Strange Sightings at Night- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Strange Sightings at Night

    Okay so last night I did one of my longer night rides. Full moon was out, temps were about 75'F, a beautiful night for a ride. After the ride I drove home, about 1:30Am. I decided to take a back road home because road crews were working on the main road. I wasn't bothered by this because I have off from work this week and was in no hurry to get home. The road I drove down was remote and wooded. Deer were jumping out at almost every turn so I was driving much slower with high beams a blazing. That's when I saw a very strange thing. A fox walking up the left side of the road with what looked like a plastic bottle in it's mouth.
    Now I might have been wrong. Maybe it was a Raccoon but it was definitely carrying a plastic bottle ( size of a 16-20oz bottle ).

    Conditions have been very dry lately with very little if any rain. The fox was walking toward the nearest stream.....you don't think.....No, it couldn't be...

    Seen something strange at night (?) Now's your time to speak out.

  2. #2
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    I saw something really weird lastnight. I was running along the side of the road with a soda bottle in my mouth, and saw this cat driving a car!!!!!!!!!!!
    = )

    Seriously though, I've seen some really weird stuff late at night driving on backroads.
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagemann
    I saw something really weird lastnight. I was running along the side of the road with a soda bottle in my mouth, and saw this cat driving a car!!!!!!!!!!!
    = )

    Seriously though, I've seen some really weird stuff late at night driving on backroads.
    The full moon does tend to bring out the strange stuff. Still, stuff likes this make you rake your brain trying trying to work out a believable explanation. Anyway, here's my stab at a rational if not plausible explanation:

    Joe Jerkwad is driving his car down a lonely road at night.
    He is eating a Double Mcdaff Burger and fries following that with a bottle of Deerpark.
    When Joe J. is finished the Burger, he notices the juice has gotten all over the bottle.
    Without hesitation he tosses the bottle out the window...living up to his namesake.
    An hour later the fox is walking along the road...smells what he thinks is food and picks up the bottle...
    At that moment I go driving by. A couple moments later the fox figures out he's been duped. No Cheese burger is THAT hard.....and that my friends, is the rest of the story.
    .

  4. #4
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    I do a weekly group night ride every Wednesday night. Kangaroo's, wombats, snakes, spiders, foxes, possums and owls plus a few others are all standard fare.

    Its my crazy riding mates who are responsible for the strange things I get to see!
    blah blah blah

  5. #5
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    I see a lot of wildlife at night. Two young red foxes stalking a neighbor's toy dog - the owners put it out to do its business and don't realize what's waiting for a meal. Deer eyes reflecting my lights, bounding in arcs as they run in alarm. There's one place on the trail where I see the same family of porcupines. I used to think of porcupines as loners. They've been in this one spot for years. Gotta be careful not to get too close - they look like clumps of grass but will run backwards with their quills erect to stab you as my dog found out twice. When that happens you gotta pull out the quills by hand right away while trying to avoid getting bitten.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozlongboarder
    I do a weekly group night ride every Wednesday night. Kangaroo's, wombats, snakes, spiders, foxes, possums and owls plus a few others are all standard fare.
    For Oz. Now in the US Midwest either there is something other than water in the bike's bottles, or you'd have somehow taken a route into the local zoo. The kangaroos and wombats are the give away.

    We have the others about. However, most of ourl snakes are shy and nonpoisonous: nice features.

    Cat-man-do: only french fries with a salt transfer hand to bottle would be enough to make the bottle desireable. A very likely occurence. Birds learned to open and drink from old stye milk bottles in Britain, so a water toting fox, though unlikely, is not completely implausible.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by esXso
    - ....they look like clumps of grass but will run backwards with their quills erect to stab you as my dog found out twice. When that happens you gotta pull out the quills by hand right away while trying to avoid getting bitten.
    Clarification needed on that last statement: You need to pull the quills out right away while trying to avoid getting bit by what? The dog or the porcupines?

