Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Snakeblogging

A couple of hours after the world cup games Saturday morning were plenty for a leisurely jaunt up the Green Mountain trail in the Catalinas. I hadn't been on this one before; it's going to turn into one of my favorites, given my inordinate fondness for damp creekbeds, ferns, and big big rocks. The trailhead is at the back of the General Hitchcock campground, roughly 5,000 ft up, but you can pick it up by following the streambed that runs uphill behind the Bear Canyon and Chihuahua Pine picnic areas.

Water strider (middle left) skimming along next to a ponderosa
pine reflected in a late-season pool.

The added bonus came on the way back to the truck, when I doubled my career snake sightings in the span of about fifty yards. First up was a two-foot Arizona Black Rattlesnake that was heading across a large rock in the streambed just ahead of me. Note to non-Arizona readers contemplating a hike here: don't mess with rattlesnakes. Give 'em a nice wide berth, take advantage of the zoom function on your camera, and move along.

Mildly annoyed rattlesnake.

I immediately started paying much closer attention to where I was stepping, and a few minutes later did a better job of spotting the Sonoran Desert Kingsnake slithering across a remnant sandbar.


Kingsnakes slurp up rattlesnakes like spaghetti, but this one was probably too small yet to pose much of a threat to the guy upstream. Isn't he handsome?

Red next to black, friend of Jack.

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