We recently enjoyed a mountain biking adventure at San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park. This was my first adventure at San Felasco, a popular mountain bike area near Gainesville, Florida.
We arrived in the afternoon, as many riders were already leaving for the day. We knocked out a couple of geocaches right on the first trail, and then rode through some beautiful pine forests. It wasn’t long before my husband spotted three deer. They didn’t blink an eye at us, and it was only after we stopped to gawk at them that they even raised an ear! I pulled out my trusty camera phone, note that it was not the actual canon digital camera. (The one that I picked up in the truck, then decided that there would be nothing to photograph, and then set back into its case). So, on the trail I had the camera phone (which took amazing photos the day before). As I zoomed in on the deer, I realized that the camera was not functioning properly and everything was blurry! I had the best potential photographic moment of a deer that I might ever have, and I could not take their picture. It was almost as if they knew it too. We talked to them, and then went on our way. They were beautiful and very majestic creatures, and definitely not afraid of mountain bikes and bikers and all of our clanky chain noises, which struck me as odd.
Our ride turned a bit more difficult upon entering a section that repeatedly and deceitfully appears to be almost over each time you zoom downhill and climb back out. Surely that was the last climb…and then there were more deer. Again in a pack of three. Not scared, not running. This scene repeated itself many times over, and we saw at least six or seven groups of deer. At one point I was looking at one on the left side of the trail, when I realized my husband had stopped abruptly. As I looked up, I realized I was within five feet of the deer, and as we made eye contact he ran as fast as his long legs could carry him. We certainly startled each other!
There was only one deer out of at least 20 that seemed to be actually scared of us, heard us approach, and bolted in the blink of an eye. Maybe he didn’t get the memo from the others that living on the State Preserve it pretty safe, or maybe he was a newcomer.
The ride was long and great, and we did finally make it up the last hill! These deer were definitely not the “elusive” creatures I saw on my Foggy Morning Ride, that’s for sure. I do hope to see them again, and maybe this time my camera will be working! If you use your imagination, maybe you can see their big black eyes staring at you and watch their fluffy white tails twitch as they turn away.