Monday, November 14, 2011

Frolicking With The Woodland Creatures

Super Spore Station!
This past weekend was pretty terrific for riding, which is saying something for mid-November in Iowa! So, I put in a long ride at the Camp.

The trees have shed all their foliage, and the underbrush is all dead, so sight-lines through the woods are maximized now. Combine this with the annual deer mating season, and those leaping does and statuesque bucks are easily spotted.

It isn't all that unusual to see a deer or three up at The Camp while riding at any time of the year, but now activity is heightened. One deer aficionado explained it to me like this; "Imagine you are 13-17 years old once every year." Uh-huh........gotcha! 

Deer were spotted almost immediately upon my entrance to the single track, and that didn't stop until I left. I saw upwards of six doe deer at first, and they seemed to keep running in front of me, despite the twisting and turning of the trail. Every so often I would  roust them into action again and they would bound through the trails and forest floor up ahead, until I couldn't see them. Then the whole scene would repeat itself again up the loop.  

Many of the trees had this break-line. Any clues?
Lap #1 saw the smallish group of deer leaping and bounding around in front of me, which was kind of cool, but I felt bad for them. They never seemed to get that if they would go the other way, or just stay put, fer cryin' out loud,  that they wouldn't have to expend all this energy. Unfortunately, I rounded up even more deer on lap #2.

At first I saw the original bunch going off into the Western edge of the woods off toward the river. "Good!, I thought. They would stay down there and I'd go away in the other direction. But no. Then I saw the rest.

There were a lot more deer. At least twice as many, and then I saw him. 

That buck struck 'The Hartford" pose as he stood about 70-90 yards away staring me down. I tried counting points. I couldn't see him real clearly, since some branches were obscuring some of his rack, but he was at least a six pointer. Maybe bigger.

The doe herd was moving on, and I could see the buck turn his head slightly to mark the direction they were headed in. Then he briefly took another look at me, and suddenly, moved by his overpowering, teenage-like instincts, he bounded off after the girls. Pretty cool!

Where the Wizard's staffs grow....
Those crazy deer were still going round right along my path, and now I had a buck and twice as many doe in front of me. I was not liking my odds of being KO'ed by an angry buck, or blindsided by some scared deer. So, I took a break and did a bit of photographing. I figured the deer would disperse, or get outta my way!

Well, most of them did, but a small group of younger doe deer just didn't get the program. I kept seeing the same three or four running alongside me, or jumping into action just as I would come around a corner. The funniest thing happened when I was grunting, (literally), up a short, steep climb. When I reached the top, there was a sharp right hander, and as I went around it, I saw to my right, down the hill, three doe deer watching me. The grunting and heavy breathing apparently didn't scare them off and I was embarrassed to find I had an audience. (Well, actually, I thought it was funny.)

Then I entered into the newer trail sections again. These are going to be really great when they get burned in. It adds a nice bit to the original loop, but right now, it is bumpy after getting pounded in by the few riders that have been over it. It will smooth out though. Give it time....

And the ride ended just like it started. One lone doe leaping away in front of me. If only I could harness some of that grace and power.....


mw said...

so what you're saying is don't email you till the 25th?

Guitar Ted said...

@mw: Yes. When you see the list go up on the T.I. site that lists all finishers, then e-mail me. (That'll be on November 25th)

john said...

We can't thank Karmen, Rob, Allen, Paul and the rest for the good work at The Camp.
A little later in the year we have seen groups of 30-40 deer at a time - What a treasure The Camp is.

Guitar Ted said...

@john: Yes- we can thank them by using proper sign in procedures at the kiosks, paying our trail pass dues, and making sure others do likewise.

We can also show up for trail day maintenance and put in our own sweat equity. I'm signed up for the next trail day maintenance myself. I encourage you and your team to do the same.

john said...

Mark -
Glad to hear that your are going to join in the local MTB effort/scene. We can always use the support.

Guitar Ted said...

@john: If you had actually been at the Trail day last fall at the Camp, you would have known that I already am involved in the local mtb scene.

I have been a supporter of the Camp trails since "day one", when I worked with Tim and Ward Budweg on initial planning, and have been involved off and on since that time.

I've spoken with Karmen and Paul on numerous occasions, giving my considered opinions and advice when asked.

I've promoted the trails through this blog and the shop as well. I pay my dues for passes and sign in and out as required.

I've also volunteered at the race out there, or perhaps you've forgotten. (?)

It isn't something I feel the need to trumpet, I just do it.

Now you know.

SS:Mtn Biker said...

This post makes me long for my ol regular loops at the Breaks Interstate Park! Like the Camp,the Breaks always has lots of deer activity this time of year. What's spooky though,is later,when the trails are snow covered (and it would be easy for someone who DIDN'T kow the trails like his hand's back) when it's coyotes following you,rather than deer leading you,LOL!


mw said...

the internet is great

Chad Q said...

I have to agree MW !! Ain't it great!! The internet that is.

Travel Gravel said...

Those trees might have been improperly girdled by someone. Or somebody got a new knife, and was looking for stuff to cut up. You know how it is with new tools, you're just looking for something to do with them. Cool spiral cut. Later!