“… Friends who are deer, er …

… dear to us …will be near to us once more. Well, maybe … here’s why.

I thought long and hard about what to call this post. Even though the reference to the well-known Christmas song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” appealed to me, I also toyed with the title “Run Rudolph Run” … except Rudy was not a doe.

So let me condense this strange encounter of the nice kind as best I can.

I finally visited Sterling State Park in 2022, a venue I have never written about, but longed to visit. But, every time I planned to take that 60-mile round-trip adventure, something always came up – construction, weather, massive algae bloom, or a holiday weekend when this state park would be swamped with campers and beach-goers, … so I put it off.

I had not visited Sterling State Park since I was a preteen, then unbelievably I went three times in three weeks. The first two trips, October 1st when I tried out the six-mile long hiking trail, then October 22nd, when I hiked the six-mile long trail again, then strolled along the one-mile long beachfront – those treks will be fodder for other posts.

I’ve mentioned in the past that after my longer weekend treks, that evening I usually take a few minutes to write out a synopsis of my walk to pair up that narrative with the photos whenever I sort them out. I wanted the name of that very long trail for my post, so I Googled around to find it. Not only did I learn the name was the Sterling Marsh Trail, but I also learned there was an asphalt path along a steep rocky cliff over Lake Erie with rocks on either side, plus a cement walkway with a railing that got you even closer to the shoreline. Since it was another beautiful day, I returned to check those walkways out.

Once there I realized I had overlooked the entryway to the walkway before since I saw a sign with directions for “dumping” so assumed it was for campers only.

Along the narrow path ….

The trail guide website had a few photos but I really had no idea where the walkway would eventually dead-end. As I walked toward the narrow path of the walkway, a deer loped past me. I chastised myself for woolgathering while “gazing out to sea” as I could have gotten a shot of that doe. But she was off in a flash, trotting down the narrow pathway away from me, the looming human.

I figured my deer friend would reach the end of the pathway and head off into a field, or one of many woodsy areas, but I was dead wrong. The doe disappeared, then reappeared moments later, facing toward me, about 25 to 30 feet away. I assumed, that she assumed, she would return the same way she got there.

But there was one problem ….

I was in her way.

And, if she chose to give me wide berth to pass me on this asphalt path, she likely would tumble down the cliff onto the big boulders and into the raging waters of Lake Erie which splashed up onto said boulders.

I quickly realized the situation and panicked just a little myself, as that five-foot pathway was wide enough for two humans, but a human and a skittish deer … um, maybe not.

She stood there, her ears perked up, eyes transfixed on me and I clearly saw the dilemma for both of us. On my left-hand side was a chain-link fence. I thought maybe I could flatten myself against the fence and grip the links to give her ample room to pass me. Except I was holding onto the camera and she was getting nervous, pacing repeatedly, backward, then forward.

Then she got the bright idea to go down the cliff, climbing onto those big boulders. I shouted “no, you can’t do that! You’ll break a leg, or your neck – please, no – I’m not going to hurt you!”

She listened, likely terrified by my shrill cry, then picked her way through the rocks, climbed back up onto the pathway and headed the other way. Whew!

After approaching me and double-backing repeatedly, she finally went into that corner and I reached the area she was hiding. No wonder she was frantic. There was a gate, with no access to the woods for it. She truly was panicked by my presence and kept charging toward the gate, thrashing her body against the metal, her tail flicking, tongue lolling – clearly agitated!

If only she knew I was no threat – what to do? I crept into an adjacent corner and gave her enough room to flee her predicament. She paused a few moments, realized she had room to make a run for it and off she went, flashing that long, white furry tail that enables us to know the White-tailed Deer breed.

But as she ran down the pathway, back to freedom, away from this hulking human who was truly humbled by her beauty and vulnerability, she turned around to look at me one more time. Was she saying “thank you – I’m sorry I thought you might harm me and I was wrong about that.”

Happily she finally trotted away, flashing her tail and kicking up her heels, leaving me better for that experience, though there were a few anxious moments on that narrow and rocky pathway with no fence – yikes!

I had a lot of photos and could have simply written a few lines for each photo to explain, but, like the Osprey post last week, I decided to tell the tale, then leave the photos for last. I think the slideshow shows the sequence of events best. Enjoy!

