halfway up the canyon this morning I saw a deer in the road not far before me. I slowed down, and it stared at me, watching me approach. then it glanced to my left and I looked there, too, up the hillside to where two more deer stood watching the tableau. then the deer in front of me trotted over to her friends--one of them a spike, it's velvet antlers still stick-straight and seven or eight inches tall--and I bid them a quiet good morning before slowly pedaling off.
what a great beginning to a day. it makes up for the headwind, the tired and grumpy muscles, the sweat, the gnats that crash into my eyes and cheeks and mouth.
when I turn around at the reservoir, the headwind becomes a tailwind, and the rest of the ride ranges from less-difficult-than-the-first-half to pure joy and fun.
on the way down from the summit I told myself that if I saw biking buddy bob coming up the hill I would turn around and ride back up to the top with him (I know his schedule, and knew that I would encounter him within the next mile or so). so when his bright light alerted me to his presence I slowed, turned around, and rode back up to the top with him.
at the top, a gentlemen I see regularly was resting, and the three of us exchanged good mornings, and then he said,
"did you see the bear?"
excuse me? the what??
"there was a bear down below, oh, about half a mile past the fire station."
I began mentally composing today's blog post, titling it "the bear I didn't see this morning."
how could I have missed out on seeing a BEAR? unreal. I look everywhere, I'm pretty vigilant about critters . . . oh, I was devastated. he got to see a bear; I didn't. sigh.
so bob and I began our descent, mostly riding side by side, talking, hoping against hope for a safe-and-non-threatening bear encounter.
we were chatting about his wedding anniversary and this and that, keeping an eye out for lumbering quadrupeds, when all of the sudden a lumbering brown quadruped startled and ran, not 8 feet from us, along the side of the road, turning into the space between two homes.
I saw a bear this morning on my bike ride! holy toledo.
not a cub, I'd say the bear was twice the size of a saint bernard, brown with lighter shading on its withers, not at all winter-fat but leaner, athletic looking.
so, end of story: I got to see the bear I didn't think I was going to get to see this morning, after never even considering that I might see a bear while riding my bike in emigration canyon.
woo hoo! how lucky can I be?!