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    i've been charged by porcupines, but not once did they ever face me in an attempt to bite. in fact, i've never heard of a porcupine biting; that is in fact, why they have quills.

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    I think he meant his dog will try to bite and the entry point when you pull on the quill
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  10. #10
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    Okay, here's another strange sighting: I was finishing up one of my regular out and back night rides tonight when just before reaching the road I saw something really strange. Someone had mounted on a tree ( not too far from the trail ) a small box ( maybe about 6"x10" long ) and the box had a red led light that was lit.

    Now it might be that I am riding an area that is off limits at night. Regardless, there are no signs prohibiting Night riding as per say. I did see some Natural Resources Police talking to some fisherman just before starting the ride but it wasn't dark when I started the ride.

    Anyway, when I saw this box. ( I couldn't miss that red led ) I stopped dead in my tracks before getting real close to it. I thought it might be some kind of camera so I put my head down, got as low as I could and got back on my bike when I was clear. Didn't see any flashes or anything but still I am worried that this trail is now being monitored.


    Anyone else have any ideas of what this might have been. I've been riding this trail for years and have never had any problems. Ummm....now that I think about it....they might be trying to catch the illegal ATV and motorcross users as I did see some wider tracks out on the trail during my ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    Okay, here's another strange sighting: I was finishing up one of my regular out and back night rides tonight when just before reaching the road I saw something really strange. Someone had mounted on a tree ( not too far from the trail ) a small box ( maybe about 6"x10" long ) and the box had a red led light that was lit.

    Now it might be that I am riding an area that is off limits at night. Regardless, there are no signs prohibiting Night riding as per say. I did see some Natural Resources Police talking to some fisherman just before starting the ride but it wasn't dark when I started the ride.

    Anyway, when I saw this box. ( I couldn't miss that red led ) I stopped dead in my tracks before getting real close to it. I thought it might be some kind of camera so I put my head down, got as low as I could and got back on my bike when I was clear. Didn't see any flashes or anything but still I am worried that this trail is now being monitored.


    Anyone else have any ideas of what this might have been. I've been riding this trail for years and have never had any problems. Ummm....now that I think about it....they might be trying to catch the illegal ATV and motorcross users as I did see some wider tracks out on the trail during my ride.

    Sounds like an I.R. (Infared) camera .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    Sounds like an I.R. (Infared) camera .
    How on EARTH could you have passed up that mooning opportunity?
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    And then we eat them."

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    Sounds like an I.R. (Infared) camera .
    *moan*...Me hopes this is not so but yeah, I thought the same thing. Anyone know what happens to an IR camera when a bright LED light is aimed at it?

    posted by rideit
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    How on EARTH could you have passed up that mooning opportunity
    Let's just say that thought was the last thing on my mind. Besides I really wasn't sure just what the thing was when I was there. However, I do intend to find out. If this was something being done by local law enforcement I have ways to find out.

    Now the really strange thing about all this was that a couple nights before I spotted the camera ( if that's what it is ) I came upon a group of people milling around back in the woods ( about 1:30am ) very near to the spot where I saw this camera. I have no idea what they were doing but they were shining some cheap LED lights around as though they were looking for something. I shone my lights at them when I went by just to let them know that they were not alone. Anyway, who knows who set that camera up but I do intend to get nosey. In the mean time I might have to find a different place for my night rides until I get more info. The last thing I want right now is for my night riding to draw attention from law enforcement types. I just want to ride my bike and be left alone.