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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45 Responses to “… Friends who are deer, er …

  1. rajkkhoja says:

    Wonderful Nature & deer photography. Beautiful sterling park . I like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you rajkkhoja. Sometime over the Winter, I’ll get myself together on all the photos and do a few more posts on this pretty park. I’ll have to go back next Summer when there are more birds. And unbelievably, due to our moderate drought, a lot of the marsh areas at this park are totally dried up. It was kind of shocking to see that. So this sweet lady helped make up for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rajkkhoja says:

        Good very nice. Well doing .
        God bless you, Linda!😉
        Iam glad. Can you every summer visit that area.?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thank you rajkkhoja. I can also visit year-around. I buy a state park pass when I renew my driver’s license to go to this park, but I think there will be more to see in the good weather. I try not to drive too far in ice/snow … I am what we call here a “Winter Weenie” about driving in the snow. I took the bus to work for decades, catching the bus at the end of the street, then my office building was right when I got off the bus. I didn’t have to take my car out in Winter unless I wanted to. The Metroparks I go to also are open year around and you buy a pass. The landscape is kind of blah there this time of year. The park where i walk daily I take pictures in the Winter when it is snowing – it is pretty there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rajkkhoja says:

        I like your working & visiting shedule time. Iam happy to you don’t drive in the snow. Good care of winter season. How much the state park pass.? How long your work place? Very nice you daily walked the park. I like.
        God bless you 🙂!
        Tack care, Linda 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Hi rajkkhoja – I took the bus for many years and now working from home, so would rather walk, than drive, in snow. The state park pass is about $13.00 a year (which is about 1,000 Rupees). The Metropark pass is a little more but you can go to 13 different Metroparks. You take care too rajkkhoja.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rajkkhoja says:

        Thank you so much, Linda. Iam so glad! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the title, story, and of course, the photo slideshow. Not only are you a squirrel whisperer, but you’re also a deer whisperer too!! 😊😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I was so mixed about what title to use Shelley. It’s crazy I know, but I am trying to do a holiday theme for my December posts, so that worked … wish I could have done a strike-out in the title. I’d like to think I could be a squirrel whisperer too … this poor doe was terrified and then agitated and it broke my heart seeing her repeatedly thrashing against the chain-link fence. I was glad I could finally find a corner to squeeze into to let her go down that pathway, which hopefully looks as narrow as I wrote about.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave says:

    Maybe not Rudolph, but Clarice (the “There’s Always Tomorrow” doe in the animated Christmas special)? With a soft touch to the details, this would make a great children’s story, Linda. Glad to read a happy ending.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Dave, I thought about calling her Clarice and wondered how many people would recognize that name. I should have just done it and explained who Clarice was. A few years ago I wrote a Christmas post about watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty” so many times on TV, way into my 30s, making it “must-see TV” for me, that my mom ordered the two-video set for me as a surprise. I probably know passages of the movie by heart. Yes it was a happy ending and I hope I captured the images of the narrow path, steep and rocky cliff and a little fear on both our parts sufficiently.

      Like

  4. Great pics. Usually they run when they see a camera. Or maybe just from me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Kate. I was glad to get this sequence of photos. All this transpired in about 10 minutes and the clippety-clop of the deer’s hooves as she ran back and forth trying to escape me and her predicament made it a little intense for me as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If there were two more deer with her you could call them “Ray” and “Me”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ha ha – yes, I could have sung that song to her and maybe she would have calmed down a little … or maybe not as I don’t have the greatest singing voice. 🙂

      Like

      • this Deer must be desperate for food. Normally a Deer would never allow itself to be in such a confining place. It had the fence on one side,the water on the other and you at the end of the pathway. Leaving the only escape route where she came from. Dangerous behaviour.

