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  1. #1
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    Now we have to watch the cows

    In the Alps, hikers on the trails and cows in the pasture make for perilous pairings
    By Denise Hruby

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...e35_story.html

    "Nowadays, signs warning tourists in German, English, French and Italian are ubiquitous: Cross pastures at your own risk. Hotels display brochures on how to stay safe. Olympic skiers and famous actors help to raise awareness in TV spots and online videos, often stressing “the mountain pasture is no petting zoo.” A pilot project in Switzerland will soon launch an app that hikers can use to track the location of free-roaming herds and steer clear."

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  2. #2
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    Bay Area, just this past weekend:

    Two evacuated by helicopter after hostile cow attack

  3. #3
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    It's no joke in the Alps. Doing the Tour du Mont Blanc 2 years ago with my son there was one particularly perilous section where we avoided the belligerent cows with some difficulty. They do not get out of your way. Not as bad as Swiss the refuge where we stopped for lunch one day in a place called Bovine. The place was surrounded by muck and cow patties, although no angry cows near the refuge.

    That was one aptly named place. Another was Ville du Glacier, located in the Val du Glacier, through which ran the Torrent du Glacier, which arose at the base of the Aiguille du Glacier from the melting of the Glacier du Glacier.

    Ran into a bull one time on the trail in the Wind Rivers--we gave that one a really wide berth. I'm not going to mess with a creature with balls bigger than my head.

  4. #4
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    we stopped for lunch at the top of the next major col after Tourmelet which I forget the name of but there were agressive cows up there

    one of them cows runs a frenchman off his lunch and then it comes after my lunch

    so I flicked my coat at him and yelled "AlIez ! "

    That cow was habituated to the chips de pommes de terre
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  5. #5
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    Phil learned.


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  6. #6
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    WARNING: partial thread drift, gotta display my love and knowledge of alpine cows here...

    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    It's no joke in the Alps. Doing the Tour du Mont Blanc 2 years ago with my son there was one particularly perilous section where we avoided the belligerent cows with some difficulty. They do not get out of your way. Not as bad as Swiss the refuge where we stopped for lunch one day in a place called Bovine. The place was surrounded by muck and cow patties, although no angry cows near the refuge.

    That was one aptly named place. Another was Ville du Glacier, located in the Val du Glacier, through which ran the Torrent du Glacier, which arose at the base of the Aiguille du Glacier from the melting of the Glacier du Glacier.

    Ran into a bull one time on the trail in the Wind Rivers--we gave that one a really wide berth. I'm not going to mess with a creature with balls bigger than my head.
    Wonder if you ran into some Hérens, a breed that almost disappeared in the early 20th century but is making a strong comeback and has a very long history in the area around the French/Swiss/Italian borders.
    Most of the cows that are up in the alpine are the Abondance breed, the Swiss-chocolate cow with a brown-and-white coat and small horns They're quite skittish and non confrontational. The Hérens are different, stockier (up to 1300 lbs) with a massive head and large horns and usually a black or dark brown coat. more They're adapted to high elevations and are quite territorial, they stand their ground around people and crossing a pasture with a bunch of them looking at you sideways is quite intimidating.

    If they're pregnant or have a calf with them they will fight each other for the best real estate which is what started the tradition of cow fights in the area. There are local tournaments with just a few herds to select cows for a big event at the end of the fall which crowns the Queen, ie most badass cow in 3 countries. They don't need to be prodded whatsoever to fight and almost never get injured, they mostly push each other around until one yields. The winners get massive bells. It's insanely popular in SW, the final tournament draws up to 50,000 people.

    Here are some young ones my dad and I ran into on a ride last time I was home. They're a couple of years old and pretty massive already:

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    And some of the big ones with bells from previous victories plus what they look like when they fight:

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    Last year I was home when it was time for them to go up in the alpine after the snow melt. They had been in the valley for a while, were running out of fresh pasture, and knew what was up when we started the trip. They ran up the trail (which happens to be part of the Tour du Mont Blanc) at a solid pace absolutely terrorizing any hiker who was there.
    We took another one back down the trail later and she wandered off onto the patio of a refuge where a bunch of people were chilling out drinking beer after their hikes. Never saw tired hikers move so fast...

