Hiking the CNO Violettes Lock to Swains Lock, 17 December, 2011 (14 miles)

Hiking the CNO Violettes Lock to Swains Lock, 17 December, 2011 (14 miles): 17 Dec, 2011 (15 miles)

Life if tough. What can a sick raccoon do on cold wintry morning? He was on the hiking path, just south of Violettes lock approaching humans, who in turn, like me, were apprehensive that he could be rabid. At least from my experience with rabid dogs, I would have expected him to be running aimlessly with saliva oozing out of his mouth and tongue hanging out. This raccoon could not walk straight. I approached him to take a close up shot. He kept coming closer and closer. I had urge to pet him, but then he is wild and should remain wild and free, even if his fate is sealed. So, with a heavy heart I backed away and assured the people gathered not to be afraid he is highly unlikely to be rabid. This was an encounter on my trip back from Swains lock. It was another wonderful morning. I set out hiking at 8ish. I took the path south toward Great Falls. It was an unusual day. I spotted at least 10 herons and caught many of them on my iPhone. There were 2 kingfishers, a few woodpecker and a large water rat swimming peacefully. I wish I had my camera with me. Next time I will not miss such an opportunity. I went past Swains lock to the 15 mile marker. I knew I was quite close to Great Falls, but my GPS failed me by not giving me an estimate of the distance. So I turned back. Now looking at the trail, I wish I had made it all the way to Great Falls. Nevertheless it was a wonderful hike.