Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If You Scream.....

in the woods, but nobody is there to hear you, did you actually make a sound?

Um, yeah. I'm sure I made a sound. When I screamed. While I was trying to photograph a snake. The snake didn't want his picture taken.

I was out on Buckeye loop again yesterday, alone this time.  I know there are rattlers out there as I've seen lot's of pictures taken out there of them on the single track sections, and I've mentioned here on the blog that one of the things that makes me nervous on that trail is the snakes. It's very narrow (like one foot width wide) and lined with tall grass, very hard to see anything off the side of the trail.  I always figure I'll hear one before I ever get to it, sort of natures way of warning us, I figure.

So I'm running and see "the stick" across the trail. I had a whole conversation with myself about "if you think it could be something, assume it is." "Better safe than sorry," I told myself...as I continued running towards the stick, ignoring myself. I convinced myself it was not even a stick, just a shadow of the grass/mustard, since it was just a dark line, clearly not a rattler. Keep in mind this is happening in about the space of 5 - 10 seconds.  Well, at the last second I told myself to "Jump!!" the shadow/stick that was, indeed, a snake.

It was most likely some sort of Garter snake, was a weird pea-green color, matte not shiny, about as thick as a finger, maybe 2 ft long. His tail was in the grass on one side of the trail, and his head in the grass on the other side of the trail.  I got down low near the butt end to get a picture...and the bugger came back at me.  I dont' know if it actually struck at the camera, or what...but I did scream and I'm pretty sure my heart stopped for a beat of two! Usually a snake will just  continue slithering off in the direction he was already headed....I've never had one twist his head back around and change direction to come at me.
Where the snake was, that I did not get a picture of.

Right where Buckeye meets Stage, I passed a mt biker doing the loop in the opposite direction as me. We ended up getting back to the parking lot at the same time....he said he saw rattler just after he passed me.  That's what makes me nervous if I let myself think about it...I know they are there, and probably right near the trail watching me go by. (a secondary story here is that I was just about to drop trousers and do my business when this guy came chugging up the hill. Had he caught me, I would have been mortified to have seen him again in the parking lot. He'll never know how close he was to getting an eye full..oh, and he had a Go Pro on his chest, so it would have been recorded).

So to summarize the encounter....I pretty much did everything you should NOT do if you are miles out from civilization and think you see a snake.
Before the snake, with self timer.

Besides the snake, about every 3 minutes a quail would take flight from the grass along side the trail. They are not a graceful bird when it comes to flying, nor are they quiet. And, they are just big enough to scare me every single time.  I'd just get my nerves under control, and then another stinking quail would shoot up right beside me.

Besides the Quail, Horse Flies. GRRR. Unless I was full out running as fast as I can (think running downhill pace) I had flies on me. Biting flies. It's been...maybe years... since I had been bit by a horse fly....they aren't just annoying, they hurt! Unless I ran while flailing my arms...they were on me.

Besides the Horse Flies - spiders.  I was first in the park, and first out the trails. The prize for being first - you get to be the one that clears all the cobwebs.  At one point I had one of those thick, sticky, white net like webs wrapped around my thigh. I was frantically wiping it off and ended up with a handful of mushed spider goop.

So I guess we are now officially in  another new season on the Mt - snakes, quail, horse flies, and if you are first on the Mt-spiders.  All part of being out on the Mt, but man, my nerves were shot by the end of yesterdays run!

Some other wild life from yesterday's run - lizards....


more lizards.....

Owl or hawk?? The lack of a pointy beak, and the flat round face makes me think owl...either way, big bird.

Still lots of butterflies out there.

My nerves and I took today off.  Camping prep begins today!! We are heading up to Shasta on Thursday where we will be relaxing until Sunday!

Here's a few more pictures from yesterday -
I love these poof balls. They are on a long, tall stick and are big, like tennis ball size.

Wild White Bush, smells like lilac.

Got Dirt?

These are my mt climbing legs.  I'm fine with having thicker, muscly legs, but I will say over the past year I have weirder muscles in spots that I did not have before. I've always had some muscle in my calves and quads, but now smaller muscles are popping up. See that strip of stuff on my right leg (left in the picture)? Inside of my leg, between the shin bone and calf muscle? What is that called??  I'm fine with it being there, but it does make my leg look thicker. And if you look at my left leg (right in the picture), the strip that runs up the front of the shin...getting meaty.  Pretty neat how the body changes as your activity/type of running changes.
Alright, won't hear from me again till we get back. Have a great week and weekend!

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