On my ride to work this morning I encountered some pathway users that I don’t often see — at least not this close.
There’s a narrow strip of pathway that goes between two houses and then leads you onto the pathway to go around the reservoir.
Right behind the two houses is a wild grassy area, and I always slow down at this exit as there are often people or dogs that wander blindly across the path. When I slowed down this morning, I saw three white tailed deer standing right next to the path.
I stopped, and could have reached out and stroked the head of one of them and the side of another, they were that close.
I’ve never been this close to deer before as they usually run off. We sat and watched each other while they munched away for a few minutes and then I rode off. Very cool.
A few minutes later, I met two more deer along the pathway behind the Rockyview Hospital. Not quite so close, but still within several feet.
Some of the other wildlife encounters I’ve had on my commutes include:
- Deer — usually seen from afar.
- Coyotes — a couple of regulars I see in the Stanley Park area. (They have better pathway etiquette than most of the dogs in that area…)
- Elk — one that leapt across the pathway and nearly gave me a heart attack.
- Canada Geese — these huge (and very territorial) birds hang out along the Glenmore Dam and the river banks. Seeing the gaggles of fluffy yellow goslings each spring is wonderful.
- Squirrels — lots and lots, but there’s one in particular who is out to get me. He seems to enjoy darting out in front of me and playing chicken every few days.
- Owl — another critter who tried to give me a heart attack. Riding past a grove of trees late at night, I almost fell off my bike when it let out a very loud WHOOOO!
- Snakes — little garter snakes.
- Earthworms — completely un-noteworthy until…. they gang up on you in the thousands and congregate on the pathways during rainstorms. (They make the pathway very slippery…)
- Wolves — I saw them on the Glenmore Reservoir last winter when it was frozen over. It was quite amazing to sit and watch them.
- Hawks and falcons — often see them circling their prey.
- Mole? Maybe a shrew or a vole? Not sure which it was, but something long and dark with a pointy nose and short legs darted across the pathway one evening.
- Crowds of drunk, bikini-clad teenagers dragging their rafts along the pathways. One of the outcomes of riding pathways that follow the river.
And people wonder why I prefer to cycle to work than drive or take transit…