On seeing K2, my nephews and me, a blue jay scolded us on invading its territory, which scared a group of black capped Chickadees and common grackles on the fringe of the forest cover away. That, in turn, had an impact on a herd of deer grazing in the background and we saw them taking to heels.
A flock of geese started honking alarmingly over the lake even farther away.
Hiking about 200 meters, we saw a dozen squirrels had taken up fragile spots in the higher branches of nearby trees.
While hiking, our Kuvasz boy K2 and we routinely find how our approach creates a ripple effect in the denizens of the forests along the Bruce Trail.
A hike during one particular night became a mess when we got sprayed by a skunk. We were at a safe distance though. Still, the smell lingered on for quite a few days on the roadside tree that actually took the brunt of the spray.
K2's reaction to a coyote is what is typical of all dogs. There is something about coyotes that dogs don't like - body positioning, facial expressions, gait, what? I am not sure.
After a long hike in a mid-summer day, K2 and I were resting under a tree when I started thinking about my past in a country where I grew up - Pakistan.
The hike with K2 in Pakistan turned out to be quite hard. Although the ecosystems were beautiful, the temperatures and the terrain were daunting.
Puma (Cougar or Mountain Lion), North America - Snow Leopard and Asiatic Leopard, Pakistan
I will not expect to hike in puma country with K2 without adequate precautionary measures for a dog is no match for this feline. Although Ontario has confirmed presence of almost 500 pumas in the province, they are chiefly found in the hilly and mountainous areas of the western North America and prey upon mule and white tailed deer, rocky mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
Asiatic leopard (such as the one shown here) is highly protected and sparsely distributed all over Pakistan in both barren and heavily forested hilly areas. Its numbers are rising. It preys upon all ungulates found either in the vicinity of or on the hills where it lives - gazelles, black buck, ibex, Himalayan goral, barking deer, etc.
I was especially careful with K2 as we could have run into a leopard while hiking and neither party would be a happy camper if that happens.
Snow leopards are found in the high mountain regions of Himalayas, Karakorums, and Hindu Kush and are beyond our hiking range. They prey upon Markhor and Marco Polo sheep.
I was careful hiking there because K2 and me are likely to encounter this elusive cat if it is prowling in the lower valleys on or near a trail where we are hiking.
Pronghorn, NA – Chinkara Gazelle, Pakistan
Shepherds and their livestock guardian dogs routinely see Pronghorns while grazing their charges near the northern rocky mountains of the USA. Pronghorns were once a prey of what was American cheetah. The cheetah went extinct, but pronghorn survived and can be observed in the open grasslands of western USA, where their population continues to be healthy.
K2 and I startled a flock of Chinkara while hiking in the deserts of Cholistan. K2's catching them was next to impossible as these gazelles are the fastest land animal species of Pakistan. They were once preyed upon by Asiatic Cheetah that went extinct in Pakistan in early 1900s.
White Tailed Deer, NA - Wild Boars, Pakistan
K2 and I love to watch white tailed deer in our neighbourhood during our long distance hikes. Compared to this, my experience with wild boars is that of going to organize hunts in agricultural areas of the Punjab province of Pakistan, where I usually played a traitor, driving them away from hunting parties.
In the eastern USA and Canada, white tailed deer are generally loved for their looks. On the other hand, although piglets look cute to many, wild boars are hated in Pakistan due to the religious reasons and due to their damaging the crops.
Proliferation of deer, as people are generally averse to cull their population, has resulted in over grazed and over browsed forests. On the other hand, wild boars reproduce rapidly.
There are many commonalities too. Both inhabit forests, hills, and open woodlands. Also, environmentally, both of them have become nuisance species.
Although I saw local hunters using local breed of dog called Guldong to hunt wild boars in Pakistan, when invited to the hunt, K2 and I declined.
Mule Deer, NA – Black Buck, Hog Deer and Barking Deer, Pakistan
If and when I hike with K2 and other dogs near the northern Rockies, our chances of seeing mule deer are very high. Mule deer are primarily browsers on woody vegetation and eat relatively little grass. They readily adapt to agricultural products and landscape plantings.
Black buck has been reintroduced in Pakistan and is flourishing.
Hog deer is becoming increasingly rare in Pakistan, because of the destruction of its habitat – riverine forests.
As K2 and I observed, barking deer population has survived in Margalla Hills National Park, where I took picture of this one. Sind Province’s Wildlife Management Board is actively involved in breeding of these beautiful ungulates in the country.
American Alligator, USA – Mugger or Marsh Crocodile, Pakistan
We were lucky enough to airboat at Lake Tohopekaliga near Orlando and be able to take a picture of this mama alligator protecting her 40 off springs. Alligators are top predators, found in the marshes from Texas to Florida.
