Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
eschewing obfuscation
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
like many others, for me, seeing wildlife while on my mnt. bike is among the great joys of the sport. hoping that this thread can be an ode to the wild critters of the carolinas whom we share the woods with and a forum for tales of charasmatic megafauna and microfauna alike. would prefer, in the event that anyone cares, to avoid stories of snakes getting stampeeded, racoons being spooked silly, etc. thanks! :thumbsup:

www.zipcodezoo.com
 

·
eschewing obfuscation
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sjanes said:
do "tomatoes" count?
tomatoes are from the genus lycopersicon (nightshade family) and aren't endemic to the carolinas; moreover, they are examples of flora, not fauna, stephen. if by tomatoes you are referring to the extreme tomato, j.l., then yes, such a sighting totally counts!
 

·
When did you get here?!?!
Joined
·
1,691 Posts
My wife and I were on our first overnight Pisgah ride and we saw a total of four bears in one day. Our route to the first two: from Bent Creek->5000->Spencer->Trace->1206->Laurel->Pilot... at the quad-switchback I came to a stop to wait for Erinna (who wasn't cleaning switchbacks at the time) and two baby bears ran up the tree right above the rock everyone stops at to enjoy the view, about 25 feet away from me. Erinna got there seconds later, I pointed them out to her and without missing a beat she asked with wide eyes 'Where's Mama?' 'I don't know.' Then we took off and she cleaned all the switchbacks all the way to the second overlook ;)
The route continued Pilot->1206->276->477->Club Gap. We had gotten a late start so we went looking for a place to pitch the tent and were walking on the bottom of Club near the Pink Beds and a big bear stepped onto the trail only 10-15 feet ahead of us. We just stood there silently. It didn't see/hear/smell us and was walking away. A moment later a second MUCH LARGER bear stepped up onto the trail and I screamed out loud like a little girl. The 2nd bear must have been over 300 pounds. The bears ran away and my dignity was more than a little bruised.....

I've got novels worth of stories. Rattlesnakes? Bobcats? Coyotes? want more?
 

·
slakDawg
Joined
·
469 Posts
This little feller was at my feet when we stopped at the overlook on the tippy-top of the Black Mountain trail.

Jon said, "hey, isn't that a rattler by your feet".

 

·
eschewing obfuscation
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
pisgahproductions said:
My wife and I were on our first overnight Pisgah ride and we saw a total of four bears in one day. Our route to the first two: from Bent Creek->5000->Spencer->Trace->1206->Laurel->Pilot... at the quad-switchback I came to a stop to wait for Erinna (who wasn't cleaning switchbacks at the time) and two baby bears ran up the tree right above the rock everyone stops at to enjoy the view, about 25 feet away from me. Erinna got there, I pointed them out to her and without missing a beat she asked with wide eyes 'Where's Mama?' 'I don't know.' Then we took off and she cleaned all the switchbacks all the way to the second overlook ;)
The route continued Pilot->1206->276->477->Club Gap. We had gotten a late start so we went looking for a place to pitch the tent and were walking on the bottom of Club near the Pink Beds and a big bear stepped onto the trail ahead of us. It didn't see us and was walking away. A moment later a second MUCH LARGER bear stepped up onto the trail and I screamed out loud like a little girl.It must have been over 300 pounds. The bears ran away and my dignity was more than a little bruised.....

