Close Encounters of the Fawn Kind

by Brian Mullin on June 9, 2009

I got up early on Sunday morning for my usual long weekend ride, mostly to beat the heat of the day and the crowds. Ok, there isn’t much of a crowd up in Monument, but it is usually a bit quieter. Of course part way up to the Stoopid trail I came upon an entire herd of bikers. They were decent riders but a few of the stragglers were a bit out of their technical comfort range, and I passed them with ease. I got to my usual shortcut to the road to get to the upper trail systems, and one of the stragglers got out of my way just before the cutoff. I told her that she is just getting to the tougher technical stuff, and she had the gall to tell me was I skipping to the road because I couldn’t handle the hard part coming up? Yah, whatever! Later when I was on the road, I could hear the people down below complaining about the trail, and I thought that was way too funny! Not a place to take an intermediate on a freakin’ goat trail?

I can tell it’s Summer time when the idiots on the road start to get worse, they come by you on a narrow bumpy dirt road and never let up on the gas, not even for a split second. Courtesy and safety people. I always wish I could flip out a Forest Service Ranger badge (as a fully deputized officer) and stop them for a severe lashing.

After the ugly road encounters, I was enjoying the solitude of some sweet singletrack on the Mule trail, and I had a nice pull up a long stretch of singletrack, that got the heart rolling up to a nice high level. I took a short food and rest break, and then got ready for the downhill fun. As I was cruising down the trail, and I saw this spotted object in the trail in front of me. At first I thought it’s a dead rabbit or something like that.

I veered away from it, and as I passed it, I saw that it was a Fawn. I got off my bike and checked it out, and it was just sleeping and resting in the middle of the trail. I walked around the area thinking maybe the Doe (Mom) might be hurt or worse, but I never saw anything.

As I wandered around some more I see a second and much larger Fawn hidden a bit better in the nook of an Evergreen tree.

Figuring Mom was close by, I left the very cute Fawns to themselves. I figured they were around a 1-2 weeks old (my best guess). A very cool encounter!

They still looked healthy at the time, so I don’t think they were orphaned? I hope they are fine and survive, that would be sad for them to perish, but rearing an animal is a task in itself and can cause other issues due to human interaction. It was at least a good 2 mile trudge to get to that spot where I found the twins, so it would be an arduous rescue.

Fawns are often found alone, because they do not flee from danger until about 14 days of age, and they do not forage with their mother until they are older. To escape detection a fawn lies motionless in tall grass or other cover. Its spotted coat helps it blend into its surroundings by imitating dappled sun on vegetation. Does leave their fawns unattended for several hours at a time.

I continued on down the trail and kept coming upon bark strewn across the trail in places, I am thinking perhaps a Bear was foraging for bugs? I am glad I did not have a close encounter with a Bear, and especially with some Bear cubs.

I was really enjoying the downhill section of the Mule trail. I love the slow speed braking on the tight switchbacks, the super skinny trail on the steep hillsides and the extremely fun shots deep in the trees. After getting back to Limbaugh proper, and following the trail around to Inspiration Point, I started up the long technical grunt up Colonels Revenge.

Sometime since the previous weekend some horse traffic has really trashed the trail. The trail is not wide enough for horses, nor was it ever created with a 1500 pound animal in consideration. In addition they tend to go up there when the trail is wet and leave very deep hoof marks, and it takes us weeks or months to get the trail back in shape after just a few encounters like that .

Well at least the flowers were out!

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