Mainly a freshwater species, the mugger crocodile is found in lakes, rivers and marshes of southern Pakistan. Being a large carnivorous reptile, the mugger crocodile eats fish, other reptiles and small mammals.
We could have encountered a crocodile basking in the sun when we hiked along any lake in southern Sind province, taking K2 and other dogs close to their habitat was a definite ‘No’ for me. Dogs in the entourage were on leash when we approached any lake providing habitat to these amphibians.
Racoon, North America - Rhesus Macaque and feral cats, Pakistan
K2 likes to chase racoons and tree them. Racoons are omnivorous animals that usually eat vertebrates, invertebrates and plant matter. They will raid your garbage cans and get into bird nests to eat eggs and nestlings.
In Pakistan, this niche is taken up by a number of animals. In the wild, it would be Rhesus Macaque monkey flourishing in the lower Himalayan hills.
In the populated areas, feral cats feed from dumpsters in the cities, towns and settlements.
Cats took to trees when they saw K2. Monkeys, on the other hand, stood their ground and no matter what K2 did to intimidate them, they screeched back like a determined gang.
Wild Turkey, North America - Peacock, Pakistan
K2 and us ran into wild turkeys in Rockwood Conservation Area. In Pakistan, we ran into peacocks (peahens) while hiking in Tharparker region in southeastern Sind province and in the salt planes of the Punjab province.
Sandhill Cranes, NA – Demoiselle Cranes, Pakistan
Both these cranes are among 4 subspecies of cranes that are not endangered.
I am sure I will see a pair of sandhill cranes when hiking with K2 along the banks of lakes in southern USA. Sandhill cranes have their match in Demoiselle cranes of Pakistan.
The Demoiselle crane lives in a variety of different environments, including desert areas and numerous types of grasslands (flooded, mountain, temperate and tropical grassland) which are often within a few hundred metres of streams or lakes.
K2 and I saw them all over the wetlands of Pakistan.
Great Blue Heron, NA – Grey Egret, Pakistan
Great blue heron, as our popular hubber Aviannovice correctly suggests, is a graceful bird that K2 and us can easily observe while hiking along lakes and rivers of the USA.
In Pakistan, Grey Egret evoked the same feelings in me and perhaps in K2 too.
It feeds in shallow water, catching fish, frogs, and insects with its long bill. It will also take small mammals and reptiles. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim.
This leaves me with the nuisance of our North American Skunks and Canada Geese.
We are always scared of spring and fall seasons when the skunks in our neighbourhood become very active. I dread their spray. If K2 or one of us gets directly sprayed by a skunk, we would have had it. There is no animal of Pakistan that I can think of that comes close to the niche occupied by skunk, but hey wait a minute. There is one that comes to my mind – common crow. While it can’t spray you when harassed, it knows how to get even. It will drop its poop on you.
The odour of skunk’s spray won’t go for days, but imagine the embarrassment caused by carrying that terrible crow poop on your head and shoulder for all the passersby to see and be amused at the cost of your self-esteem. And believe you me it has its nasty odour too.
When K2 was bombed by an angry crow, I couldn't even clean the poop without water for the more I tried to wipe it out using a dry tissue, the more embarrassingly it spread over K2's beautiful fur. Our acquaintances in Canada empathized with us on learning about skunk spraying us one evening, but those in Pakistan heartily laughed at us on knowing about crow pooping over K2
Canada geese have become a nuisance all over the USA and Canada. Their population is bursting at seems. They dump at least 1,360 kg of droppings along the stretch of shoreline. According to experts, the loose-boweled birds which poop-ulate the Lake Ontario waterfront unload their contents an estimated 10 times each hour.
The only thing cute about Canada geese is their goslings following the adults.
The only animals that came close to Canadian geese were feral dogs, i.e., only in terms of their residency and nuisance value. We found them occupying corners of all vacant pieces of lands and parks, in the water or under trees trying to take shelter from sweltering heat, prowling about for carrion and throw-away crumbs of bread, travelling in packs, and even uttering alarm barks at strangers.
The devils always attacked us, especially when in numbers. K2 would have easily taken on two of them, but a pack of feral dogs would be more than a match for him. I had to carry pellet gun to thwart any attacks.
The only thing cute about feral dogs was a litter of puppies that K2 and I saw. They reach out to us just like pet dogs and we almost always fell in love with them.
The unfortunate ending of our adventure
I heard K2's growl that woke me up. I had slept for nearly two hours and K2 had gotten restless on his inability to keep on hiking. It had been a long dream and my head was heavy. However, gathering my stuff and putting it back in my backpack and loading K2's gear back in his doggy backpack, we started again.
