In a heartwarming moment of wild animal encounters, a paddling Samaritan picked up an exhausted northern hawk owl from the frigid Lake Tuusula in Finland. Local Pentti Taskinen placed him on the bow of the boat and paddled him over to the safety of land, where the young owl rested for a while before flying back into the forest.
This strange (and adorable) event happens more than one would think. Paddlers (including C&K’s online editor) have plucked a few squirrels and chipmunks from the quick currents of Maine’s rivers, paddling to shore with the soaked creatures nestled on their spray skirts.
“It was hilarious and awesome. Poor little dude was almost dead,” said Massachusetts paddler Dan Boisvert. He shot a photo as crew member Barrett Phillips paddled the chipmunk to safety on the Dead River in Maine two summers ago. “Barrett took off like a rocket, and it was all I could do to catch her fast enough to get the photo.”