Is selfie derived from "self"ish?

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 11:04:42 06/02/16

In Reply to: I want to take a selfie soooo bad. posted by F. Gump

Mr. Gump,

I spent the weekend in Denali.

On Saturday, I hiked the Savage River Loop trail, and noticed 3 women on a low ridgeline, accessible via a social trail that goes beyond the bridge that marks the end of the formal trail. I decided to go check out the view from that ridgeline, since it would have visibility to about a 3/4 to 1 mile drainage to the north. As I started uphill, the women were proceeding downhill toward me. We met in the middle, and exchanged greetings. I asked them what they had seen from their viewpoint, hoping that they had spied wildlife. One of the 30ish hikers told me all they saw was something "glacier-like" (turned out to be a large remnant snowfield immediately adjacent to the river). I asked if they had seen any critters, and as they were replying "No", I observed a dall sheep ewe on the ridgeline just below where the women had been standing. I said "did you see that dall sheep over there", and they replied with exclamations of surprise and excitement. We stood and watched as 3 or 4 other ewes came into view, accompanied by 3 lambs. One lamb was probably several weeks old, but the two smaller ones couldn't have been more than a day or two old. The lambs were playing with each other, jumping around and kicking up their heels. It was one of those drop dead gorgeous moments in the wild; and then "she" showed up. A woman with what sounded like a Texas accent and an I-Pad, came toward us, and started taking photos. I was busily changing lenses, so I could use my tele-zoom to acquire the ideal images. Unfortunately, this woman proceeded to keep moving closer to the sheep. Initially, I thought she was just moving to improve composition, and by the time I realized that she was absolutely clueless about how her imposing presence was going to scare the nervous moms off, the ewes, who had gotten comfortable with our presence, and laid down, were up and moving over the ridge, and out of view. By that time, a triad of very well-behaved Japanese young adults had also joined us. They spoke English, and seemed knowledgeable about wildlife viewing protocols. I should have encouraged the I-Pod toter to stay with the group, in retrospect, and my inaction allowed her to ruin a great photo and viewing opp for all of us. The original group of women left and headed back to the trailhead. Us remaining 5 went up the ridge to see just how far the sheep had retreated, and I still had my agenda to see the area to the north. The sheep had moved 25-35 yards away. Once again, the I-Pad woman started moving toward them. At this point, I decided to let the sheep teach the lesson. Each time the woman advanced, the sheep moved further away, and eventually, the ewes took the lambs almost a half mile away, out of reach of the social trail that went down the river. Frustrated at what had transpired, as much with myself as with I-Pad Woman, I finally addressed the self-defeating aggressive behavior, diplomatically. I explained how prey animals are naturally skittish, and will almost always maintain whatever distance they deem "safe" between them and humans. The I-Pad Woman had some sort of bravo/sierra excuse for her behavior, and I did not pursue some sort of guilt trip attack. My suspicion is that my words were wasted. She is likely to repeat the behavior until such time as the wildlife get through to her with their behavior. The Japanese folks seemed to already understand and embrace the learning.

The following day, I was walking the same trail, hoping the sheep would still be "around". Unfortunately, they were gone, and I never saw them again the rest of the weekend. I did see a male dall ram come striding down Mt. Margaret right toward the trail. He stopped about 100 yards uphill from a number of us hikers. There was a group of what appeared to be Indian or Pakistani folks, a large extended family, strung out along the trail. One middle aged fellow took off up the hill to get close enough to the ram to get a selfie. Thankfully, he stopped short of seriously invading the ram's space. He was probably 20-30 yards away when he got his selfie. The ram did not spook, probably because he had reached his objective, and did not want to abandon the copious mineral licks on a large rock face nearby. Also, he had the entire sprawling hillside above and to both sides he could retreat to if he so desired. The photog's wife and family stood near me. Many were yelling at him to come back. Others were getting a giggle out of it.

Ironically, shortly after the selfie seeker went up the hill, two other visitors started up the hillside from off to our left. One got halfway up, and retreated. The other continued until he was up above the ram and the rock face. He circled around it, and eventually came to a stop. He didn't appear to even have a camera or phone with him. He just stood there, as the ram started moving laterally, just below him perhaps 40-50 yards away. The human just stayed put, and eventually, the ram started grazing peacefully, and pretty much ignored the fellow. I had been telling the assembled crowd down below how if you give wildlife their space, often they will become comfortable with your presence, and tolerate it. This was like having a straight man.


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