  14. #14
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    A quick update from my last post ( above ). the camera I saw looks very much like this one (below ).
    This is the kind used for hunting...however, hunting is not allowed in the area I was riding. It is quite possible this was set up by some locals. I intend to ask some questions as I am not comfortable about having cameras ( hunting or otherwise ) set-up on a local trail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    A quick update from my last post ( above ). the camera I saw looks very much like this one (below ).
    This is the kind used for hunting...however, hunting is not allowed in the area I was riding. It is quite possible this was set up by some locals. I intend to ask some questions as I am not comfortable about having cameras ( hunting or otherwise ) set-up on a local trail.
    Park officials in my area use these things to spot wildlife they suspect to be living in the area like bears. Again, you are a fool not to moon this thing Just make sure you pop into the picture so they do not know you're there at first. They'll see it on the playback

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    Quote Originally Posted by punkaccountant
    Park officials in my area use these things to spot wildlife they suspect to be living in the area like bears.
    This occurred to me too. It doesn't explain though the coincidence of seeing people milling around back in the woods ( not on the trail that is ) with flashlights at 1:30AM.

    I have no intention of drawing attention to myself. I'm a make no waves kind of guy. However If I happened to own a pair of stilts and a life-like Big Foot costume I would be tempted to have some fun.

  17. #17
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    Don't get shot Cat. My neighbors are a little trigger happy.
    Disclaimer: Always get a second opinion cause I'm just guessing

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 00sable
    Don't get shot Cat. My neighbors are a little trigger happy.

    Actually, I rarely think about stuff like that. I worry more about riding home once I hit the road. Strangely enough though I was briefly threatened on the last ride but not by people. I was resting at the top of a hill after a climb. It was not quite completely dark yet and I looked up and saw a deer go running by from an adjacent field. Moments later two rather good sized dogs came running in hot pursuit. As soon as they saw me they started to snarl-growl and headed right for me. Without thought or hesitation I stood up and spoke out in a very stern and authoritative way the words, "SETTLE DOWN"! Oddly enough, it worked like magic. The dogs immediately did a 180 and ran down the trail the other way. While I wasn't scared I was a bit worried for a moment that I might have to fend off two mangy mutts with just my bike.

    Anyway, when I get a chance I hope to go back and take another look-see at this section of trails/woods, only this time in the day so I can try to figure out what these people were doing back in the woods.
    Now strange as it might sound I saw people back in this exact same area last year. Only that time it was a group of teenagers looking for a place to party. They saw me coming with my big lights running and got totally spooked. When I came back that way later that night they were gone.

    Obviously, there's a been a lot of nocturnal activity on this particular stretch of trail over the last weeks. A couple weeks ago when I was returning on another late night ride ( same trail ) I came up on a dome tent set-up right in the middle of the trail but not more than 300ft from the road / trail head. Since I had to ride by it I turned all my lights on high. On that night I was carrying my big guns...total about 3000+Lumens. I rode by and didn't make a sound ( nor did I hear any for that matter... ). I just let the LIGHTS do the talking!

    Sheeesh! ....I've got to find me a quieter place to ride.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 08-04-2010 at 12:22 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    A couple weeks ago when I was returning on another late night ride ( same trail ) I came up on a dome tent set-up right in the middle of the trail but not more than 300ft from the road / trail head. Since I had to ride by it I turned all my lights on high. On that night I was carrying my big guns...total about 3000+Lumens. I rode by and didn't make a sound ( nor did I hear any for that matter... ). I just let the LIGHTS do the talking!
    They probably thought (if they did at all) that no one uses this at night...we'll be fine. Time to call all your MTB friends for a lot of ride bys. Make them feel like it's the Holland Tunnel at rush hour. What if some poor schmuck's batteries died and he is wending his way on his not so good backup? Not a nice thought when too late he sees the tent and tries to bunny hop it.

  20. #20
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    Maybe do a ride during the day to check out the red light, or if you go at night take a few riding buddies along for safety. On the other hand they could just be a bunch of animal lovers trying to track the nocturnal habits of the local wildlife. Either way, be careful Cat as it does sound a bit strange.
    blah blah blah

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    Well, I went back again tonight. This time, nothing strange going on. No cameras, nothing out of the ordinary....But just wait for the next full moon.

