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The back page: The twirling skunk

By on August 29, 2017 in Columnist with 0 Comments

Sarah Shaffer rides through the wildflowers prior to the skunk incident.

By Sarah Shaffer

A good friend of mine and I went mountain biking recently on a ride that has been on my bucket list — the Twin Peaks to Sage Hills ride.

Both my friend (whose pseudo name is Jim, as he did not want his real name associated with this story for fear of being recognized by the public once this story is published, which will make more sense near the end of this story) and I have kids that go to daycare only a couple of days a week and so we were pumped to have eight hours to get into the outdoors for some parent fun.

The day started off fantastic, the wildflowers were in full amazement mode, the biking was pleasant and we both had about the same riding tempo, which made it enjoyable to not feel like one of us was having to wait for the other.

Jim and I did some repair work on part of the trail that had a couple of downed trees. We cleared one tree and made some space for another so that future bikers could use the path without having to dismantle their bikes.

Once we reached the crest of the East Summit of Twin Peaks (which is located up Canyon 2), it was new terrain for this gal. We headed down the ridgeline towards the backside of Sage Hills.

The views were epic, sweeping mountains, the enchantments, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier they were all visible on this perfect day.

The ridgeline riding had two short sections of “walk a bike,” and then we were heading on an extended downhill towards Sage Hills where we had a car parked at the base of Horse Lake Road.

We had about 45 minutes of riding left to go. Jim was in front at this point a little ways ahead of me while I was taking in the scenery and biking a bit slower on the downhill.

All of a sudden I heard him yell out. I don’t know what he said but I kept biking towards him but being more cautious as I went. When I rounded a bend I saw him in the middle of the trail and he said: “Stop.”

Then Jim said, “I think I was just sprayed by a skunk. It was spinning in circles as I came around the corner smack dab in the middle of the trail. I did my best to not hit it but went right past it and it sprayed me I think. I think the spray even got into my mouth while I was letting out a curse word.”

All I could do at that point was laugh. Mind you I still had to cross the section where the skunk had just moved off the trail, and dew droplets of skunk spray were on all the plants as I walked my bike carefully past.

The rest of the ride was interesting. I stayed in front most of the time as even if I was 100 feet behind my friend I could still smell him.

He didn’t smell like “skunk” he smelled like some gnarly cleaning chemical that made you almost want to vomit.

But, it was hard not to laugh the entire way back as to how random it was to be sprayed by a skunk while mountain biking.

We concluded that the skunk was twirling in circles because either a) it didn’t know where to go to get off the trail in a speedy pace or b) it heard him coming but didn’t know which way to point it’s sprayer as it wasn’t sure which direction he was coming from.

Once we were nearing the car but before we even got to it, Jim pulled to the side of the trail and was on his phone calling a mutual friend of ours who works as a vet in town. Jim thought this would be the perfect friend to ask since our vet friend gets the skunk smell off dogs sometimes.

Our friend gave him the run down on how to get rid of the skunk smell.

You need-hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dawn dish soap. You mix them together and make a paste out of it and then scrub it all over your body.

Seeing that my friend smelled terrible, I decided to head into the nearest grocery store and get the supplies he needed to get rid of that stink. We had all the windows of the car open and Jim attempted to get rid of the smell by taking off his shirt and pants and putting them in a bag in his trunk while I went into the store.

All needed supplies were retrieved and purchased, at which point I was driven by Jim in his underwear, to the Number 2 Canyon trailhead to get my car. We then said our farewells and I asked that he keep me apprised as to how well his concoction of supplies gets rid of the smell.

Later that evening Jim sent me a photo of buckets of water in the yard along with a kiddie pool, and his bike. Seemed not only did the skunk spray his clothes but behold, on his bike and bike shoes as well. The smell reportedly came off him with one scrub of the magic paste but took much longer for the smell to dissipate from his bike.

How very little I have seen skunks in my life thus far and how random it was that my friend was sprayed while mountain biking.

It could have just as easily been me sprayed as a few minutes beforehand I had been the one riding in front.

I guess it was fate for him to experience it and for me to find it most entertaining.

All is well that ends well and it ended well for the skunk too, as he or she wasn’t run over by a bike.

For more stories like this one,visit www.wenatcheeoutdoors.org.

Sarah is the Executive Director for the non-profit WenatcheeOutdoors and says she loves her job. She has the opportunity to take families out for hikes in nature. She works with the Goathead Warriors, which is a partner with WenatcheeOutdoors, on ridding the Loop Trail, Wenatchee, and East Wenatchee of those pesky goathead thorns, and she helps to educate the community about all the amazing trails we have in our backyard.

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