I've got novels worth of stories. Rattlesnakes? Bobcats? want more?
thanks, eric; this story is exactly what i was hoping for! your contribution to this fledgling thread is analogous to your contributions to adventure riding in western north carolina in general... pioneering and rad! thanks! i'd love to hear more; if you want to write, i want to read!
here's one from my collection:
last spring, i was riding up clawhammer with a local fast guy; he is a beast of a rider and, historically, if we ever see anyone on 2 wheels ahead of us, then my friend MUST pass or his ego is at risk of wilting like frosted flakes left in milk too long. so we saw a figure off in the distance - perhaps a quarter mile ahead - and began cranking to catch him/her. the ride had just begun and we were barely warm when we first spotted the kryptic figure; because i had to ride above LT to simply keep my friend's wheel, my thinking became increasingly muddled and i found myself - once again - wondering why every ride i do with this guy must induce vomit. in any event, we pedaled and pedaled and pedaled, thinking surely we would catch the rider ahead. one mile down, two and now, approaching three... we caught another brief glimpse or two along the way yet the distance between us only increased. my friend stopped, waited for a bit for me to catch up, and remarked, 'that guy is fast; with the exception of sam, nobody gaps me on clawhammer.' i rejoiced, realizing that my buddy had conceded defeat and our pace to black mnt and the many miles thereafter would involve a less nauseating pace. we forgot about the would-be pace setter and continued on our way until, rather suddenly, we realized who we were chasing. there was a steaming pile of scat the size texas, chocked with seeds, smack in the middle of the double track. not a minute later, down came the biggest black bear i'd ever seen! 300lbs sounds right, though i would've believed 600lbs at the sight of this boar! he was agitated, it appeared, and was now heading downhill, towards us (and his scat pile), more or less, and making snortling noises. the bear wasn't charging us, per se, nor was his agitation due to us, yet he seemed cranky and was doubling back. my friend and i puckered up and watched in amazement as this bear ran downhill, off trail, at mock speed. he undoubtedly saw us, yet paid us no attention and ran past us at no greater than 100yds. what blew me away was not only the size of this particular bear, but rather, his downhillin' acumen. the slope must've been 40 degrees and choked with deadfalls yet this bear would've passed steve peat like he was standing still. i've seen a lot of bears, yet this was the biggest, baddest and most talented i've ever encountered. while black bears are rather benign in the big scheme of things, it was awesome to have an encounter where we not only realized that we weren't the toughest guys on the trail but rather, we weren't the best mnt. bikers either.
 

·
drunken pirate
Joined
·
1,414 Posts
My Bear Story

Last year I was riding Laurel after work with my dog, as we approached Sassafras Gap the sun was setting and I was thinking it was just about time to turn around. My dog had been running ahead of me and as I rounded the bend into the gap I saw him face to face with a large black bear.

Before I had time to react the bear growled, stood and charged my dog. My dog faded left a little and then charged the bear right back. There I was on Laurel at sunset and my dog was fighting a bear, not exactly what I had in mind for the ride. I yelled and threw stuff and tried to get my dog to follow me down the trail but he wouldn't turn his back on that bear. For what seemed like an eternity they went back and forth charging each other. It was a blur of teeth and claws and growls but eventually my dog forced the bear to retreat back over the knob.

He came trotting down to me looking very proud with his tail held high. I was very worried that the bear might have gotten him with a paw but I checked him out and he was just fine. The next day I went out and bought him a bear bell.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
671 Posts
Last year's Fat Tire Festival in Dupont.... I rode the short course with my nine year old son. Very near the end of the ride, he's leading me by about 10 yds and I notice this right in front of him.



Do I warn him and risk him stopping or freaking out? I decide to yell - "keep going don't stop", so he RUNS OVER the snake... I think the snake had already been run over and was at this point paralyzed, but I didn't know that until I went back and took the picture and the snake never moved.He was certainly living as his tounge was darting in and out, but I think he was incapable of moving... Funny thing is I didn't hear of anyone else running over him in front of us so maybe nobody else noticed.
 

·
Official Cooler Inspector
Joined
·
2,652 Posts
I've seen a lot of animals close up while bike riding/hiking, but only two close encounters have caused me freeze with indecision.

My first experience was back in the early 80's. While living in central Illinois, biking was my transportation of choice. My job was ten flat miles on quiet back roads surrounded by corn fields with island-like patches of woods. One afternoon riding home, I heard a soft rhythmic whooshing noise behind me. This went on for quite some distance. The corn was very high and I could not detect any machinery in the field. I turned around to see a large owl bearing down on me with its eyes focused and talons spread wide open. I did what any scared person do - screamed and slammed on the brakes. It went over me, veered off and landed on a power pole. Still staring as I inched by. I stopped taking that particular road for a long time.

