Encountering Wild Dogs: The Down Side of Hiking Solo

This morning I experienced something I cannot remember ever experiencing before; genuine fear, for my life.

I decided to spend this fine Sunday alone in the bush with my camera; hiking and taking photos. So I got up early, packed by bags and camera and left.

Everything was going great until I stopped by the river for a break about 4kms into my hike up the Bon Accord track and saw two large wild dogs ahead of me on the track coming my way.

I froze. And then in the midst of fear, some crazy survival instinct kicked in and I was half running half walking back up the track with my heart pounding and the desire to live stronger than it has ever been.

In my mind I was searching for a tree to climb or somewhere to hide but I was mostly surrounded by a harsh forest of tall straight eucalypt trees. Great. All I could think to do was put as much distance between us as possible.

After a few hundred metres I stopped to look back only to discover that they were still following me.  So I picked up the biggest stick I could manage and kept walking in a daze somewhere between paralysing fear and extreme clarity.

After power waking for the next  couple of  kilometres I felt that they were no longer following me; however, my fear did not subside until I was safely back in the car at the hikes entrance.

Although wild dog attacks are fairly rare, sighting them is still extremely frightening and the notion of being out on my own (which is usually peaceful and empowering) made me feel even more vulnerable and at risk.

I am obviously home now, safe and sound; but I will never again go walking so deep into the bush alone without taking further precautions and a large knife.

On the plus side.  I don’t think I have ever had a better cardio work out!

Here are a few photos I managed to capture before the mad dash for my life.

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3 Comments

  1. I wonder what the best thing to do is? I was following another blog and the hiker just threw rocks to land near them and shouted a lot.
    She said- “only food runs!”

    I think I’d be on a rather rapid walk outta there just like you!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think it depends on the situation. I wasn’t close enough to throw rocks but that’s probably what i’d have done if they had appeared more suddenly. Luckily I could see them from a fair way off and decided to put some more distance between us. Running is definitely not a good idea as you could trip and fall and it does encourage the chase although it is hard to fight the urge to run. Stand tall and walk away was my approach.

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