Wildlife Encounters Along the Trail

Over the past year I have encountered a lot of wildlife along the trail and was fortunate enough to catch some of them on camera.  The speed and quietness of riding a bike will often give you an advantage in encountering wildlife that usually doesn't see or hear you until they are in close range.  I have seen more deer while riding my bike than I have while out hunting and I think that is because of the stealth that riding a bike quietly down the trail gives you.  This is one of the reasons I enjoy heading to the trails that travel through the woods and the country, but I have seen plenty of wildlife in the city as well.

Most of my encounters have been with deer but I have come across many turkeys, bald eagles, golden eagles, owls, trumpeter swans and more squirrels and rabbits than I can count.  There have been numerous snakes sunning themselves on the warm asphalt in the afternoon but I failed to get any photos of them because they usually look like a twig or stick until I passed by them.

One of the more unusual encounters was when my wife and I were riding along the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail and my wife felt something on the top of her shoe while she was pedaling.  It seems that a chipmunk crossing the trail had jumped up onto her shoe and climbed to the top of it hanging on for dear life as she pedaled along.  She looked down and was very surprised to see the little guy clinging on tightly with his claws.  Startled, she gave a little kick sending him into the tall grasses on the side of the trail.  I was following behind her about a block away and was wondering what this strange action was, she stopped in the trail and I caught up to her where she told me what had happened.  She said she was moving at 16 mph when she picked up her passenger, that took some acrobatics on the part of the chipmunk to pull that maneuver off.

Scan the trail ahead of you looking for movement and you will see some wildlife you may have missed if you weren't paying attention.  With today's cell phones and smartphones most of us have a camera while out riding anyway, so why not get some pictures.  If you have any photos of wildlife you have encountered while out on a ride, e-mail them to me with the date and location (include the name of the trail) of the photo and I will put them together in future posts.

Here are some of the better photos from the past year and the locations of the trails I had my encounters.  

Afton Alps
Hastings, MN

Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail
Eden Prairie, MN

Minnesota River Bottoms
Bloomington, MN

Mississippi River Regional Trail
Inver Grove Heights, MN

Cannon Valley Trail
Welch, MN

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Bloomington , MN


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