Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Again? Are you serious? 6-16-2013

After the previous day's soggy adventure, we were eager to get back to the familiar and the easy. Something close by... like Cutler! Of course, we knew trails might be a bit wet, but nothing like yesterday's white-water herping!

So, we slept in a bit and got there at 8:30. The grass was still dewey. It was an uneventful walk towards Racer Alley... we saw no herps. We had planned to head up to the tracks and herp down as it was a Sunday and the trains wouldn't be running. Also, the path was pretty much under water...

OK, so we were going to get wet. We knew it would happen. There were drier spots, but from above, we saw mostly a wet trail below.

We saw no snakes among the rocks, but Andrea found these dry Racer eggs up by the tracks.
There were more under the rock nearby, which we hoped were viable.

We reached the end and went to our traditional end-of-Alley resting spot. Where there was usually a four foot drop to the water at a cement wall... there was water. Over the wall. Lots of bright and spotty Bullfrogs too!

We decided to take the trail back towards the tunnel... barefoot. The bog area had risen and connected with the Racer Alley rocks, putting the path 90% under water. This wee Painted Turtle was surprised to see us wading past his basking spot!

While it wasn't as crazy as the day before, the water still got pretty deep in spots!

The trail-water was clean and clear... clear enough to see this huge fucking LEECH!
This bastard was about 4 inches long and gave me the heebie-jeebies! Leeches are my kryptonite... the one thing that gives me shivers. (I've had them between my toes and it's rather unpleasant!)

Well, we made it unscathed and unleeched to the tunnel and proceeded into the woods, still snakeless. A fellow hiker had mentioned that it gets pretty muddy and he was right. But we went on until we got to a clearing and saw this Painted Turtle sitting there!
Quite the iridescent chelonian, I should say!

This butterfly was teasing us...
A Painted Lady? I'm still working on this one.

We finally arrived at our flippin' spot and decided to mix it up and visit the bike ramp (that we have torn apart) first. I thought I saw a good sized whoosh through the grass near it, but didn't think about it again. We were flipping the boards we'd set up and the next one looked good. I said "that one will have something"... and it did! A Milk Snake! Andrea made a quick grab as it started to slide under the boards...
A very dark one, and the first we'd seen in this section of the park!
Come to think of it, this was our first ever Milk Snake flip here! We usually see them out and about!

So, we let him go
and started flipping some more!

I found this very clean, young Garter Snake!
He seemed like a good candidate for our new "Snakes and Flowers" motif!
As usual. Andrea's nails matched beautifully!

So, while my lovely bride was... err... looking for Wood Frogs way off behind a hill, I poked around. Over by that ramp, I saw a whoosh again, and saw some stripes to go with it! It was a pretty large Garter! It disappeared under the "ramp". I groped around under it, but felt nothing. Andrea came out and saw me and I explained what I was doing. (I had also peeked and Milky was back where we'd originally found him.) I went back and "noodled" some more and all the way to the right, I hit coils. Fat coils! Andrea said my eyes got as big as saucers! This is what I pulled out!

This big gal was none too happy with me for extracting her from her digestion-hole, so we snapped a few quick pictures and let her go back!

On the way out, I was far too lazy to remove my shoes for the section of Racer Alley that would take us back towards the car. (Plus, that leech was still in my mind!) I just sloshed through with my shoes on. Andrea more sensibly went barefoot. Most of the cover that we had laid down earlier in the year was floating. Then we saw some familiar faces! Steve New England Herps and Matt were scaling the rocky face of Racer Alley! They had just gotten there! "I just spotted some Northern Herpers" Steve called out!

They had just arrived and within minutes, Matt had found this gorgeous Milk Snake!
Almost Corn colors!

I hopped up the hill to join them for a minute or two, but Andrea, barefoot but not pregnant, was unable to climb the rocks.

I found no snakes, but there were huge skins up there!

So, we left our friends and headed out. They found a few Milks and Racers in our absence! We went home and showered and got ready for our Father's day celebration with Andrea's mom and pop and my kid, son-in-law and Granddaughter. We did them the honor of not smelling like musk.

With our 9-day vacation coming up, we wonder if it will dry out a bit by then...

1 comment:

  1. I got really scared when I saw my name in the same sentence as the word "pregnant", especially since I am sitting her shoving Stacey' s pita chips into my mouth as I read this.