  22. #22
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    I guess this isn't really strange, but thought I'd post it here.
    Saw a Mt Lion on our ride lastnight.
    Was sitting a few feet off the edge of the trail.
    I blasted by going about 25mph and caught a glimpse of a green glowing dot......didn't think much of it.
    Our buddy that was taking up the back of the pack decided to stop and let the dust settle for a few seconds before he continued on.
    Caught a glimpse of a green glow on the edge of the trail, and looked over with his helmet light. There it sat, majesticlly about 15 feet of the trail. He was scarred $hittless and let out a gut wrenching scream, then took off.
    I wasn't wearing my helmet light as I was letting a buddy use it on his bars for the ride......I wish I had it on as I would have seen it when I glanced at the green glow.
    It's eye was illuminated by my bar light just enough that it caught my attention.....I figured it was some kind of trail marker or maybe one of those little circular tags that they nail to trees.
    That is the second puma that we have seen in 2 months in a 1/4 mile radius.
    Both sightings were uneventful. They just looked at us.
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by savagemann
    I guess this isn't really strange, but thought I'd post it here.
    Saw a Mt Lion on our ride lastnight.
    Was sitting a few feet off the edge of the trail.
    I blasted by going about 25mph and caught a glimpse of a green glowing dot......didn't think much of it.
    Our buddy that was taking up the back of the pack decided to stop and let the dust settle for a few seconds before he continued on.
    Caught a glimpse of a green glow on the edge of the trail, and looked over with his helmet light. There it sat, majesticlly about 15 feet of the trail. He was scarred $hittless and let out a gut wrenching scream, then took off.
    I wasn't wearing my helmet light as I was letting a buddy use it on his bars for the ride......I wish I had it on as I would have seen it when I glanced at the green glow.
    It's eye was illuminated by my bar light just enough that it caught my attention.....I figured it was some kind of trail marker or maybe one of those little circular tags that they nail to trees.
    That is the second puma that we have seen in 2 months in a 1/4 mile radius.
    Both sightings were uneventful. They just looked at us.
    I saw a m. lion on solo night ride at the start of summer. Sat down in a meadow, drinking a beer... stand to leave, turn on my light (head mounted, earlier in the night my bar mounted battery blew) and saw two green eyes watching me as well. At this point I didn't know green eyes= cat but it's movements were unmistakable. Went to my bike, continued to shine light on it, rang my bell... nothing. It sure wasn't scared by the bell. Rode downhill quickly. I'm smart like that.

    A month or so later a friend of my neighbor backpacked the same area and saw another (same?) lion.

    2nd one I've seen also, although the first was from my truck. There's a reason they call them lions!!
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
    Where we should go,
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    A quick update from my last post ( above ). the camera I saw looks very much like this one (below ).
    This is the kind used for hunting...however, hunting is not allowed in the area I was riding. It is quite possible this was set up by some locals. I intend to ask some questions as I am not comfortable about having cameras ( hunting or otherwise ) set-up on a local trail.
    Was the camera near a trail or a road?

    Also Is it possible that the area is open to bow hunters only? We have a few game management units here around the cities that are essentially suburbs so they are off limits to firearms but open to bowhunters.

    The cameras are also used by game managers to track populations. If you search the AZ thread you will find some great mountain lion pictures.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideandshoot
    Was the camera near a trail or a road?

    Also Is it possible that the area is open to bow hunters only? We have a few game management units here around the cities that are essentially suburbs so they are off limits to firearms but open to bowhunters.

