Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Riding for Deer Life

My new favorite ride leader Teresa took four of us (me, her, Robert, Steve) up to Cogswell Dam in the Angeles National Forest. Twenty miles uphill, twenty miles back. The last half mile or so, along a paved fire road, was by far the steepest climb I ever did.

Cold weather, beautiful scenery, blah blah blah. The interesting stuff happened on the way back down. Teresa was a little ahead of me on the fire road when she stopped to see a young deer. I quickly and quietly stopped to pull out my cel phone camera to snap a photo before the deer ran away.

Pretty amazing I was able to snap the pictute, huh? Um, no. This deer wasn't going anywhere. He let us pet him as he dug through our Bento boxes looking for food. We didn't give him anything that might make him sick, but I did let him drink from my water bottle. I then realized I probably shouldn't drink out of it on the ride home. He started licking my hand, probably responding to the salt, and even started suckling on my thumb for a bit. Awww, how adorable.

Now let's pause here for a moment. When you're in the middle of the woods and a wild animal comes up to you, as a general rule it's probably not a good idea to stick your fingers in its mouth. I was reminded of this when the precious little fawn bit me. You have no idea how hard these cute creatures can bite. (Twelve hours later, my thumb was still throbbing.)

The deer bite didn't really break skin, but he did split my fingernail, and after a short while it did start to bleed. Ever-helpful Steve started explaining all of the painful treatments they do for rabies. If I start foaming at the mouth, you'll know why but I prefer to think that the deer was radioactive and now I have deer-like superpowers. Like, I can eat leaves really well.

Another group of cyclists came up to pet the deer. We started to leave, but the deer started to follow us rather than stay with the other group. He obviously liked us best, or else he wanted another taste of my flesh.

The sad part of all this is that the reason why the deer was so friendly is that his mother is probably dead and he's relying on hikers for food. He will probably wind up getting shot or hit by a car someday. So if you ever come across a deer with an affinity for spandex, leave him be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno guys - it may sound mean but the kind thing to do is to teach animals to fear man. I hiss or shoo them away even if they are cute and harmless. I want them to associate humans with running away. I think that serves them better.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous brian said...

Another fun discussion to have about Bambi: Deer ticks and the transmission of lyme disease

2:56 PM  

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