        Like

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, that was probably the case Wayne as most of the berries were gone by then and there was not enough grass along that pathway to graze on. Yes, very penned in and feeling helpless to escape. I felt sick seeing her thrashing into that locked gate and trying to go down the rocks. Thankfully she turned around a few steps into the rocks and got back on the pathway. I was happy she turned around one more time to look at me before trotting off for good.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pam Lazos says:

    Aren’t you dear, Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. trumstravels says:

    The slideshow was great! Poor little thing, I wish they could now that we mean them no harm (well not all of us) but you and I for sure !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Susan! I thought that the slideshow was the best way to show that narrow path, the raging water over the boulders, the steep cliff – yikes! I had no idea there was no way out for her because had I known, I’d have gotten off the path at the get-go. I wish they knew as well we mean no harm. Except for when I yelled at her not to go down the rocky cliff, I tried a soothing voice. She was flicking that tail and sprinting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a remarkable story!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Eilene Lyon says:

    I’m glad it all ended well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Joni says:

    Wow, what a sight! And what a panic it was in. I’ve never seen a deer up close like that, so I might have been in a bit of a panic too. I loved the title too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni. Glad you liked the title. I was torn between what to call it. Like you, I don’t know how to swim and I sure would not want to topple over and go down that cliff with those big boulders. I saw that fawn up close last year, but any adult deer I’ve seen have either stared at me under cover of bushes, or took off when they saw me. However, I was in Dearborn in October in the park you go through to get to the Ford Estate and I was looking for wild turkeys like I found last year and turned around and four or five deer were crossing a path I just left. I was so surprised, I got some photos, but of the side of them only.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh deer! She is so pretty! What an intense experience the both of you had. It must have been thrilling to be so close to her, yet nerve-racking knowing she was so distressed. The slide show was a great idea. I bet she won’t soon forget what happened that day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      She is pretty isn’t she Barbara? I always like when deer look at you so intently, with ears perked up and that gaze, like they are studying your next move (which they probably area). We discussed how wonderful it is to have that moment, just the two of you, fixated on each other. It was thrilling just as you say, but she was so distressed I was worried she would do something drastic and when she started going down the rocks I was afraid she might slip and fall or end up in the water. Part of me thought she wanted to be away from me so badly that was willing to take that chance. I’ll bet she never goes down that long pathway again!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. peggy says:

    Great title. This deer could not decide what to do. It’s nice walk was totally changed by a human creature on his private pathway. Great captures Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Peggy – I was aiming for a Christmas theme and I thought it would be fun. I am glad you liked the photos too. Yes, this poor doe was in such distress and I wished I could convey to her that I was in awe of her and just wanted to take her picture, so that she needn’t have worried in the least about me. Her radar was up for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jessica says:

    What a beautiful story. Panic on both ends to trusting anyway- at least enough to get down the path. Wonderful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Zazzy says:

    I’m so glad she finally bravely made her escape. Who knows what she has experienced when around humans. You did well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Oh me too Zazzy … and thank you. I held my breath, worried sick that she was so scared of me that she would hurt herself on that rocky cliff. And it was also a worry that she’d bolt suddenly and knock me off balance. I wasn’t afraid of her, but as her agitation grew, so did my worries about both of us. I know – it makes you wonder what she’s encountered in her past. Did she or another deer from her pack have a bad encounter that she witnessed? I hated the idea that a gentle animal like a doe would be so afraid of me.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ally Bean says:

    Amazing how that deer just stepped out of nowhere. You took some great photos. Can a person ever have too many pics of the south end of a northbound deer? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ally, I went to this park two times, traipsed around twice on that six-mile trail which was boring as the marsh areas were dried up. I had heard this huge park was full of deer – never saw one. The other walk that is right at the water’s edge appealed to me and this was a surprise and yes, I kept watching her flashing that tail and kicking up her heels every time she ran away which was often. Hmm, I hope I don’t have that effect on anyone else. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………….awesome action up-close pictures of the deer………………………….nice………………………we all don’t get to see that …………..I mean encounter that…………………………………..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Ann Marie – I’m glad you liked it. She would come so close, then turn and run away. That is about the closest she got to me (until we got into that corner where she finally was able to escape). It was very odd, but a wonderful memory. I am grateful to you for giving me the directions (even if it took me about two years to finally get there!)

      Like

  17. J P says:

    I got the title reference right away, and it’s a good one. I like lots of distance between me and wildlife of any kind, so I would have found your predicament very stressful. I was glad for the happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I figured that song title worked perfectly for this situation JP. The song by Frank Sinatra is a bit more upbeat than the version by James Taylor which always seems sad to me. It was stressful as I worried she would become so skittish that she would just charge down the pathway, potentially knocking me off balance in doing so. I was happy she could escape me and head down that path, taking one last look back at me and kicking up her heels as she sped away.

      Liked by 1 person

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