Anyhow Roland got interested in the Lawson Trek, and he offered to help us get a couple camera traps in the field to gather info on the animals that hang around a spot where Lawson was. Then we can leave them in the field for a few weeks, and when I walk to them I'll gather them back up and return them. Meanwhile, we'll see what we see.
Putting them in was a treat. For one thing, Troi and I got to take an awesome walk off trail and into the bush, though for obvious reasons I will not tell you where (I will once the cameras are back home safe). We stayed pretty safe on our first placement, but the second one took us into much less traveled places, and somehow I was idiot enough to wear short pants. Poison ivy let me know I had erred, though I saw it so I tiptoed a lot. Just a couple little itchy spots, if you're wondering.
Lawson saw raccoons too, and he had this to say about them:
The Raccoon is of a dark-gray Colour; if taken young, is easily made tame, but is the drunkenest Creature living, if he can get any Liquor that is sweet and strong. They are rather more unlucky than a Monkey. When wild, they are very subtle in catching their Prey. Those that live in the Salt-Water, feed much on Oysters which they love. They watch the Oyster when it opens, and nimbly put in their Paw, and pluck out the Fish. Sometimes the Oyster shuts, and holds fast their Paw till the Tide comes in, that they are drown'd, tho' they swim very well. The way that this Animal catches Crabs, which he greatly admires, and which are plenty in Carolina, is worthy of Remark. When he intends to make a Prey of these Fish, he goes to a Marsh, where standing on the Land, he lets his Tail hang in the Water. This the Crab takes for a Bait, and fastens his Claws therein, which as soon as theRaccoon perceives, he, of a sudden, springs forward, a considerable way, on the Land, and brings the Crab along with him. As soon as the Fish finds himself out of his Element, he presently lets go his hold; and then the Raccoon encounters him, by getting him cross-wise in his Mouth, and devours him. There is a sort of small Land-Crab, which we call a Fiddler, that runs into a Hole when any thing pursues him. This Crab the Raccoon takes by putting his Fore-Foot in the Hole, and pulling him out. With a tameRaccoon, this Sport is very diverting. The Chief of his other Food is all sorts of wild Fruits, green Corn, and such as the Bear delights in. This and the Possum are much of a Bigness. The Fur makes good Hats and Linings. The Skin dress'd makes fineWomens Shooes.
So, anyhow, yeah, the whole crab thing is a complete mokeyshine, and I have strong doubts about the business about drowning when trapped by oysters. Lawson was clearly telling tales he heard from Indians or, more likely, from other Europeans. One feels one is hearing a tenderfoot Boy Scout relating tales of his excitement chasing a left-handed smoke shifter. Part of the fun of this entire enterprise is seeing how what we see compares with what Lawson saw. Sometimes the terrain has changed; others it hasn't. Sometimes Lawson describes pretty much what we see, others he sees what he expects to see (like the crab-catchin' raccoon) or what cannot be there. He mentions a tiger later on -- and in the world's best footnote of all time, the editor of my edition says via footnote, "35. There were no tigers in this region." Well, technically, if the region you speak of is the entire Western Hemisphere, right, no tigers. Thanks for pointing THAT out.
In any case, camera traps! The Lawson Trek is on the case.