Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A close call

During our camping trip, we took a walk in the woods every evening. We tended to keep the Duo on leash because the evening hours are when the wildlife stir. One hike was particularly eventful.

First, we saw a marmot, standing on her hind feet and whistling warnings to her family. Her swollen mammary glands show that she did, indeed, have a family under the talus slope.

She scanned everywhere, rarely looking straight at us.

Because R was going completely bonkers over the marmots, we headed away from the talus slope and into a forest that felt like old growth. Huge trees, Engleman Spruce and Subalpine Fir, surrounded us. Under the forest canopy, the wildflowers flourished despite the shade.

We spotted movement, slow, but definite movement in the deep grass and flowers. Then, the creature emerged.
The porcupine moved as slowly as a sloth. Of course, with her huge quills, she doesn't need to be able to flee. She briefly considered climbing a tree but changed her mind.
Then, she navigated the forest floor that was littered with downed trees. She particularly liked walking on logs. By this point, the leashed dogs and the Runner were far away so that the dogs wouldn't stress her out. After this photo, I joined them, wanting to leave our prickly friend in peace.
We thanked our lucky stars that the dogs had been on leash. We recalled a backpacking trip deep in the Sierra Mountains more than two decades ago when one of our dogs, Astro, got a face full of quills when we were miles into the backcountry. Our sweet Astro let us pull out the quills with pliers. When we returned to civilization, the vet checked him out and said that we'd done a good and thorough job.

We were very happy not to be pulling quills out of either dog that evening. Instead, they posed for sunset photos and simultaneously stared at marmots.


  1. You realize I was cringing and waiting to have heart failure over BEARS, right?

    Lovely shots..the porcupine ones are amazing!

  2. Oh, those marmots are so irresistible!
    Nice job on the glad you didn't have to de-quill two dogs on this trip! Yikes!
    Porcupines are such cool creatures....

  3. I agree with Samantha, that was a scary post title! I remember marmots from my hiking days in the Washington Cascades. They were like crazy little cartoon guys!

  4. Wow, I would not have guessed that to be a porcupine! I guess I have never seen one!

    Your pal, Pip

  5. I hear those quills can do a lot of damage. Glad that everybody got through that encounter OK.

    Mango Momma

  6. OK, your lead in was a bit scary. Who knew it would be a porcupine and not a bear. Frankly I think I would rather deal with a bear (a friendly one) than a porcipine.

    Love the last photo........R&K are both amazing looking dogs.


  7. We were so hoping it wasn't bears too - we saw a story in the paper today about a bear that attacked two hikes in the Aspen area having been located and killed. We must admit we did immediately think of you. But you are right, an encounter with that porcupine would NOT have been fun.

    That is a beautiful of R and K.

  8. One of the blog dogs - RA Husky - recently had a snout full of quills. He lives in Wyoming and they had gone up to a glacier to cool off. Not fun. Glad your call was only close. Loved the photos!

  9. here's the link:

    and there's a follow up as well!

  10. Great pictures of the 'smaller critters' in your neck of the woods. I remember when we lived in Alaska that a friend of ours had let their dog off lead and it got a face full of quills from a porcupine--I've never forgotten the face of that poor dog!!!

  11. very cool. We have a porky pine stuffie
    Benny & Lily

  12. Seeing a porcupine up close and fairly personal is a treat!

    Nice ones....

  13. Eyes on the prize, right K and R? That last picture is great of them!

    You see the best wildlife when you go out! I'm lucky when we hike to see a deer and a woodpecker!

  14. So glad the duo did not have an encounter with that!
    Beautiful shots you got of her!

  15. It's odd to me to think of a creature that would be considered a "prey item" not scurrying off at lightening speed. But when you have that kind of defensive armor, who needs speed?! Great pics as usual!

  16. I too love the last pictue of K & R so engrossed in what they are looking at. Your dog photos are even better if you biggify them, the pastel peaks, green trees and gorgeous pups.


  17. Sometimes you just know that all that effort sp[ent on training is worthwhile ! Love the pictures today .

  18. Intersting. Are marmots live mountain gophers?

    We've been through a round of the pourcipine quills, with Silver, thank goodness only once.

    Love that background. Sounds like a great place.

  19. Porcupines and Marmots all in one day! What luck! Super photos :)
    Thanks for sharing!

    Waggin at ya,]

  20. As always, nature photography at it's best! XO

  21. Just look at the intent stares on K and R. My goodness, I would think that the force of their gaze would drill a hole right through that marmot. I'm very glad that the picture isn't spoiled by quills sticking up out of their noses.

  22. Great photos and a fun adventure! Glad there were not encounters with the porcupine!

  23. Hi Y'all,

    I love the pictures you got of the porcupine. I'm afraid I probably would have been gone with the dogs. Fortunately I've never met up with a porcupine, so don't know how fast I can run. Slow you say? I bet the needles aren't slow! Poor Astro.

    You always manage to catch the Duo gazing or sniffing in perfectly choreographed unison. I love it!

    BrownDog's Human

  24. Whew! That would have put a real damper on the day. I'm glad K and R didn't have a closer encounter with the porcupine.

  25. Beauty is sometimes best observed at a distance; and coveted from even further away. I love the intense stares.

    We would be honored if you would send us some photos for our Wall...not just of those to be remembered (and please try to find an image of your mom, she can share space with mine) but also of your current family which has been so supportive and Walk with you at our side would be awesome.

  26. Gosh,,, the beautiful bear!
    But my favorite is the gorgeous K and R.

  27. I like Marmots! Cute! We have tons of groundhogs here and I just think they are the cutest. Who knew a porcupine was so pretty?

    Mamma Heartbeat

  28. GREAT porky shots! So glad you were able to keep the dogs from introducing themselves. It really is fun to find porcupines, but only from a distance!


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!