What do you do when you're running in the wee hours of the morning and see this...
I've come quite accustomed to seeing glowing eyes this fall and winter as most of my runs have been in the dark. But lately, the glowing eyes on the trails I run have multiplied.
This is due to HR letting about 50 cows graze the Backcountry. They posted this on Facebook last week:
ATTENTION TRAIL USERS...We will be grazing the Highlands Point Trail in the HRCA Backcountry Wilderness Area beginning this week. Cows can be expected to be in this area through the middle of December. Do not approach or harass the cows. There are no bulls or calves, just peaceful, happy cows. They will avoid you. Should one be in the middle of the trail simply give them your best cowboy yell and wave your hands to get them moving. Grazing is beneficial to the grasses and habitat and is a fantastic fire mitigation tool.
|Brought the camera on my 5 AM run today.|
I'm comfortable with seeing the glow of deer or coyote eyes as they scamper away from me. But stick several 500+ lb. beasts right next to the trail and it's very nerve-racking. I have not partaken in cow harassment, but I'm certainly approaching them with waving hands. A few haven't budged and I had to pass within feet of these massive creatures! I'd be a pancake if they ganged up and charged.
|This is a "lightened" version of the two eyes above.|
|This is the best I could get showing them right on the edge of the trail.|
I understand the part about the grazing being good for the land due to fire mitigation. But is it really worth it? Almost every stretch of trail now looks like the one below. Not to mention all the trampled vegetation and broken branches I've seen since this started.
|Cow patties....lots of patties.|
|For perspective, this pile is the size of a large pizza and 5" high.|
It looks like I've got about two more weeks to enjoy my mornings with these "peaceful, happy cows." I'm guessing the piles on the trails are going to last much longer than that.