For our prompt of “Hiking” today, my mind drifted to nature in general and then I got a sudden urge to sketch some chipmunks. I’ve never actually done the kind of hiking that takes hours and hours and requires a backpack full of gear. But, I do enjoy spending a few hours walking down trails on a mini nature hike. I’m rather sure if stayed out any longer I’d forget to pack something essential as I’m not very good at preparedness when it comes to camping. Yet, if I can simply wander down trails for awhile and return home, then that makes me a truly happy camper indeed. As for the chipmunks, there are two that I often see outside my window. They always look like they’re working together to solve some great mystery and they’re a joy to watch. I sometimes wander outside to get a closer look, but then they always scamper away from me. It seems they are far too busy to accept any visitors at the moment.

While the chipmunks seem a touch shy, the squirrels in our neighborhood seem to be much more social. Also, they’re rather vocal as well when they’re not gnawing on something with an array of barks, squeaks, and grunts. They don’t seem to mind when Philippe and I walk by while walking our dog Phineas. After staring at us for a moment, they’ll just move in a different direction casually as if nothing is out of the ordinary. Phineas doesn’t really chase squirrels like some dogs, but if one makes a sudden move by scampering up a tree, then Phineas will lunge in that direction. It’s like some primal instinct took him over for a moment. As soon as he reaches the tree, however, he seems to forget why he ended up there in the first place and goes back to ignoring all of the squirrels that pass. That’s in part why we’ve decided his best friend is a squirrel named Michael and that he equally thinks every squirrel is named Michael.

I have to admit that walking through nature is the best, but I’ll often pause from working to just stare outside my window. While the trees are beautiful, especially this time of year, it’s the little animals that always grab my attention and steal my heart. From the birds of all different sizes and colors to the little furry critters, I adore them all. We once had a young deer show up in the large historic cemetery that our house borders. It seemed all alone at first, but it was with a stray dog. The two had formed some sort of kinship it would seem. I’ve no idea what happened to them as they just passed through briefly. But, I like to imagine that odd couple still, and dream up many wonderful adventures that they might have had together. And though the encounter was perfectly brief, it’s still the most wonderful thing in the world simply pause and enjoy visiting nature.

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About the Doodlewash

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Hiking Trail Backpack Lantern Chimpmunks Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail

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39 thoughts on “Visiting Nature

  1. Squirrels always seem to know the dogs that are serious hunters and the ones that are just playful. They love teasing both, but are much more careful around the former. It’s amazing the animal companionships that form when hunger is satisfied without the hunt. Even in the wild such bonds will form on occasion.

  2. Fabulous Charlie! I’ve done a little day hiking years ago. How could I not given that I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian trail and lived near Mount Washington for years. The views are spectacular! I lived in Wisconsin for a while and was shocked at how flat it was.

  3. Love this, Charlie! Chipmunks are so much fun to watch but I have never seen one down here around our house…possum, raccoons, and lots of squirrels…. loads of little gecko characters who I love! but no chipmunks. The squirrels, possum and raccoons pretty much mind their own business but the little gecko guys will stop in their tracks and act like they’re listening if you talk to them. And, I have to admit, I can’t pass one by without saying something to it. Gotta love nature and all its wonderful little critters.

  4. Charlie I could write lots of stories about living at the edge of a cemetery. As for nature hikes we went all over the bush, grizzly country etc. I was fine until I found out there are cougars out there too (BC Canada). End of camping. We had a huge gray squirrel in a locust tree right outside the balcony doors for about three years. It disappeared one freezing February and I missed it til I did some research and learned those are predatory animals. They eat bird eggs and the babies too. Then I was glad to be rid of it — but by summertime we had a new batch of squirrels. Meantime I knew why the robins in the next locust had never come back. Grrrrr. So now I just try to teach the crows to talk although I don’t know if those do, ravens do. Your mouse is bigger than the squirrel! Awesome/

  5. You are such a great storyteller, Charlie. Really. I love how you tie it all together. 💜 Running every day made me love being outside. When I had to stop running (injury), I thought I would go MAD! Even worse, two weeks in bed. Nooooo! Why, God, why? I love being outside! Yeah, I don’t think I would do very well with “for real” camping trips. Lord, please don’t let Mister Man be a camper! I get very upset and scrunchy about using the restroom outdoors and not have running water to thoroughly wash my hands. I would worry about doing something stupid (or naive) that would get myself seriously injured or dead or eaten. haha haha Day hikes with me sleeping in my bed later that night (near running water), sounds like something that I could handle.
    I love polar bears, Charlie! I once watched a documentary type show on PBS about polar bears and Alaska and living with polar bears. Now, we’re talking way up North Alaska. You know, where Marisela couldn’t pull off shorts and flip-flops. haha haha They interviewed a resident of that small town and her polar bear experiences. Side note: I always cringe when I see their dogs sleeping in their dog house on the frozen tundra. I want to bring them inside, like God intended. 😂😂 ANYWAY, the lady’s dog was out back, chained to his dog house. Frozen snow everywhere! She says that she looks out of her window and sees a huge polar bear walking towards her dog. Her dog is barking like crazy so she grabs her shotgun and runs out the door to go defend her dog. The neighbor next door, stops her. She is really angry, but he pleads with her to wait and not shoot. She’s terrified of her dog being supper for the polar bear, but the neighbor insists. She was astonished with what she saw next! The polar bear stops, crouches, and slides towards the chained dog, rolling onto his back. The dog jumps on the polar bear and they begin to play and wrestle. The polar bear swipes at the dog with his huge paw, the dog rolls like 20 times, gets back up to jump on the polar bear again. For the next hour, they play and wrestle and growl at each other. Then, the polar bear walks away. The lady asked the next door neighbor how he knew that the polar bear would not eat her dog. He laughs and says, “Because they play together every day. The polar bear visits your dog every single day, just to play.” Isn’t that sweet? I love animal friends like that.
    That story made me love polar bears even more although they wouldn’t be interested in playing with me as much as wanting some authentic Mexican food. haha haha 😂😂😂haha haha Cute painting, Charlie! 💜

  6. We have the love of Nature in common, do you ever listen to music while you paint? if yes what do you like to listen to you, does it inspire you? I love to listen to music When I paint with acrylic and or Gouache, even watercolour. I have a broad music interest, though not rap, and traditional, not contemporary RnB, jazz, blues. Some modern, some 1980’s. But not the cheesy stuff.

  7. I love chippies! We don’t have any by the house though I’ve seen them on the trail.. I’m guessing too many cats around here. Joe picked up our groceries yesterday. He had me buy some canned cat food. Usually they just get dry. It must be the holidays making him want to get them a treat.

  8. So cute! It looks like me and my son. I used to question ask him a million questions any time he would leave for a hike. I quit the day we went on a day hike. We stopped along a a creek. He started getting out his water filtration gear. I asked what he was doing. He said, “Mom, you are almost out of water. I am going to fill your bottle.” Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout.

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