This post isn’t going to have many photos. Most of the relevant pictures can be found in my previous post, Northern Norway, if you click there (by the way, have I ever mentioned, if you click on the photos it will pop up much larger if you happen to want a better look?). But I’ve had a couple of friends ask me about the nervous reindeer, so this is the story of the nervous reindeer that stalked me.
M and I had pulled off the main road for the night, and driven out onto a peninsula of sorts – one of the last photos in the previous post shows the area a bit. We had found ourselves a pretty awesome little spot to stop for the night – a giant view of the ocean from the open back of the car, not too many mosquitoes, and not in sight of any houses (thanks to a large bush!). We decided to take a walk, as it was still daylight (what a surprise!). So off we set, across a field where M decided to pick mushrooms (later discarded as when he peeled them they went funny colours – perhaps not the edible mushrooms he had thought they were after all), heading for a small hill in front of us.
After a short while we spotted in the distance what I presumed to be a female reindeer, with a younger reindeer, maybe last years bambi, almost grown up. They were just grazing. No big deal. We kept walking. We made it to the little hill and climbed up, had a look around, went a bit down the other side, out of view of Mrs Reindeer and Bambi. When we came back up the hill from the other side, wouldn’t you know it, they’ve chosen to wander almost right over to where we were.
You know that moment when you are somewhere in public, and you make accidental eye contact with a random stranger, and then you keep looking back to see if they are still looking – and they are? Well this was the game the reindeer and I played for about the next half an hour!!! Shooting glances to monitor where the other one was… Reindeer are largish animals, and as I said before, with their antlers on board they are not a beast to be messed with if you can avoid it. To make matters possibly worse, these are semi-domesticated reindeer – they graze wild across their summer and winter grazing pastures, but are rounded up about once a year – I don’t know the exact details, and maybe those that are rounded up end up as reindeer steaks…so they are not unfamiliar or completely frightened of humans. Anyway, having a large, semi-wild animal with antlers and a half grown baby hanging around made me a bit cautious. M of course thought I was paranoid.
But as we made our way back to the car (we had a specific destination – the car. Mother Reindeer and Bambi on the other hand, could have grazed anywhere but instead kept following us), nervous reindeer and kiddo followed almost the same path, just fifty metres or so off to our right. Sometimes closer, sometimes further away, the shooting glances continued. Kiddo and M didn’t seem to care a hoot (both still children perhaps?) but mumma reindeer and I kept this up the whole way. And the fact she kept looking back at me, and skittering off in a little nervous run, only to reappear a minute later at about the same distance, pretending to nibble at the grass, started to bother me. We were, after all, just walking along in a field more or less, no trees to climb, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t outrun a reindeer.
Eventually we got back to the car, nervous reindeer still in tow. By this stage, kiddo reindeer had skittered off somewhere when mumma reindeer had had one of her flighty moments – smart fulla! – but mumma followed us all the way, always keeping just enough distance and ALWAYS keeping up those glances! She made me nervous! Where we had parked the car there was a little ridge just infront of us, leading down to the beach. Mumma reindeer disappeared down there somewhere, and eventually walked right along the beach and away. But I couldn’t help checking for her the rest of the evening. I kept expecting her to pop up over the ridge 5 metres in front of us, just quickly checking again to see if the random strangers were still looking too.