About ten years ago, I made a run up North Boundary to Five Points just before dark. As I was returning, a weird shape went in front of me and smacked the leaves to my right. I saw an owl (very similar to the attached pic) catch a mouse. It landed in a low tree limb about five feet ahead. I tried to ride or walk past, but it would spread its wings and hiss every time I moved. It completed eating the mouse and flew off. I rode as fast as I could down that mountain in the dark.

Amazing how good your night vision becomes when you're in a hurry!

Though I’ve had experiences with little owls and bats swooping at us or buzzing camp sites, having a big quiet bird with claws stare you down affirms night critters superiority.

I think owls are awesome! Well, that excludes the freaking screech owl that likes hanging out in the tree next to my bedroom every summer....

:incazzato:

Oh, the second animal? I fear wild pigs more than anything out there. Luckily, we don’t have an issue with them around here. Yet.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Blue Ridge Parkway - 3 cool sights

While this was on my road bike, we are talking about 2 wheels. I had an appointment in Asheville in the early afternoon and decide to bring the bike just in case I got done early. Huge rain storm blew through and removed all the tourists. I had had the road almost completely to my self. About 5 miles south of Craggy Gardens, one after another, animals were everywhere. First, all along the road were the brightest orange salamanders, they were everywhere. During the salamanders, a frighten turkey decided to run the road in front of me (just to the left of my front wheel). All I could picture was "that guy" in the Tour running the climb with the leaders. Lastly, was Momma and 2 cubs on the side of the road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
280 Posts
rippin' bennett

rippin' bennertt, make the turn before the drop...three huntin' dogz pop out of the rhodo on the right...bust out front and hit fifth gear..they ALL hit the big side...Brapppoowwooww meant new things to me after that. Ask Eric about the really big house cat in North Mills near the Hendo Reso. Wink!

Ben
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,336 Posts
Too many to count.
I've seen at least one bear every year for the past 10.
A few other cool ones:

Stopped in the middle of Hickory Top to adjust something. There for about 10 minutes. Look down to my right, there's a baby fawn cowering immediately next to me just off trail the whole time.
Swimming at High Falls (name??) one summer, huge hellbender sharing the pool with us.
Last year coming down frozen parkway at night with poss after a bunch of riding around Mills River, WildCat perched on guardrail, must have jumped 10 feet in the air.

In Arizona:
Night riding, ripping down trail, come around corner, Elk straddling trail. Chose to steer off into the stratosphere rather than hit Elk. Face hit tree, full speed. Ouchy.
Saw a mountain lion on a trail system extremely close to town (Flagstaff). Reported to FS, they tranq'd it and relocated it- sent me a letter thanking me for my report!

That's all for now.
 

·
When did you get here?!?!
Joined
·
1,691 Posts
redriderbb said:
rippin' bennertt, make the turn before the drop...three huntin' dogz pop out of the rhodo on the right...bust out front and hit fifth gear..they ALL hit the big side...Brapppoowwooww meant new things to me after that. Ask Eric about the really big house cat in North Mills near the Hendo Reso. Wink!

Ben
Holy crap Ben! Were you on the bobcat ride? Man, I need to start writing this stuff down. :D
 

·
Beer drinking biker!
Joined
·
256 Posts
The coolest wildlife experience I had was out at Tsali a few years back. It was a quieter day and I was riding through a curve and saw something run across the trail. It caught my attention and I slowly stopped and looked into the woods. About 15 feet away stood a bobcat staring at me. We both just stared at each other for over a minute until he decided to wander off into the woods. Beautiful cat and it was a nice peaceful moment with him. I hope he's doing well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Salamanders and Skinks

I am known to be long-winded so I'll keep the list brief. For years I have been waiting for someone to ask me exactly this question so here's my response.

