You may not expect spontaneous wildlife encounters as part of the package when you sign on for a bike tour with Sojourn but that’s all part of the plan. After all, if we shared everything about what you might experience along your ride, it would diminish the adventure.

Given the scenic and off-the-beaten-path cycling routes and other activities including in Sojourn tours, there is always the possibility that one might have an incredible, chance encounter with wildlife – not the dangerous kind but the “wow, that was amazing” kind. As unpredictable as nature can be, it often has a way of surprising you just when you least expect it.

And, just so you don’t think we’re pulling your leg, we’re going to share with you a few select “nature moments” that our tour leaders captured on camera during 2015. Needless to say, there are many more that fall into the “I couldn’t get my camera out of my jersey quick enough category” yet remain clearly stamped in the minds of those who were witness to such memorable moments.

 The Great Blue Heron is often a companion during our hikes on California’s Sonoma Coast (pictured here with Sojourn guests in the background). A heron even followed along behind a group for nearly a half mile once, strutting like one of the gang.

 This Desert Spiny Lizard was spotted during a tour in Arizona. While small lizards are often seen basking in the sun, this beauty is rarely seen in the wild. It usually seeks the shade – unlike Sojourn guests during our winter tours here!

 Elusive and evasive, this beauty was observed prowling the edge of a hummingbird sanctuary in Arizona. Delighted guests kneeled quietly as it searched for prey. They forgot all about the hummingbirds they were in search of, having had this unusual and amazing encounter.

 This young Pronghorn was spotted while trying to impersonate a goat on a ranch in Texas. These fascinating animals seem to have springs for legs. Often seen in herds and easily spooked, this youngster seemed to think he was well-disguised among his distant cousins.

 Though not wildlife per se, this young Morgan foal decided to kick up its hooves and prance out of the barn into the sunshine. It stopped to nuzzle a Sojourn guest before handlers corralled it. This strong and good-natured  breed traces much of its lineage to Vermont.

 Curious and playful, the Western Scrub Jay never fails to entertain. Seen predominantly along the coast of California, this noisy relative of the Blue Jay is not afraid to beg for a handout from humans. Hey, a little tuna on rye must be considerably tastier than a bunch of gnats.

Spontaneous wildlife encounters are just that. We can promise you many things on Sojourn tours but there’s a bit of luck involved in experiencing those once in a lifetime moments. Regardless of whether you are lucky enough to see a bobcat in Texas or a whale off the coast of California, rest assured you’ll come away from your Sojourn tour with a collection of wonderful experiences.