Monday's night ride started innocently enough.
Riding the along the creek near the Blue Trail climb. Jim thought he had broken a spoke so we paused for an equipment check. We could hear running water and splashing - it sounded big (i.e., not a deer). When we stopped, it stopped, abruptly...Jim and I glanced at each other then promptly saddled up and departed scene.
A minute or so later during the (miserable) Blue Trail climb we heard a strange and distinctly unpleasant howl in the distance. These did not sound like your typical dog or coyote. In between wheezes, Jim made a not-so-innocent comment "what would we do if we were chased by wild dogs?" This was followed by another pair of howls that sounded noticeably closer. That was all either of us needed - the hair on the back of my neck stood right up and I thought to myself "scared of the dark, how pathetic is this???" but we wordlessly put the hammer down to create some separation between us and the howls.
The rest of the climb was uneventful. I think there was one more offhand wild dog comment and then the conversation moved on...and the whole experience was on it's way to the dustbins of our fading middle-aged memory, or so we thought.
A short while later we were traversing the empty boat launch parking lot when we came upon a lone vehicle:
Even though we were moving briskly in order to avoid detection by "The Man", Jim noticed something peculiar about the vehicle so we circled back to investigate. Upon inspection we noted this large steel cage with very sturdy locking doors...
...affixed with this sticker...
...and it all came together. Our earlier encounter had been a nite hunter and his 'coon dogs in the process of treeing a raccoon, or attempting to tree a couple of mountain bikers.
Of course we did not have a camera with us so we had to ride home, grab a camera, and ride back to gather this photographic evidence - all the while kidding each other about Pennsyltucky, giggling about white supremacists, and cracking Ned Beatty jokes...and of course that is when we had our near run-in with the hunters returning from their nite hunt.
But you will have to join our next night ride to get that part of the story.
"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you"