The majority of my barefoot trekking is in the mountains. I follow a lot of game trails in addition to more established routes- the game trails are easier on the soles of my feet and typically get me to elevation much quicker. Yesterday’s trek gave me a couple of interesting encounters. The first was a pheasant. I’ve startled several over the years but this was the first time one made a noise other than flapping its wings- it made a whimpering noise like a scared puppy! I tried to record it but couldn’t get my phone out in time (really need to invest in a small camera that will ‘instant on’ for moments like this). Later on I got scolded by a couple of hawks. I’m guessing I was a little closer to their nest than they were comfortable with. I wasn’t dive bombed by them but they did somewhat close flybys and escorted me about 1/2 a mile to be sure the threat was gone. There’s a lot of wildlife where I go- bears, elk, deer, mountain sheep, skunks, porcupines, and the occasional cat (large and small). I’ve never had an issue or felt threatened by them. It saddens me that the only times I’ve had to use my bear spray is with dogs- too many irresponsible owners out there. I typically have a couple of encounters a year with off-leash and aggressive dogs and have been bit a few times. Most dog owners are in denial that their dog is aggressive- I’ve heard ‘he’s never done that before’ several times. That gets old fast. I’m at the point now where’s the sight of a dog has my hand near my spray bottle. I’m not a dog-hater, just a bite-avoider.