My niece and I headed to North Fork Park in the evening, and enjoyed the Mule Shoe, Mule Ear, and Bicentennial trails. The trails were drying out early this year and my husband rode in the evening two weeks ago and encountered 12 moose, ranging from yearlings, to cows and bucks, big and small. With all my moose stories, Maddy was nervous about them, but I assured her that the influx of visitors have likely driven them to quieter, higher ground.
We made our clockwise loop plus the overlook on Mule, then headed to Bicentennial just up the road, and across Cutler Flats. We had the park all to ourselves and the growing evening shadows kept us cool on the steep ascents.
Once we'd made our counter-clockwise loop on Bicentennial, we headed across Cutler. Maddy spotted the yearling moose first. It was small enough that my initial impression was that we'd spotted a deer, but this little guy let us advance before darting into the insanely thick brush. We popped back into Mule Shoe instead of taking the road all the way back to the North Gate. On the way down, I spooked a buck of impressive size, with velvety, tall antlers that had begun to spread into 2 points.
We were in great spirits after our ride. Maddy had started riding clipless in May, and had overcome the initial setback one experiences in their confidence
when on the clipless pedal learning curve. At the bottom of Mule Ear, we'd done dozens of switchbacks, all of which Maddy conquered with her renewed
confidence and quickly progressing skills.
Once home, I got my shower and after drying off, I noticed a deer tick on my towel. This freaked me out a bit since I'd never had one before, and have some understanding of the seriousness of Lyme Disease. Just beware, we do have deer ticks in these mountains and check yourself if you go into the woods.