Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On the Road to Rhinebeck- October 19th thru 21st, 2012

Every October, we take a trip to the Rhinbeck Sheep and Wool Fest in Rhinebeck NY. It is a knitter's Woodstock. Some years, the weather is cool and grey. This year, the forecasts called for milder weather. We decided to herp on the way up if at all possible. Well, the Friday morning weather was cool and rainy- not conducive to finding herps. So we drove along and, for the most part, recounted our successful herp year!

When we were almost to our hotel in Poughkeepsie, NY, we noticed a lovely stream with a field around it... it looked inviting. On the spur of the moment, I pulled off the road and up a small side street, hoping to find the park. I did... it was right there! It turns out that it was Sarah Taylor Park and we were in Fishkill, NY.

It was still raining lightly and most of the area was flooded with puddles, but we needed to stretch our legs, so we looked around this beautiful place, flipping here and there...

Such a lovely place, but surely it was too cool to yield any herps. Not even a salamander under those rocks! We got to a spot where there was broken up black-top and I stubbornly kept on flipping. Much to my surprise, one flip had a coil under it!
This Garter Snake was as startled as I was to be seen under that slab! He rapidly calmed down and we got some good shots of him.
Sorry Anon, I just couldn't control myself!

So, what a wonderful spontaneous half-hour success story! Seeing this little guy made me so damn happy! All aboard the gravy snake!!

When we reached our hotel room, the nature trip wasn't yet over! There was a stink bug in our room!
Hotel Stink Bug
We carefully corralled him and put him outside.

Saturday's weather for the Festival (October 20th) was excellent... in the low 70s!! We decided to herp the next day instead of doing the Fest for 2 days, hoping that the weather would be as nice. On Saturday, we saw no herps but there were many Wild Hoars!

So, on Sunday (October 21st) after breakfast, we trekked over to the near(ish)-by Minnewaska State Park Reserve in New Paltz NY. Research showed us that there are many resident snakes, including our two venomous favorites. The car ride was longer than expected, but we pressed on. When we got there, we found that it was very crowded. It seems we were not the only folks looking for a sunny hike!

Outside the car, it was far cooler than expected and very windy on these hills! We hiked on but it became clear fairly soon that we might not have the good fortune of spotting any herps! Still, the place was gorgeous and with the colorful leaves and dozens of tiny streams and brooks cutting through, Andrea couldn't help but document the walk!

We got to a sort of summit, where there were huge tables of rock exposed to the sun...
Seemed like a good place to poke around; at least we'd stay warmer even if we didn't see any basking beauties! There were many rocks to flips, though it was moist underneath them. Eventually, however, we found herps up there! Redbacks!
The above fellow lost his footing on Andrea's hand. To those who are concerned about such things, we often pick up the salamanders before replacing the rocks so as to not squish them. Careful we are.

When the sun went behind the clouds (which was a frequent occurrence) it got pretty damn cold!
We decided to go head back down the hill, already planning a trip here in the warmer months.

By the way, we saw signs of the very scary Wild New Paltz Hippy, but were lucky enough to not see any live specimens!

On the drive back to the thru-way, we saw these three small trees who summed up our feelings about each other, herps and nature...

The year is almost over, sad but true. But what a great year it has been! And we're not closing up shop just yet!


  1. Ya hace,frio.Los animales duermen y ustedes tienen que esperar,que mejore el tiempo...pero el paisaje es hermoso.Besos x 2Martha

    1. Era muy hermosa, Martha! Odio el invierno y la nieve, pero tenemos que soportar antes de que podamos tener un hermoso 2013!