What is your most memorable wildlife sighting?


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Jan 15, 2019 - 06:23pm PT
Killer thread!

The Good Places
Jan 15, 2019 - 06:39pm PT
Hey mike. you should splain a little more about that tandem trip: what kinda bikey setup? terminal points? best segments?

Jan 16, 2019 - 09:23am PT
Hey, TBcowboy, it was a simple, slow tour down the US Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (mostly dirt roads) ~2400 mi from the Canadian to Mexico border (Roosville MT to Antelope Wells NM) in 61 days – nice way to spend a rainy summer with your babe.

Sort of a TR:

We cached our favorite morsels in five cities, but no need for it. So much of it is good, hard to pinpoint the standout riding. Everything, including the people/excluding Helena, in Montana is worthy; Great Basin WY was surreal; so much good in CO once away from Breck. Gila NF and the desert in NM is good in its own way. A bunch of 200-mi sections could be called classic, and I guess it depends on what sort of terrain one likes. I did a shakedown from Grants to Separ NM. The mapsets by Adventure Cycling Association for the route are second to none, mandatory for planning a chunk. Cheers...

Back on topic... Bugling elk on the Front Range CO

Social climber
The Deli
Feb 3, 2019 - 09:15pm PT

Cool elk video, Mike!

The wild horses have been hanging around here again, on and off for the last few weeks. I counted over 30 of them at one time, maybe a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday afternoon I looked out the window to see several of them, about 100 feet from the house, doing what they do – eating. I kept an eye on them from time to time, and counted 13. Later on the sun came out, and melted the dusting of snow that fell earlier in the morning, so I figured I’d take a few photos through my office window. I continued to watch them on occasion throughout the rest of the afternoon, until it got dark. It’s funny how entertaining it can be to watch them, even though they don’t really do a lot.

The horses were in the backyard this morning, when I looked out the window, and when I counted them, I didn’t count to 13; I counted to 14. One of them was sitting in the grass, and looked smaller than the others. A little while later, with what looked like a bit of coaxing from a couple of the others, the little one finally stood up, and that’s when I could tell that it was much smaller than the rest of the horses, with disproportionately long legs. “Wow,” I thought. “They multiplied!” The foal was definitely not with this herd of 13 yesterday, I am sure. So it must have been born last night or early this morning.

During the day, it never strayed more than a few tens of feet from its mother, and spent most of the time at her side, occasionally feeding on her milk. I stepped out the back door a few times, to take more photos.

Late in the afternoon, the snow came back, and I could tell that it isn’t their favorite type of weather, as they tried to take cover amongst the juniper trees. I must say that I tend to agree with them. Being merely hours-old and spending the night in a snowstorm doesn’t seem like the easiest way to be brought into this world. But perhaps we humans are just soft, living in our warm and cozy houses, sheltered from the elements. Maybe the foal will do just fine. I hope so. It’s got a few really cold nights to get through this week, with lows in the teens or upper single-digits.


Foals are born after a gestation period of approximately 11 months. Birth takes place quickly, consistent with the status of a horse as a prey animal, and more often at night than during the day.

Unlike most predators which are altricial (born helpless), horses are precocial, meaning they come into the world relatively mature and mobile. Healthy foals can typically keep up with the rest of the herd only a few hours after birth.



Feb 3, 2019 - 09:52pm PT
Some nice images there, Minersls; good eye for details. Hope to see them...

I rolled up on a small number of wild horses on my bike, not uncommon. But this group was acting odd, seemingly defensive of my presence. I realized the youngest member of the group had an injured foreleg and could only go short distances at a time. I got video as I passed close by the group, but it broke my heart seeing the little one struggling. Nature...

Trad climber
Feb 3, 2019 - 09:52pm PT
An interesting thing I once saw was in Camp 4. We were sipping coffee in the morning and I watched a squirrel "listening" to the ground. Searching, searching and the damn thing dug up a mole and went over to a drainage pipe and ate it. We at the picnic table were dumbstruck. I thought they only ate nuts. Nope. At least not in Yosemite Valley.


VVVV Absolutely.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 3, 2019 - 10:05pm PT
^^^^ You sure it was a squirrel?
Jim Clipper

Feb 3, 2019 - 10:11pm PT
The ditch does attract visitors world wide.


Monterey, Ca
Feb 4, 2019 - 12:31am PT

that photo is insane.


I'm f*#king dying of laughter reading your story, I thought it was so funny that you must be fabricating the whole thing (not that I would have cared!)

Then I saw the picture. Wow.

I had a pet iguana a long time ago... her name was Lizzy. I named her. I was seven.

Then we lost power in El Portal for a long time when the river ran high.


She couldn't stay warm, got sick, and fell asleep forever.


Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Feb 5, 2019 - 02:58pm PT
I've never seen more than a marmot, elk or deer but read this today. I would assume it takes a bit the straggle a mountain lion. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/05/691528804/colorado-runner-kills-mountain-lion-in-self-defense
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Feb 5, 2019 - 04:36pm PT
A few years ago I was at the base of El Cap waiting my turn to begin the ascent. An Australian guy came up to me and began asking questions about our sport. Naturally, being bored as I belayed, I regaled him with lots of instruction with tall tales to boot. After about an hour he left, thanking me for the introduction.

