Last night I headed out under cloudy skies in summer-like heat to ride the path and back roads back out to my car.
The path is not totally deserted yet, even in the outer reaches, but away from town other users are getting pretty scarce. So I might see the occasional dog walker or I might not.
I saw something. It was way out ahead of me. Dusk was not too deep yet, but against the backdrop of forest this black animal was hard to make out. Ordinarily I see a black animal without a white stripe and I figure it's a bear. They're pretty common. But when I got a profile shot this looked doglike. I thought I could see the downward sweep of a canine tail. But it was a hundred yards away in failing light. It was not near a house. It was not accompanied by a human. When I got to where it had entered the woods there was no trail. It had simply melted into the vegetation.
Here I am, unmauled and not even inconvenienced. But I wondered, not for the first time, what I don't see when I'm riding in full darkness the whole way.
October is spooky because the nights are getting longer while leaves remain on the trees to make the darkness darker under forest cover. Once November gets well established spooky just turns to dismal.
If something does come after you on a rail trail you can only flee in one direction or the other. The Cotton Valley Trail is so narrow in many places you wouldn't be able to reverse course anyway. I'll load up on garlic, silver bullets and whatnot to get through the next few weeks.