05 October 2012

World Animal Day

Thursday, October 4 was World Animal Day. Most of you reading this, if you know me even a little, know I love animals. One of the best parts of motorbiking to and from Alaska was the wildlife viewing from the bike as I rode through the beautiful landscapes. I have learned something crucial about wildlife in the great white north vs wildlife here at home. Every animal I saw alongside the road this summer in Canada and Alaska either stayed put as I approached or, and this was more likely, ran like hell away from the road. Once I returned to Colorado, however, I frequently came across herds of deer I had to slow down or even stop for.

Once I got back to Colorado, I started working with a group called Historicorps, restoring parts of an historic lodge in Jefferson County. Some nights I spent near the worksite and some nights I returned to Denver. Regardless of where I was coming from in the mornings, I became quite alert to deer in the area, as I often saw them near or on the road, and they inevitably would turn TOWARDS me. Colorado deer=not so smart!

Yesterday, after a great day of riding down near the Springs, I headed back home via that same highway I took every morning of that project. A couple of miles from Pine Junction, where the highway meets 285, a deer charged onto the road and hit me. I had been looking in to the right side of the road, up the hill for animals and saw him way too late to do anything about the situation. It was a buck and out of the corner of my eye as I saw it come at me, and then watching it in my rear view mirror, it looked small. But he had, what I was told later, a nice rack. Heh, heh. His head was down and he hit me on the left side in the hand with his antlers, and my leg with his body. I screamed in my helmet, no lie. I saw him kind of roll around the back of the bike and scramble up the hill to my right, so I hope he was okay. I really hope he was okay.

I managed to keep the bike upright and on the road My hand was swollen by the time I got home and my hand guard is bent and the metal bracket is torn. Relatively lucky outcome I would say. I checked out the ADV Rider forum threads regarding people who had hit animals while riding, and surprisingly this happens fairly often with bucks. Other animals are often hit broadside because they happened to be crossing the road at the wrong time. It seems, however, that bucks hit to the side--not all of them fairing quite as well as my guy did.

When I got home, I flipped the chicken calendar to October, as it hadn't been done yet. That was when I noticed it was World Animal Day. I feel like maybe that buck didn't think I was doing enough to show my appreciation that day, and decided to teach me a lesson.

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