    The cameras are also used by game managers to track populations. If you search the AZ thread you will find some great mountain lion pictures.
    I thought I was pretty clear about that. The camera was just off the side of a trail and aimed directly up the trail. Since it's not hunting season no reason for it to be used by hunters. A Google earth satellite photo of the area shows that there are houses not too far away from this trail. I have come up on poachers before but that kind of stuff usually happens closer to hunting season. Regardless of the reason for the camera, I don't like the idea of someone taking my picture at night. Back in the woods at night you don't need any other distractions other than the normal nocturnal activities of the local wildlife. Hopefully in the future I won't see any more glowing red lights in the middle of the night ( or people milling around in the woods.... . )

  26. #26
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    First night ride I went out on the trail I saw some kangaroo rats doing the nasty....in the middle of the trail. I rode by...they kept it up until I was within a couple feet. Obviously, this was important business and they weren't stopping unless under threat of imminent death. I can sympathize...life must be lonely if you have to resort to doing it in the trail.

    Apparently it's a Marysville Heermann's kangaroo Rat, official name Dipodomys californicus eximius.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do
    I thought I was pretty clear about that. The camera was just off the side of a trail and aimed directly up the trail. Since it's not hunting season no reason for it to be used by hunters. A Google earth satellite photo of the area shows that there are houses not too far away from this trail. I have come up on poachers before but that kind of stuff usually happens closer to hunting season. Regardless of the reason for the camera, I don't like the idea of someone taking my picture at night. Back in the woods at night you don't need any other distractions other than the normal nocturnal activities of the local wildlife. Hopefully in the future I won't see any more glowing red lights in the middle of the night ( or people milling around in the woods.... . )
    As for houses near by I've read that in some suburbs (the one featured in the article was in Pennsylvania) game managers and health departments are encouraging archery hunting in suburbs to reduce deer populations that are out of control.

    Also hunters use the cameras to figure out the deerís habits and to determine trophy quality before the season starts. It would be normal to start scouting in the summer for a fall hunt.

    NoteÖ I donít blame you for being a bit creeped out by it; Iím just trying to reassure you that it could be legit.

  28. #28
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    I'm really new to night riding. On a nearby trail this week I was surprised to see quite a few small scorpions cross the trail. I've ridden this area for years in daylight and never ever saw one.
    Happily i haven't had the same experience in other local trails. I really don't want to mistakenly lift one via the rear tire...
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  29. #29
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    On a night ride in the Royal National Park, South of Sydney, I found this guy in the middle of a nice piece of downhill single track.
    He was digging himself into the ground so I could not pick him up.

    For those of you that dont recognise it. Its an Echidna or Spiny Anteater. Its one of the few Mammals that lays eggs.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Strange Sightings at Night-p1050469.jpg  


  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_bump
    ...On a night ride in the Royal National Park, South of Sydney....
    Very Dinki-di....You have to love a country like Oz where not only do they let you scurry about on your push-bike in a National Park but they let you do it at night as well!

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    well... they "let" you do it

  32. #32
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    FWIW... Last night I had a couple close encounters of the Animal kind. Flying down a curvy trail lined with tall grass I suddenly came up on a log across the trail and had to make a sudden unexpected bunny hop. No big thing really, only there happened to be ( what I thought was ) a young opossum running just next to the log. I've jumped logs before but never jumped a mammal before. Thank God, I'm glad it wasn't a skunk!

    I did, however have another strange encounter earlier in the night. I came up on two people riding horses. Nothing strange about that except that it was almost completely dark. Heck, without my lights I couldn't see anything. Anyway, I call out and get off the trail to let them by. They thank me as they pass ( I was careful not to blind them with any of my lights..) and the whole time I'm thinking, "How the Hell can they see anything"? Can horses see that well at night?

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    Yep... Horses see much better than we do at night. Basiclly the same as a deer or elk.

    I do all my back country hunting on foot but I've seen guys coming back to their camps on horses or mules, on trails that you wouldn't want to ride in the day time on a bike, in the pitch black.

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    Article confirmation:

    http://www.equisearch.com/horses_car...vision_091003/

    Note deep dark woods are not to be galloped through. Let the horse pick its way.

    Watch out for 'road apples' in their wake. Bunny hopping may not get you clear. You might wish you had fenders.

