Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Deep in The Arkansas Sticks

Well, it's a couple days now since Powell, Runt, Veronica Steelhead and I set off into the bush to look for the Candy-Striped Boar. We've got a nice campsite set up and have been making forays each day into the surrounding hills. At night you can hear the grunting, thrashing and general havoc of these wild little porkers but damned if we've gotten a glimpse. During the daylight hours they're as elusive as a Skunk Ape. I'd make some night trips but we've had trouble with our night vision gear. I poked my head out of the tent last night when I heard one that sounded awfully close but this is all I got on camera:

I guess Veronica heard him too. Needless to say, I quickly ducked back into the tent. I don't want any "uncomfortable situations" between me and my crew. That Steelhead pitches a mean tent. I'm thinking I may have to chain Runt to a tent pole each night, he's young and has the manners of one of these boars we're after.
Powell's sketchbook
The days have been surprisingly chilly and wet but we've been out in it anyway. Powell continues to make field sketches and we've come across some interesting critters out here. The Ouachita wilderness is home to a diverse variety of strange wildlife' Here are a few of them:

Spotted Dorkmouse
Here's a close-up of the Spotted Dorkmouse. Probably one of natures dumbest creations, the Dorkmouse is known to wander aimlessly through the woods hoping to stumble across a bug or worm so it doesn't starve to death. They're prime targets for predators but they have an awful aftertaste and due to this, they survive to this day.

Double Stingered Stag Beetle
Red Bearded Antenna Crow
The Double Stingered Stag Beetle is a mean son of a gun. Very aggressive, they'll leap from the trees just to put the pinch on you. The two stingers serve to protect it from an unsuspecting foot and believe, me if you step on one of these boogers, you'll feel it. One would be wise to have some good, solid soles on your boots in this area.

One of the more pleasant creatures in these woods is the Red Bearded Antenna Crow. They're a constant companion at lunchtime and have no qualms about joining you at your table. A very patient bird, it'll sit on a nearby rock and stare you down until guilt drives you to toss it a piece of bologna. They like mustard, not mayo.

Elephant Mole
The Elephant Mole spends most of it's time underground in search of grubs but you'll occasionally see it's proboscis extending from a small hole in the underbrush.This is probably the most interesting aspect of the Elephant Mole: It actually uses it's "trunk" as a lure. An unsuspecting bird, mistaking the pink proboscis for a worm will find itself in the clutches of the mole's mighty forepaws to be dragged beneath the ground, never to be seen again. Screaming in agony as it's devoured, torn limb from limb in the inky blackness of the grave-like tunnel. Other than that, it's a pretty cute little critter.

Until next dispatch,


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