Goosed! I have been riding in Fish Creek Provincial Park and along the Bow River for a number of years. It can best be described as a magical place. Sunrises and Sunsets are different in every season. Colours vary almost every day, and with all this are the creatures of Fish Creek.
Bridging the Gap!
Deer are abundant, and birds are in the thousands, but there are also visits and inhabitants of many other kinds of animals. Last week, just to the right of the bike path in the west end of the park, we were drawn to the attention of a cow and calf Moose. The pair was no more than twenty feet from the pathway in a thicket of bush and trees. In a couple of weeks from now when all the greenery is in its fullest, this Mom and child would not have been seen.
Looking on with us was a young family with their two toddlers, whom had been removed from their strollers and taken into the edge of the forest to get a better view of the moose. This family had been watching this pair of moose for some time before we had arrived. Moose don’t attack as far as I know, but if the cow thought her calf was threatened in some way; well I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of her anger.
East End of Fish Creek
Much more dangerous however, at least by my experience that day, are Geese! Ducks and Geese are everywhere in the park.
If you are on Strava you may notice a segment called “Duck and Geese Grease” on a trail located on the east bank of the Bow River. I created that one a few years back when Geese and Ducks were using the paved bike pathway to make a statement of what they thought of cyclists and hikers out on their path.
On the same day of the moose sighting last Friday, while I was riding nearby this location but on the opposite side of the river, I was confronted by a possessed Canada Goose. I saw, what I suspect was a hen standing firmly in the middle of the path. I stopped to take a photo, after which I looked around to see if the Goose had a nest in the nearby grass.
Possessed Goose, Pre-Attack
The grass wasn’t long in this area, and it would have been truly a silly Goose to build a nest in a high traffic area, and as such I decided that there wasn't one nearby. I finished my last photo and started riding toward the Goose, intending to swing wide onto the shoulder.
My plans were thwarted when said Goose stuck out its toothy tongue and flew up about 20 feet before me and came straight for my head.
An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, or in this situation, if you take your hands off of your handle bars to protect your face from an incoming angry Branta Canadensis in full on attack mode, your bike quickly loses its forward trajectory and you smack down hard into the ground.
Now this goose wasn’t satisfied enough with just humiliating me, it continued its malicious attack on my being as I went down. The bike landed over one leg (still clipped into the pedal), while the goose was on top of me trying to peck out my eyes and bite me with her shark like tongue teeth.
I fight off her unrelenting attack with the speed and agility of a Kung-fu Master, defending each blow, while stealthily removing my carcass and bicycle back and away from the attack area.
A little disheveled and embarrassed to have been taken down by said Giant 20lb Goose, I brushed myself off and started to ride away from the scene. It was only then that I realized that during the brawl, the fowl had stealthy removed my prized pair of cycling glasses and that she was now in possession of them, protecting them like she would a newborn chick. She stood her ground and was taunting me with her tongue out, happy to go another round. “You want these back??? Bring it on!” she said.
Goose Guarding Glasses!
I was going to leave the glasses, who needs them? The Goose could wear them if she wanted, I could be the bigger man, but in the end I decided that I couldn’t let the Goose make me rue the day.
The more intelligent species (debatable), of the two decided to use the bike as a foil and slowly maneuvered it between the beast and the glasses. The irate Goose made several advances with its sharpened devilish toothed tongue out, but Braveheart was not to be deterred.
Successfully retrieving the Goose’s fought over bounty and returning it to its rightful owner, I proudly placed my somewhat scratched treasure, back to its place of honour, resting peacefully upon my nose and nestled on top of my ears.
Trying to gain back a little of my pride as I rode away I yelled back to the Goose: “You can’t withstand the storm!" She stuck out her tongue and said, “I am the storm!” Ah but to live and ride another day!