  35. #35
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    deleted by poster.....sorry, this was a little off topic
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 09-07-2010 at 12:49 PM.

  36. #36
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    So I guess I shouldn't have read this thread to get me amped up for a night ride this evening. Instead I will be making sure that I've packed my gun into the Camelbak for protection from spiders and sasquatch and am ready to have to blind IR cameras that will be keeping tabs on me... Yikes...
    "Some people think they can outsmart me... Maybe... I've yet to meet one that can outsmart BULLET."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calles
    So I guess I shouldn't have read this thread to get me amped up for a night ride this evening. Instead I will be making sure that I've packed my gun into the Camelbak for protection from spiders and sasquatch and am ready to have to blind IR cameras that will be keeping tabs on me... Yikes...
    totally! this is my first foray basically into the torch forums, and i'm sufficiently freaked out

    i've been riding for many many years, but never night riding (save for one "adventure race" that involved night riding, but that was hardly "being alone on singletrack in the woods" style riding).

    I've been loving my new Speshie Enduro so much this season - i've riden more this summer than any summer in my life probably, and I dont want the party to end with darkness suddenly coming on sooner! thus, i think i'll dip my toes into the water with a Magicshine...price seems to good to be true, but i think it will at least help me understand whether i really like night riding (or if i'm just too damn freaked out ...if i love it, maybe i get a second Magicshine.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by starry
    totally! this is my first foray basically into the torch forums, and i'm sufficiently freaked out

    i've been riding for many many years, but never night riding (save for one "adventure race" that involved night riding, but that was hardly "being alone on singletrack in the woods" style riding).

    I've been loving my new Speshie Enduro so much this season - i've riden more this summer than any summer in my life probably, and I dont want the party to end with darkness suddenly coming on sooner! thus, i think i'll dip my toes into the water with a Magicshine...price seems to good to be true, but i think it will at least help me understand whether i really like night riding (or if i'm just too damn freaked out ...if i love it, maybe i get a second Magicshine.

    The Magicshine got me into night riding just a few weeks ago. You'll be too damn freaked out and love it at the same time. Its really a feeling I cant explain, but soooo awesome! Watch out for the spiders. I almost had a few for breakfast. They're huge and make their web right at face level. UGHHH!!!

  39. #39
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    At dusk last year I quietly rolled up to about 50 feet behind a very large raccoon on the trail and quietly stopped. Wasn't sure what to do but I wanted to pass so I figured I'd have some fun with him, as he apparently hadn't noticed me yet. I let out a loud "PIISSSSSSS!!!" and stomped my feet and he sprang straight up in the air! For a second I was pretty pleased with myself until he turned and did the same thing to me -- scarred me speechless and stood the hairs up on my arms and neck. I didn't know they made that noise, especially with the tone he used. I also didn't know they could move that fast, didn't know I could either.

    On a side note, anyone have any experience with feral hogs? We have small herds around here (East Texas) mostly around forest bottoms near streams and rivers (like where I ride at night). I saw 4 of these dead animals scattered about the highway the other day, obviously plowed over by an 18 wheeler in the middle of the night. I was awed by their size, especially since I share the woods with them at night. Each one looked like it weighed 100+ pounds. Just wondering if they need more respect than, say, raccoons?

  40. #40
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    feral hogs? respect? you betcha! Sharp tusks and they move quick.
    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild...ogs/#dangerous

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grinder63
    ..At dusk last year I quietly rolled up to about 50 feet behind a very large raccoon on the trail and quietly stopped. Wasn't sure what to do but I wanted to pass so I figured I'd have some fun with him, as he apparently hadn't noticed me yet. I let out a loud "PIISSSSSSS!!!" and stomped my feet and he sprang straight up in the air! For a second I was pretty pleased with myself until he turned and did the same thing to me -- scarred me speechless and stood the hairs up on my arms and neck. I didn't know they made that noise, especially with the tone he used. I also didn't know they could move that fast, didn't know I could either. ..
    Good story Grinder. Yes the Raccoon can do some hissing if it feels like it's trapped or scared. The real danger though would be if you came up on one that was rabid. That's why I try to give coons some space because you never know. Luckily I've never encountered a rabid animal before and hope I never do.

