An unexpected encounter near Ranch Spring
Yet another weekend with rain in the forecast,
the trails we had planned to take through
Long Ridge OSP were temporarily closed to bikes.
I suppose that's what we get for not checking ahead.
This was at the southern end of the midpeninsula district, where it borders Santa Cruz county.
So on the fly we changed our planned ride,
and decided to head down the western face of the Santa Cruz range to the Ranch Springs Trail.
This was off the beaten path, away from the major loops that bikers usually ride, so
hopefully, if we were lucky, it would offer something cool or unexpected. As they say, be careful what you
wish for, because nothing could have prepared us for the terror lurking ahead...
Click to expand
Finally, the sun comes out! Time to grab that camera and get what pictures I can before the storm clouds mess up the
Green hills were accented by streams of sunlight,
and the Pacific could be seen far in the distance.
Blueschist boulders stand like monoliths to the transcendental majesty of the wilderness.
It is always so peaceful getting back to nature. What could possibly disrupt harmony such as this?
Coasting down the Hickory Oaks trail, we stoped in our tracks as we encountered a flock of turkeys this early spring...
one male and four females. Cool, it hasn't been since Annadel since
we've seen one.
The four females scattered down the hillside, while the male approached with breast feathers ruffled and
tail feather spread. My how convenient... let me pull out my camera. Hey?!? Did he just try to peck at Kenny?
Help... now he's trying to peck me! We're being attacked!! Somebody... please.... help us!!!
No, this wasn't because we were chasing them so see if they fly. It was completely unprovoked I swear!
Maybe he doesn't look so big in the picture, but that thing was HUGE face-to-face.
The combatants gaze into each others eye. Two minds, locked by their opposing fates, gauging thier adversary,
looking for weaknesses, planning defense, and
preparing the final attack that will lead the other to crushing defeat...
Kenny advances with the dreaded Manatou suspension slam,
countered by the impenetrable feather fluffer!
The turkey responds with a talon sweep across the headset,
effectively paried by Kenny's flying spokes twister block!!
The battle rages on to the advanced single track arena.
But beaks and talons were no match for the plush and responsive dual-suspension of the Sugar 3.
Kenny does his celebratory wheelie dance as the turkey retreats, wings stretched in shame!
Don't feel bad for this guy... he still has four hens to go back to.
This is one for the record books!
Each time we turned around to flee the turkey would charge us!
Those things are mean!!
I hope this sets the record straight for all those people that think mountain bikers frighten the wildlife.
Maybe more pictures like this will tell the real story!
Next Kenny took the camera so I could have some action shots, but by that time the hens were long gone, and the turkey
no longer seemed interested. This all went on for a good ten minutes.
I gotta hand it to professional wildlife photographers... that was really hard operating the camera with one hand, and
using my bike as a shield with the other. Since my memory card was full
I had to scan and delete a picture for each new one I
shot, and naturally the batteries needed replacement in the middle of the action.
It didn't help that I was laughing hysterically the whole time.
The turkey didn't show a fraction of the interest in me that he had for
Kenny. We speculated Kenny's bright yellow jacket, red frame, and blue fork (versus my mostly blue jerseys,
grey frame, and black fork) might have had something to do with it.
(b. March 16, 2002)
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No turkeys were harmed in the production of this webpage.
This is only because we didn't
have a blade or projectile weapon, otherwise this sucker would have been lunchmeat.
Copyright © 2002 by Bill Mains and Kenny Wu. All rights reserved.