trail.

Nisqually Carter Running

Carter said that his favorite part was some small ferns he saw growing out of a large tree.  Cody found the skunk cabbage to be the highlight of the outing because they make their own stink.  They were not in bloom and therefore were not stinky but he did not care.

Nisqually Skunk Cabbage

Our dog makes his own stink too but I guess it is way cooler when plants do it.

We were at the end of the trail with the parking lot in sight when what should we see leap from the bushes and into the middle of the path but a large gray squirrel.  Since the sign did not make it clear if we should avert our eyes or stare the mighty beast down we tried both.  It looked us over, determined that we did not have any snacks, and skittered away.

Whew, talk about a close call.

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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29 Responses to Rabid Ninja Squirrels?

  1. You are a brave group to face those fierce squirrels! 🙂 Great post.

  2. Jodi Stone says:

    I love the outings you take with your boys, I’m sure there is so much that you teach them on your adventures.

    Once Hubby and I went to Lake Wales, Florida. There is a bell tower there and people apparently feed the squirrels because one of the squirrels actually ran up Hubby’s leg and stood there kind of suspended on his pants in a very particular area. 😉 I was going to say is that a squirrel on your pants or are you just happy to see me, when the squirrel decided I might be a better perch. Since I was wearing shorts the thought of the little squirrelly paws scampering up my leg freaked me out. I unfortunately took that opportunity to scream like a girl at which point the squirrel decided the right type of nuts just weren’t there. He left.

    • shoes says:

      Ha! It sounds like you and your hubby have quite some adventures too!! I never know what is going to happen when the boys and I head out the door but it quite often turns into something more. It makes for good storytelling, that is for sure. Glad you liked it. 🙂

  3. mimijk says:

    Such courage in the face of a mighty adversary!! And I think you take amazing pictures – each and every one!!

    • shoes says:

      One must put on a brave face and never let those squirrels smell your fear! Thank you for the compliment on the pictures, I really do enjoy taking them. Most of the pictures I end up with of the boys are very candid shots, real life moments, and not the posed, pretty in a wall frame type pictures. I like the pictures I take of them but I hope I won’t regret never getting professional photos taken of them.

  4. talkerpants says:

    I loved the part with the stinky caggabe…….we have something that looks a lot like that in our yard, but if I’ve ever smelled it’s stink, I didn’t know it was the plants.

    • shoes says:

      Thanks. Cody thought that a plant that could stink was quite funny. When they flower they have huge waxy looking yellow flowers and smell awful. They are pretty, just stay upwind of them!

  5. Sounds like a nice time. What’s up w/the crazy squirrels? I thought squirrels were afraid of people.

    • shoes says:

      It was a great time. Squirrels that are used to being fed become very tame and then more and more bold. I can see them getting into a bag on the ground or even climbing into an open car window if there is food in there but to attack a person, I can’t see it. Of course, now I will probably get squirrel ambushed and have to eat my words.

  6. great post – I was there with you – but I would have averted my eyes – you never know with squirrels!

    • shoes says:

      I was so shocked to actually see one that I did not back away as the sign suggested. I stood my ground and stared that sucker down. He knew better than to mess with me! 🙂

  7. jensine says:

    love the barn, so american

  8. And there I was blissfully unaware of how dangerous the humble squirrel is…. I shall be certain to show due respect in future!

    • shoes says:

      I too was unaware of the furry fury that is the little gray squirrel. I count myself lucky to have looked into his beady black eyes and walked away to tell the tale!

  9. Mary Ann says:

    I have never seen a sign like that about squirrels! Glad you made it through okay! Sounds like a fun time. Nice post!

    • shoes says:

      Nor have I. It was pretty funny but there in the back of my mind was that image of being charged by a gray squirrel, teeth biting and claws scratching. Other than keeping one eye open for crazed squirrel, we had a lovely time.

  10. ktlee says:

    I’m still giggling about that sign! Too funny! I never knew squirrels to be such threatening menaces 😉 (Except for when they dig up my newly planted flowers!) Lovely pics of the barns.

    • shoes says:

      That sign was just too good to pass up! My only experience with squirrels behaving badly are the ones who sit up in the treetops and chuck partially eaten pine cones down on our deck and on our heads while we are gardening.

  11. Yes but did you see any Snypes???I so need to take my kiddos Snype hunting 🙂 I remember one time in Oregon I was hiking and no joke ended up covered in about 10 chipmunks who decided I was their new climbing tree!

    • shoes says:

      Nope, no Snypes although when the boys were younger I had them convinced that we had Snypes living in our forest. I even went so far as to get some colorful chicken feathers from the lady we get our eggs from and scatter them around in the woods. It was pretty awesome.

      I would freak out if chipmunks climbed all over me!

  12. Hetterbell says:

    Looks like a lot of fun. Lovely photos. I always call weasels and “Wesley” and stoats “Stanley, but I still get them mixed up! 😀 Glad you managed to avoid the ninja squirrels! 🙂

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