I’m not sure if I’m the only person who experiences this. Surely there are more of you out there and today I write to bring together those who can relate to the unique phenomenon of what I like to call: People Trees. You’re most likely to experience People Trees during a mountain bike ride, but it’s also possible during a trail run. People Trees only occur off-road, and (obviously) in an area in which trees are present.
I apologize in advance because I cannot provide authentic photographic evidence to support this post. Much like Bigfoot, Nessy and other Cryptozoological creatures, People Trees are impossible to photograph. You might try, and you’d probably get a nice, scenic picture. “It’s right there!” you’d exclaim to your friends, pointing at the photographed foliage. They might humor you, or depending on how many pints have been consumed, play along and stoke your paranoid ramblings. They’ll ask for tales of the encounter and listen to you embellish for upwards of five minutes.
So, what are People Trees? Picture yourself riding along solo, enjoying a peaceful afternoon on the trails. You’ve just climbed one of the classic hills at your local area and the trail begins to wind along a plateau. Out of the corner of your eye, you see it. Another rider, gaining on you. As the singletrack turns the other direction, you lose sight of the mystery rider. The trail doubles back and you catch the rogue rider in your other peripheral. The trail is demanding, and you can’t turn to look and find out if you know this rider, but you know he’s there. But he doesn’t seem to be gaining on you. Because he’s not a rider at all. He is a tree. You just got People Treed.
There are specific trees at Hartman Rocks that pull this trick on me all the time. King People Tree is that one (you know the one) on Top ‘O the World, just as you crest the climb. It sits just off the trail, and you pass pretty nearby. Once you put some distance on this tree, he becomes a People Tree. He’s perfectly sized to be a rider, and is even shaped like a guy riding a bike. Skinny (wheelish) at the bottom, more full and robust at the top (body). Don’t be caught unawares, this tree will People Tree the heck out of you.
A reward will be offered to any reader who can provide authentic photographic evidence of a People Tree. Even though I already said it is impossible, give it a shot. Beware, the People Trees.