A few minutes after he began to descend the gully nearby he yelled up to me: "Hey Jorge there's a beer coming up to you."

I thought maybe he'd realized I'd like a cold one and he had sent it up with another hiker.

Being barefoot, I gingerly walked through the broken talus out to the gully when to my surprise a little old brown bear came running up to me and stopped cold, not five feet from me.

He was as freaked as I, and as I turned tail and ran back to my ledge, he turned to the left and rocketed up the steep slope opposite my hideaway.

I looked down the gully and yelled to the Aussie, "It's a bear, man, not beer."

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 5, 2019 - 04:47pm PT
I would assume it takes a bit the straggle a mountain lion.e

You should see what it takes to straddle a mountain lion!

Jorge, gud one, mate!

Trad climber
Feb 5, 2019 - 04:51pm PT
At Rumney , NH belaying my friend at the Bonsai cliff. I heard some shuffling about off to the side
that I momentarily thought was squirrels, a minute later 6 feet in front of me out from under a rock
8 young nervous weasels pop their faces out looking around like how do we get past , what should we do.
They then proceeded to follow one another up along the base of the cliff and out of sight . Then one came back to the rock in front of me into the cave part and five more came out and followed . It killed me that my phone was just out of reach behind me , I will never forget the look of all those faces nervously peering out , so cool .
dave y

Feb 5, 2019 - 06:43pm PT
I was sleeping along a creek once, no tent. I woke up in the middle of the night, and some animal was sleeping on my chest. A smallish animal, maybe raccoon size. I was like, "holy shit" and the animal ran off. I've got no idea what it was.

I travelled down to Florida a couple of times to see manatees. In the summer it is unpredictable where they may be found, but in the winter the inland water tends to be a bit warmer than the ocean, so they head into the fresh water. Crystal River is a fairly predictable place to see them. You can rent a canoe and paddle out, or if lazy rent a canoe with a motor. Take your snorkeling gear. It is a pretty amazing experience, they are extremely large wild animals, yet they're mellow as can be. I recommend it.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Feb 7, 2019 - 08:18am PT
Awesome thread! Most memorable is a little hard because like so many here I have spent a lot of time out in Mother Nature. Ok, here’s one. I was a third of the way up the first pitch of Zenyata. The crack widened to about an inch when suddenly I notice a few sets of small eyes peering at me. Startled, I looked closer. Tiny frogs all jammed up in this overhanging crack about 40 feet off the deck?? I was completely puzzled. What on earth? How did they get up here? There’s no way they could’ve hopped up this slightly overhung blank face. Then I had an insight. I realized that they had filtered down through El Cap. I realized that the formation Contained a fantastic internal crack system hiding life from top to bottom. That the frogs had washed down through that system. Possibly from the very summit. Wow! This colossus of granite was teaming with life Inside and out on a scale that was impossible to comprehend. I carefully moved my tiny friends aside enough to place a baby angle and move on. Yet, That insight stayed with me over the days of the climb. Continuing off and on over the following years as well.


Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 7, 2019 - 09:19am PT
Scanned slide from my pre-digital archive...desert fox near the campfire Death Valley January 1979


Gym climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:30am PT
The Henry mountains have the last free-ranging heard of Buffalo in the United States.

I was sleeping in my bivy sack one night and woke up to 3 HUGE shapes 15 feet away, visible by moonlight. I spooked them as soon as I woke up and all 3 proceed to run off, getting to within 10 feet of me lying in the dirt.

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:53am PT
A black bear woke me up in the wee hours of the night while I slept on a sand embankment beside the Merced river just outside Yosemite (free campsite somewhere on the side of incline rd). It was digging in the sand with his back side 6 inches from my face! Scared me half to death! I went into my childish hiding-from-monsters-in-the-closet mode and pulled my sleeping bag hood over my head. I held frozen for what felt like forever (10 minutes) before I worked up the courage to look up again. When I did, the bear was gone without a peep. In the morning there was an unearthed empty can of tuna on the ground that someone apparently buried in the sand recently. Damn tourists.

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:55am PT
cornel, that is mind blowing. Life is so amazing in so many ways.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Feb 7, 2019 - 12:38pm PT
Cornel, I love that visualization!

My most memorable El Cap wildlife was walking the base and hearing an inbound missile and scraping sound. Look up, looks like somebody dropped a baseball mitt that's tumbling down the lower slabs! When it smacks the ground a few feet from me, I see it is a squirrel. I guess they're not always super-nimble. That same walk, I came upon a snake immobilized with half of a squirrel down it's throat. Bad day for squirrels.

When I was very young, my mom was a successful real estate agent in the newly developed and booming Simi Valley in mid 70s, and partying it up. I recall being at some parties where an Orangutan lived... that dude was small but really strong. One time he walked away from the table and forgot (or chose not) to let go, dragging the table and whatever illicit substances were on it with him, leaving folks sitting in a circle facing each other. For a young kid, that was a cool and wild life.
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