Right. So. This is really embarrassing to admit, but I turned around recently on a long mountain bike ride because I felt threatened by…a herd of alpine cows.
The incident turned a three and a half hour mountain bike ride into one that lasted nearly seven hours. I arrived back at my apartment in the dark, shaken and hungry after eating only two sports bars throughout the ride.
Here’s what happened. I planned to ride from Chamonix, France to Champex, Switzerland to stay the night at a mountain hut and visit my sister, who was hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc. But as I was traversing a steep and rocky slope, I came into an area with two ravines in close succession, and a herd of cows was stationed there, all over the trail.
The cows were huge. They had big horns, and they were acting aggressively towards each other, butting heads for position and making threatening sounds. When I cruised up on my bike, they turned towards me and began rushing in my direction.
The cows all pictured above are small in comparison to these cows–I was so scared that I didn’t want to hang out and take photos. Once they started rushing towards me, I dismounted my bike and tried to hike high above up the first ravine to avoid them. But the two ravines made the terrain steep, rocky, and wet. I bushwhacked up through gnarly roots and rocks, and I crossed the first water source, which ran over slippery and rubbly rocks. I couldn’t continue on such a high course, so I had to hike down, and when I got close to the cows, they again rushed towards me.
I tried to hike up and around them for a second, and then a third, time. But each time I had to descend in order to get through the terrain, the cows blocked my progress. They would not disperse when I raised my arms or encouraged them to move off the path as I had done successfully with other alpine cows. I feared that they would trample or gore me, and I didn’t have anyone else with me to help me out. So–I bailed.
I rode home the whole way wondering if I’d wimped out. I mean–could these cows really have hurt me? I got that not-right feeling from this herd and trusted my instincts, but the experience left me wanting to know more. After doing some research about aggressive cows and cow attacks, I realized that they could have harmed me. In an attempt to share the information I gained from this experience, I wrote an article for the About.com Survival Skills site: “How to Survive an Aggressive Cow Attack.” Read…and enjoy!
Want to know more about how to get cows to MOOOOOOOOOOVE?
“How to Survive an Aggressive Cow Attack”
In order to keep from being gored, trampled, or kicked by cows, here are a few things you can do to survive an encounter with an aggressive cow…click here to continue reading…
Photos © Shawna Macnamara and Traci J. Macnamara.