The weather over the past few weeks has permitted some phenomenal riding out in the Blue Hills. My older brother was visiting from Chicago around Christmas, and for roughly 2 years now I've been meaning to take him off the beaten track to the center of the Blue Hills, in search of the elusive Wood Tick.
Now, when I refer to Wood Ticks, I'm not referring to the small Northern Wisconsin arachnids that survive by feasting on your blood. Those wood ticks can be found in abundance between the months of May to September, whether you'd like to find them or not. Nope, I'm referring the sampling of characters that can sometimes be found on the trails out here. Typically, this is a poor place to interact with anything other than nature. A 3 to 4 hour ride is frequently without cell phone service. In fact, contact with other humans in general (aside from the occasional trapper, bear hunter, gravel road grader, or ATVer convinced they are the sole owners of public land) is either non-existent or few and far between. Burly, rugged looking beards, greased and weathered flannel shirts, Carhart overalls, blaze orange and Elmer Fudd hats are the name of the game out here. These men are the true Wood Ticks, not the small arachnids, and this is where they come to play.
Sightings are rare however, and the opportunity to interact with one of these creatures is nearly impossible. Conversations are short and brief, usually ending in estranged looks at one another from both parties. They aren't used to seeing spandex clad "trail fairies" riding a bicycle through the middle of their neck of the woods. Over the past few weeks, my friend Brent and I have been attempting to capture a photograph of one of these elusive creatures, but without success. They are a transient bunch, and might not respond very well if they become aware that you are photographing them. So, here are some other photos to tie you over while we continue on our quest.