Alright, this was a dream, but I am sure it will come out true one day.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on August 13, 2017:
Thank you, Fuzail!
Fuzail on August 12, 2017:
Excellent read, this piece from Suhail.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on August 07, 2016:
Thank you for reading my hub that I need to update really quickly.
Believe you me, I can relate and that is why I don't visit under developed countries, even though I hail from one. If I visit it is only for adventure traveling to specific remote spots.
K2 and I ran into a skunk last night and the bugger didn't yield walking rights to us. We had to make a detour to reach the desired spot :-)
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 07, 2016:
It would break my heart to see the feral cats and dogs. I have spent nearly 15 years here in the states (and a lot of money) spaying and neutering, vaccinating, and feeding feral and stray cats and helping poor people fix their animals so they don't become strays and ferals. For this reason, I have to watch where I vacation. The visions of poverty and animals in desperate situations consume me and I cannot concentrate on anything else. Your skunk and crow stories were humorous. One of my pet cats a long time ago was sprayed and it took quite awhile for it the smell to neutralize. I have regularly seen alligators at my aunt's home and see raccoons and others on my property. Beautiful, entertaining hub.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on September 20, 2015:
Thanks, Stella. Hiking with my dog for the rest of my life is around the corner, but like you, I have honed my skills visiting our national, state, and provincial parks in the USA and Canada.
Thank you for visiting.
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on September 19, 2015:
Hi Suhail, I love your hub and the photos are beautiful. I think the Pakistan snow leopard is the most beautiful animal. I wish I could hike and see these animals. There is nothing like taking your dog with you. Sharing
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on October 27, 2013:
Yes, one of my dream activity is to be able to hike with my dog in lands near and far. I read lots of hiking and trekking adventures and I believe that taking our dogs along on our adventures is just a natural extension of the strategic partnership. Thanks for your comments.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 27, 2013:
I enjoyed your journey as well as the photos and descriptions of the animals, near and far. The photo of the feral dogs is sad. Nice hub. Voted up and more.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on June 03, 2013:
Thank you travmaj.
I let my imagination run wild on this one lol.
travmaj from australia on June 02, 2013:
what a lovely hub - and what beautiful photos - I enjoyed this journey and the birds and animals, thank you.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on May 01, 2013:
Thank you very much for appreciating my imaginary walk to see real animals. This is why I always take interest in hubs on various dog breeds. I always wanted to have a team of dogs and me hiking long distances. I hope to get there some day soon.
Adrienne Farricelli on May 01, 2013:
I really enjoyed reading this and the lovely pictures you have posted. Makes me want to hop on a plane and travel!
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on April 12, 2013:
Thank you very much indeed for the compliments. I will pass your hello to K2 now :-)
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on April 12, 2013:
Among the three of us brothers, you are the most experienced in extreme adventures, including para gliding, para shoot jumping, forest, mountain and desert survival courses, so on and so forth. You just have to let your imagination chalk out the whole scenario for you. Of course, you are a valuable member of this hiking trip lol.
Michelle Liew from Singapore on April 10, 2013:
Beautiful pictures, Suhail. And Pakistan does have wonderful wildlife to experience once conditions get better. Thanks for sharing, and once again, please say hi to K2 for me!
Fuzail Z. Ahmad on April 07, 2013:
Suhail, I am not so sure if I was part of your hypothetical wildlife tour of Pakistan with K2. Was i? Nonetheless, we will make it together in 2013. Excellent piece this was. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on March 25, 2013:
Wait for conditions to improve in Pakistan. According to the Lonely Planet website, Pakistan is the next big thing in international tourism.
Btw, now I am waiting for you to write something about wildlife of Philippines :-)
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent (author) from Mississauga, ON on March 24, 2013:
That wasn't the complete list. I only included those that I thought my dog and I would see during our hypothetical hiking and trekking excursions in Pakistan.
Btw, today, during my hike with K2, I visited our neighbourhood version of Boomer Lake and I noticed so many birds and waterfowl have returned that it was non-stop chirrups, calls, songs leading to a full chorus. K2 and I enjoyed our walk and I thanked your hubs on Boomer Lake for the awareness.
Both of us did miss our snow though for it has now melted, except for few patches here and there.
Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on March 24, 2013:
Good job! I've never been to Pakistan but with your travelogue, I will never be a stranger to that unfamiliar terrain.
Voted up and shared!
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 23, 2013:
Great work, Suhail! I enjoyed seeing the birds and animals of Pakistan through your eyes. Perhaps one day I can get to the area to see them for myself.