My Careless Little Friends

by Jenny Hochstetler | Jun 1, 2023 | 0 comments

person feeding chipmunk
Photo © Jason Rich/Dreamstime.com.

Exciting things are always happening to other people. They get to hold chickadees, touch grackles, make pets of fawns…the list could go on and on. But these exciting things always happen to other people, not to me.

Or so I thought.

Little did I know what fun I was about to have as I plodded up the trail to Blodgett Overlook. It seemed as if we had been walking for much longer than an hour. Our whole family had decided to go hiking—something we had not done for several years. So today we were hiking to Blodgett Overlook.

“Look, a big rock. We must be almost there.”

“Here we are. The sign says so.”

“Oh, look at that view.”

We walked over to the edge and looked down into the deep canyon. I surely wouldn’t have wanted to fall down there! I threw a stone and watched it fall and fall.

“Look, Joshua, a chipmunk.” Dad was pointing down into the canyon.

Sure enough, a little chipmunk had made his home in a little crevice on the edge of the cliff.

“Oh, let’s see if they like cookies. Mom, where are the snickerdoodle cookies we brought along?” I wondered.
Mom gave me one. I started breaking off little pieces and throwing them down to the chipmunk. He took one of them between his front paws, sat up straight, and started eating it. It was so much fun to watch him.

“Look, another chipmunk,” I noticed. Joshua came and looked at them. He liked chipmunks. What three-year-old doesn’t, especially if he has an interesting book about them?

After a while we went a little farther up the trail. Here we came to another chipmunk. This one lived under a big rock instead of down in the canyon. He was bigger and fatter. I soon discovered that he was also bolder.

I tossed him a little piece of cookie. Quick as a flash, he came running and snatched it. He gobbled it greedily. I tossed him another piece.

I looked back down the trail. Dad, Mom, and Joshua had stayed at another rock, probably to watch another chipmunk. Now I had an idea.

I lay down flat on the rocks and put a piece of cookie just in front of me. My fat little friend wanted it badly. He eyed me warily. Then he dashed forward and snatched it up. He backed off to eat it with never a word of thanks.

Now to top it off, I thought. I reached out my hand with a big piece of cookie that would have tempted the most timid chipmunk. I hardly breathed as the little fellow made up his mind. Then he came running up and stopped just in front of my hand. For a moment, two little black eyes looked straight into mine as he picked up the cookie and ate it. Then he scurried back again.

Oh, how exciting! But I was not quite satisfied yet. I wanted to pet the chipmunk. So, I baited him with a piece of cookie. He came at once. But the moment my hand touched him, he scooted away.

I got up and ran down to tell the others. Then I fed the chipmunk they had been talking to. He, too, accepted cookie from my hand. He was smaller and cuter than the other one.

We walked back up to the big fat chipmunk. This time all his friends were there too. Well, not exactly friends. They actually fought over the bites of cookie that we started throwing at them. We tried to make sure that the smaller ones got their share.

This was hard to do, for the smaller ones were more cautious. They preferred to eat their cookies at a safe distance. As for the larger ones, we didn’t have to lie down. We just had to hold out a hand, and if they couldn’t reach it, they would beg until we put it down. (Later we decided that the largest ones might actually have been ground squirrels.)

Finally, the two biggest chipmunks threw away their last bit of caution. They ran up to Dad and started jumping onto his shoes and following him wherever he went. They were becoming so bold that he and Joshua started running after those big fellows. The careless chipmunks turned tail and ran. After that they were a little more wary again, but they still accepted food from our hands.

After a while it was time to head home. We started down the trail. Dad discovered a big shortcut, and we made it to the truck in fifteen minutes, less than one quarter of the time it had taken us to go up!

We stopped at Blodgett Campground on the way home for one more bit of fun. We enjoyed wading in the creek. And there were more chipmunks! But these cute fellows were far more timid. After several unsuccessful attempts to feed them, I gave up. I put some cookie on a stump before we left, and hoped they would find it.

Exciting things are always happening to other people, but I don’t mind anymore. They can have their bold chickadees and friendly grackles. I’ll stick to careless chipmunks.

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