  42. #42
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    Not very strange, but unusual event for ya. Usually in September and October we come across whippoorwill birds on the trail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whip-poor-will . Usually you will see the small red dot of their eye reflecting the blinding light of your LED. Otherwise they are very hard to see. They will stay hunkered down on the trail until you are right on top of them. Sometimes they fly up and into you. YOu can also follow them on the wing with your helmet light if you can catch their eye. Sometimes, they will also fly ahead and land on the trail in front of you. We ride mostly in the morning and that is when we see them. The record is 5 birds seen in a 60 minute ride. So far this year it has been three.

    Second item: On a dark morning recovery ride up a paved canyon trail, I was just riding and talking with the guys and suddenly hit a rock. Turned around to look behind me and found that it was not a rock, but a rat. A rider behind me saw it scurry on to the trail in perfect alignment to intersect my path. I hit it dead on.

    urmb

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by urmb
    Not very strange, but unusual event for ya. Usually in September and October we come across whippoorwill birds on the trail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whip-poor-will . Usually you will see the small red dot of their eye reflecting the blinding light of your LED. Otherwise they are very hard to see. They will stay hunkered down on the trail until you are right on top of them. Sometimes they fly up and into you. YOu can also follow them on the wing with your helmet light if you can catch their eye. Sometimes, they will also fly ahead and land on the trail in front of you. We ride mostly in the morning and that is when we see them. The record is 5 birds seen in a 60 minute ride. So far this year it has been three.

    Second item: On a dark morning recovery ride up a paved canyon trail, I was just riding and talking with the guys and suddenly hit a rock. Turned around to look behind me and found that it was not a rock, but a rat. A rider behind me saw it scurry on to the trail in perfect alignment to intersect my path. I hit it dead on.

    urmb
    Your story about the Whip-poor-will brought back some memories. When growing up the Whip-poor-will was a local nocturnal bird where I lived. I still remember riding my bike in the dark making my way home from my cousins house in the summer and hearing the Whip-poor-wills in the far distance. Unfortunately, when the community got further developed the Whip-poor-wills suddenly vanished. It would be many years before I would hear them again.

    On a camping trip I took several years ago I was once again reunited with the noctural call of the Whip-poor-will. I was camping in a campground in Va. in an area that is noted for it's hosting of the Shenandoah Mountain 100. It was early summer. I was just about to hit the sack after lounging around the fire till about 1AM when suddenly the whole campground came alive with the call of the Whip-poor-Will. When I say alive I mean there must of been a whole slew of um' perching in the trees above the campground. Till this day, I have never heard anything like it since. It was deafening! Maybe it was mating season for the little buggers. It was so loud it was almost impossible to sleep.

    A couple days after I took a quick night ride up an adjacent mountain fire road to get a better look at a rising full moon. This was when I was still using halogen lighting. I was going to ride to the top but decided I was too tired and turned around. On my way down the fire road I slowed when I noticed a very bright red ( almost like a red led ) glowing on the edge of the road. I had no idea what it was at the time. I slowed down and approached with caution. When I got to within 60ft or so it suddenly began its call. That's when I knew it was a Whip-poor-will. Up until that time I had never seen a Whip-poor-will before. They are very small and elusive birds.

    The nocturnal call of the Whip-poor-will is both calming yet haunting, that is of course if you hear one in the far distance. The next time I go camping in Virginia I will definitely bring the ear plugs...just in case. One thing is certain though, I sure wish the Whip-poor-will would return to my native Maryland. At least for the time being I still have the Owls and their peacefully relaxing hoot. That will have to do for now. Cat
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 10-20-2010 at 03:12 AM.

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