Today was one of those muggy, hazy, hot and humid days that we get strings of in the mid-Atlantic area. Had to get out for a ride anyway. The tree-lined C & O Canal towpath, running parallel to the Potomac River for 184 miles, is the perfect spot in this sort of weather, tree-lined and shaded, though it is beset with large populations of gnats and mosquitoes. And large numbers of people on summer days like today. Ok, so it's close to perfect, but not quite.
Anyway, I got out for a ride today on the C & O. There's a particular spot where the towpath runs past a parking area and boat launch. At the far end of the parking area, an old road disappears around a bend into a wooded parcel of land created by the Potomac swinging away from the canal in a large horseshoe curve. Of course, I followed it to see where it went. Perhaps a mile or so back, the road suddenly ran up a steep stretch that I decided was too steep for such a hot day, so I got off the bike and began walking. A couple dozen feet from the top, a doe suddenly stepped over top of the hill from the other side. We both stopped in our tracks to stare. Then, the tiniest little fawn I have ever seen came bouncing into sight, all skittery-legged and gawky. The doe's attention was on me and she paced slowly back and forth, stomping and snorting to get a reaction from me, while the fawn tried to match her movements and keep her close. I just leaned against my bike and watched, enjoying the sight of them and the sun shining through the leaves of the trees above them. After a few minutes of this, the doe suddenly decided she'd had enough and was off into the woods in two bounds, leaving the fawn to follow as best it could after a moment's startled hesitation. By the time I walked the rest of the way up the hill, they had disappeared through the trees.
This sort of thing just does not happen when there are other people around.