  7. #7
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    Many moons ago, a bike training partner and I were run off the road by a group (4-5) of cows about the size of your first two pics. They pretty much came out of nowhere on a curvy downhill stretch, and we were running in excess of 25 mph. It was quite the clusterfuck, trying to not get stomped by them while we went down in the ditch.
    Check Out Ullr's Mobile Avalanche Safety Tools for iOS and Android
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  8. #8
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    True story. I was bombing down a logging road in Twisp, WA a number of years ago and came around a corner hot, and BAM! Right in the middle of the mother f'ing logging road is a big fricking cow! Luckily, I have cat like reflexes and slammed full tilt on both brakes. No jong move by this veteran rider! I did NOT go ass over tea kettle. (At least not on that glorious day!) And let me tell you something, cows are much bigger in person than they are on a nature show! I could tell that this cow was serious about protecting his territory, and it was going to take all my skills as mtn bike rider to deal with this mountain bovine.

    With a quick flick of the wrist and an almost silent click into my pedals, I stomped on it and jammed around that mother F'ing cow, and was on my way!

    I checked my six, and the cow was still standing there, chewing his cud. The end.
    "We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully." - Randy Pausch

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toadman View Post
    True story. I was bombing down a logging road in Twisp, WA a number of years ago and came around a corner hot, and BAM! Right in the middle of the mother f'ing logging road is a big fricking cow! Luckily, I have cat like reflexes and slammed full tilt on both brakes. No jong move by this veteran rider! I did NOT go ass over tea kettle. (At least not on that glorious day!) And let me tell you something, cows are much bigger in person than they are on a nature show! I could tell that this cow was serious about protecting his territory, and it was going to take all my skills as mtn bike rider to deal with this mountain bovine.

    With a quick flick of the wrist and an almost silent click into my pedals, I stomped on it and jammed around that mother F'ing cow, and was on my way!

    I checked my six, and the cow was still standing there, chewing his cud. The end.
    cows are "shes". bulls are "hes". steers are "its", or nowadays I suppose "theys", although IME cattle don't much care what you call them.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post

    Ran into a bull one time on the trail in the Wind Rivers--we gave that one a really wide berth. I'm not going to mess with a creature with balls bigger than my head.
    This you?

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  11. #11
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  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    Went to a driving range near Basel--cows in the range and a 10 ft plywood beer bottle 100 yds out--if you put a ball into the basket at its base you got a free beer. I didn't.

  14. #14
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    I see cows all the time on my road bike rides. I see a lot of goats too. Sometimes chickens. And of course lots and lots of squirrels. But cows are much bigger than squirrels. Squirrels look to be about the same size on nature shows as they do in real life. I'm not sure if male squirrels are referred to differently than female squirrels though.
    "We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully." - Randy Pausch

  15. #15
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    This deserves a Far Side treatment.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/lions-a...heir-backsides

    Let's do some livin'
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  16. #16
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    When I was about 7, I was watching my dad castrate a calf. Our cow, Bossy, who was not the calf's mother, wasn't digging that a human had a calf in distress on the ground. Bossy attacked. I watched in horror as my dad, on all fours, was being pushed along the ground by the force of the cow biting at his back. He finally escaped by running up a large brush pile. I've been ascared of cows (all large animals for that matter) ever since.

    About 5 years later I was fishing a small creek alone. I was focused on the fishing and when I looked up, I was surrounded by a herd of grazing cattle. I freaked out and took of running through the cows. The cows, or course, looked at me with complete disinterest.

    I've gotten a little better, but I still don't trust those evil bovines.

  17. #17
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    seen a cow jump one of those waist high barbed wire fences around a pasture, it haad been spooked by a german shepherd, they can do it if they want to
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  18. #18
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    I saw one jump over the moon.
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  19. #19
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    hmmm..... I didn't realize cows in Switzerland were so evil and dangerous. I guess when you see a Swiss cattle drive, you should realize how treacherous they are...

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
    This deserves a Far Side treatment.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/lions-a...heir-backsides
    Jesus, Benny, I never thought I'd fully agree with anything you said, but I was scrolling through this thread looking for a Far Side reference and here we are.

    I completely agree.

  21. #21
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    Vonn ain't afraid of no cows...

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    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

    http://www.blizzardsportusa.com/

  22. #22
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    Neither is Candide...

    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

    http://www.blizzardsportusa.com/

  23. #23
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    Swiss cows with their flowery garlands might be fine but French cows are all devil worshipers, look at the shape of those horns:

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    It that isn't the mark of the beast I don't know what is... The one in the front is even using a wooden guide to shape her horns to be more demon-like.
    Here are a few of them having a thou shalt not pass moment:

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