Remember to Look Down / by Todd Henson

Eastern Box Turtle in the grass.

In a previous post I talked about keeping your eyes open while hiking, about staying aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to overlook opportunities if you’re too focused on looking straight ahead.

This post follows a similar theme. I encourage you to look down once in a while while you’re hiking. Often there won’t be anything down there that catches your eye, but if you don’t get into the habit of looking down you may miss golden opportunities.

If we hadn’t looked down we wouldn’t have seen this Eastern Box Turtle making its way across the trail. It was almost across the trail when we found it. But it saw us and froze, as turtles often due, retracting into its shell. We kept a little distance and stayed still, allowing the box turtle to become a little more comfortable with us, at least enough to pop its head back out far enough for a couple portraits.

Closeup of Eastern Box Turtle in the grass.

After making a few photos we went on our way and allowed the box turtle to continue its trip across the path. I didn’t want to draw too much attention to it and risk it getting injured. Box turtles are thought to be on the decline due to things like habitat loss, death on roadways, and people taking them home as pets, so we need to do what we can to help them survive.