Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Attack of the cows

yes, cows, the very definition of docile attacked us while camping in the mountains this weekend. In the morning we were going about our day, preparing breakfast of milk and granola when I saw one cow walking towards our camping spot very purposefully. I could tell this is not general grazing pattern, but this one is coming towards us. It came and then stood few feet away. I tried to shoo it away with my hiking poles, but it was not scared at all. I tried shouting, no impact. It tried to approach and Rahul tried the same things, then it finally went away. I was like good. Then another came, same behaviour. This one was more persistent though. It walked and stood really close to the tarp and where some of our stuff was. I tried to again scare it with hiking pole, but it was almost following the waving of the pole instead of being scared, which is never a good sign. This one was more persistent and it started going for our stuff - gloves, camera and some other random stuff on the tarp.
Then I pulled the tarp and our breakfast of milk and granola spilled. Then we finally realised - they were after the milk! That small bowl of powdered milk was attracting so much attention from across the hill. Once I knew that, I was like we are toast. There are about a 100 cows in this area and they are huge animals. We have no power over them. It was time to panic. Once the milk spilled, I grabbed all my stuff from the tarp and let them go at it. While they were busy with milk, we quickly drank whatever was remaining in the bowl. I washed it quickly with some water. We shoved everything into our backpacks. I had not packed my backpack this fast before. Soon the cows realised the milk is no good. But they were still confused. Some went for my poles which had some spilled milk on them. I was wearing the milk stained jacket, and I was not going to part with my North Face waterproof jacket for some stupid cows.
Someone we managed to grab all our gear, including the cereal bowl (the $40 titanium kettle!), put it all in the packs, and started walking away. I knew internally that they are not going to follow us, or maybe I did not want to think what we are going to do if they followed us. As we were walking away, I could see more and more cows coming over from other hill. They looked at us walking away but someone did not follow. Faster and faster we climbed, and only when we had put enough distance between them and us that we stopped to catch a breath and take count of our stuff. We had escaped with all limbs intact and all our gear.