Mountain Biking with Rattlesnakes

This afternoon while mountain biking down Big Cottonwood Creek, I passed an emphatic rattling sound.  I know other animals besides the rattlesnake mimic the rattlesnake’s sound, and I have heard them many times.  This, however, got me off my bike and walking back.  It was not hard to find because the moment I started walking back it started up on it’s rattle again.  It was about 4 feet off the trail.

This was the most intimate personal encounter I have ever had with a rattlesnake on my own.  It was and is an impressive creature.  I am SO VERY UPSET that I didn’t think to flip my camera to VIDEO mode and capture the entirety of the experience.  I am kicking myself for that.

This is a Great Basin Rattlesnake


Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

The Indian Paintbrush is especially widespread and vibrant this year on the ridge between Cave Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon. (Idaho).

I just learned, through a bit of reading, that they have a parasitic relationship with Sagebrush in areas where water is not plentiful. They apparently steal moisture from the roots of the sagebrush.


Because it was 55 degrees outside and snow was forecast for the next day, I decided to go for a mountain bike ride instead of staying at my desk to get some important work done. I figured it would be my last chance before winter officially descended on the area.

Midway through the ride a bush and I had a disagreement. I thought I could power through the edge of it but it stopped me completely. When I tried to step out to my left, I couldn’t unclip fast enough and the step was down slope so I went tumbling off the edge. The front sprocket decided to do a number on my lower leg with a nice little puncture wound. I couldn’t get the bleeding stopped easily after I finally got it cleaned up so I went in and had a couple of stitches put in.

That’ll teach me to think twice before leaving my desk next time.

I need to find an orange vest

I’ve really been missing my frequent mountain bike rides so when I arrived home from my trip, I immediately headed out to the hills.  Here is a view from the trailhead parking lot:

I took a new little camera today that is built for the outdoors.  I hung it from my camelback and TRIED to shoot without unclipping it.  As you can see, I didn’t do a great job on my first attempt!

As I neared the top of my climb I ran into some hunters coming down the road I was on.  I asked them if I could take a picture of them.  I wish it had turned out better.  These poor people sat there for a couple of minutes while I fumbled around with my camera.  I couldn’t figure out, with my foggy glasses on, why it was not snapping the photo.  A yellow box repeatedly showed upon the screen around the Deer head.  Yeah, you guessed it,  I accidentally had it set on “pet” mode and it was waiting for the dead deer to turn its head to the camera! Ha!  I found out later that the glass covering the lens was all fogged up with sweat/moisture.  Oh well.. it still captures the moment. 

I was most looking forward to photographing a particular section of trail that I had photographed several times with my cell phone camera. I thought today it would be a complete carpet of color and was excited to point a higher megapixel camera at the scene.  To my surprise however, the trees were mostly bare and the leaves had all turned brown, matching the color of the ground for the most part. 


At least the traction today was as good as ever!  The sandy parts had really taken a lot of moisture.  Had I not rammed my head and shoulder into a particular tree, I would have made it up the certain challenging section that I have not made it up once this year.  Maybe tomorrow? 

This new little camera has an “interval” setting so I just let it dangle from my pack, taking a shot every 10 seconds as I descended back to the truck.  I didn’t put it on sport mode on purpose.  I was hoping for a blurry picture.  (experimenting) 

The weather was GREAT!  I learned a bit more about the camera.  I know I need to find an orange vest to wear for the rest of this year.  I will be going again as soon as possible.  🙂

Another Ride 9/27/10

I decided to sneak in another mountain bike ride on Monday before heading out-of-town on business Tuesday.  I will be gone for 6 days and will miss the chance to ride.  

I photograph this section of the trail nearly every time I go now.  You can see that the bed of leaves is building!

Here is a cell phone shot at the same point, but looking up at the trees that are depositing these leaves.  I wish I would have had a better camera at this point because I do like how this particular picture is shaped. 


Well, it was another evening of mountain biking! I went to what has become my favorite ride of this season.

I got out of the truck and looked up at these aspen trees…

Soon into the ride, I had to stop, pull my phone out, and try to capture some of the color I continue to see develop on this trail week in and week out:

I wish my phone took better pictures sometimes! The red here really popped, I thought, even to my color insensitive (color blind) eyes.

One of the things that I love about mountain biking the same trail, again and again, — if it has challenging sections — is how you can monitor your fitness progress over a period of time. Tonight, I made it all the way up and through a challenging section that I had yet, this year, to make it all the way through without clipping out of my pedals. At the top of the challenge, I had to catch my breath. Throwing my head back these trees looked especially green, against the blue sky.

It was just a great ride tonight on all counts. Some of the soft dirt, with the help of moisture and a lack of traffic, was quite firm tonight. I especially liked the leaf fall that is just starting on this little section of the trail. In a few weeks, I can imagine it will be a bed of yellow.

After getting back from tonight’s ride, I showered very quickly. I wanted to head back out to see tonight’s harvest moon. I was disappointed that it was up, before the sun had completely set, but it was still worth the trip out. Perhaps it makes a better photograph when there is still a bit of sunlight available to light up the landscape anyway. (I know nothing about moon photography, other than I’ve heard it is tough!)

Is it easy to tell this picture was NOT taken with my cell phone camera?

While taking this picture, a somewhat creepy young fellow pulled up beside me in his pickup. I had seen him circling slowly around on the same dirt road I was parked on. His greeting just seemed a bit off, and he made me nervous. I guess he just wanted to strike up a conversation and tell me about the great deer he had seen over yonder. Having watched too many Dexter episodes lately I was sure he was going to pull a gun from off the seat and do a thrill kill for himself, but instead he pulled up some camouflaged binoculars instead and looked away. I’ve been noticing what I imagine to be hunters, out scoping out sites. I don’t know when hunting season starts, but it will likely overlap with my mountain biking. Ugh… I better start riding with an orange vest in a week or two.

Tomorrow night I’m going to chase the moon again. I believe it will come up a bit later, after the sun has actually gone down. I want to see that flaming red-orange ball surface just above the horizon line.

Feeling Good in the Mountains

I went mountain biking this evening up to Mt. Harrison / Pomerelle and all things converged to make it a great ride. (Temperature, trail conditions, well rested me).

I know it goes without saying but I am just a better rider when well rested. It showed mostly in how well I was balancing and navigating the obstacles more than in aerobic fitness. It felt great!

I rode from the snowmobile parking lot up to Thompson Flats. Then crossed over the road to twin lakes and over to the ski runs where the trail crisscrosses the ski runs as you make your way down the hill and then I climbed back up to twin lakes and descended back to the truck.

Below are some shots I took on my cell phone while on the ride tonight.

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