1st person to report seeing wild hogs in DuPont. Eight the first time, three adults and five piglets, and I don't know, six the second; momma and five piglets. It was fun trying to catch a piglet. If I did manage to get one, I really don't know what the hell I would do at that point. But it would make for a good story.

Seventeen bears in three days hiking and riding my road bike in the Smokies. At least half of those were cubs.

Saw a deer swim across the Broad River in Columbia while riding at Harbison State Forest.

Rode alongside a coyote above Sunburst on FSR 97. That was pretty cool. At first he looked back because he thought he had heard something. Then his pace quickened realizing that there was indeed something with him. And then he ran full throttle down the trail and into the bush as I continued along the forest service road. I have a similar bear story coming down Heart Break after a 30-mile solo single-speed excursion. Bear and I both sharing the same slice of single-track. I literally could have touched him if the trail was not so jarring. He turned right into the Rhodo's and I kept straight. This was right above Star Gap. Speaking of Star Gap.... remember seeing all those loose goats while we were doing the the trail work in preparation for the 2008 ORAMM? That was weird.

I have seen so many poisonous snakes that the novelty has worn off. With this being said, I still come close to $h!tt!ng my pants as I manage to narrowly miss them.

The other thing that causes me to $h!t my pants are freakin' ruffed grouse. And I know you guys know what I'm talking about. They're like invisible helicopters taking off two feet away from you. Straight for your head. And.... I know they're having fun while they're doing it.

In the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area three years ago, both of my dogs, A Dobbie and a Great Dane/ Lab mix, chased two bears on two separate occasions on the same day and same hike to their near exhaustion. I have ridden mountain bikes with my pooches for several years. A few 20 mile days in fact, and although they're older now, I have never seen them as tired as they were that day after running after those bears. When they decided to come back and find their master they quite frankly laid down on the trail, foaming at the mouth, and were like, "I don't know what your plans are but we're staying here." I actually had to let them recover for more than fifteen minutes and then hustle to make it out at a decent time. Our hike involved some vertical ladders and I remember being pissed about all their slobber. Ask around, I recently painted a single-speed in my Doberman's honor. The time in which the bike was completed coincided with her death. She was struck by a car while she reportedly chased coyotes from our property. She was a hell of a dog. And had more than a few scars to prove it.
 

Attachments

·
Official Cooler Inspector
Joined
·
2,652 Posts
Glad I'm not a roadie! I have heard a lot of stories about salamanders and fairy shrimp in Richmond Hills... be careful out there. :winker:
 

Attachments

·
Happy, in the woods.
Joined
·
251 Posts
Last June I saw fresh cougar prints at rocky fork.
It had rained the night before, sun came up and baked the ground for a few hours before I rolled through. I stopped to dislodge a stick from the rear wheel and noticed the tracks plain as day trotting up the old road bed. They weren't muddy tracks, but the ground was still damp, had they been from the night before they would have been washed out. I bet I missed him by a couple hours. Good chance that cat will live his whole life without being seen by a human. This was one of the last rides I went on without bringing the camera. While I didn't see the animal, it was still the coolest wildlife encounters I've had in a while.
 

·
dead weight
Joined
·
731 Posts
I think the most uncommon sighting I've had is seeing a wolf on a trail in Virginia. It's very rare that they be seen. It was during a time when hunters are training hounds so maybe the wolf was being run ragged and that's the only reason we saw it.

The more common animals I've encountered are Turkey, Deer, Bear, Rattlers, black rat snakes.

Despite having ridden Pisgah regularly for many years I've never seen one of those fabled white squirrels. Do they really exist?
 

·
pronounced may-duh
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
I've seen the white squirrel. My kids preschool teacher lives in Arden off Brevard road near long shoals road. There are some living in his subdivision. They are more popular in Brevard and Hendersonville. I guess they also range as far north as Arden.

Back in NYC we had black squirrels. No kidding!
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top