Sunday's Adventure ...
A stroll between the Pine Hills bluffs and the Larue Swamp and otter ponds, along the Snake Road. Our only encounter with wildlife, for the first mile or so, was confined to millions of tadpoles and a herd of feral teenagers, who assured us they had seen "at least a dozen" snakes just up ahead, sunning themselves in the trees.
Now, I'm no herpetologist, but I was pretty sure cottonmouths don't sun themselves in trees.
Sure enough, "just up ahead" we came upon a middle-aged couple (like us, but heterosexual) circling a baby cottonmouth who was posing for pictures on the road ... not sunning himself (herself?) in a tree. We took several shots, but this closeup is our favorite, and makes this look like a much bigger snake than it really was. Impressive, huh? After several other people arrived to take pictures, with no movement from the snake, we were beginning to wonder whether it was a) a rubber snake planted by the teenagers, or b) dead of a little snake heart attack.
Some friendly poking with a stick did
elicit rapid movement on the part of the snake, as well as the young man who was crouched in front of it. As it made its way to the protective foliage beside the trail, it paused to show off it's claim to fame ... the cottony mouth.
The rest of the hike was much more productive, as we decided to follow the people who were actually finding snakes, which paid off nicely. While in their company we encountered a newborn Ringneck snake (displayed here, for purposes of perspective, in the hands of the other photographers wife, who spent the rest of the hike on her cell phone calling people to tell them she held a snake).
Having "bagged" our personal goal quota of one snake sighting per person, we felt we could bid our companions good-bye and strike off again on our own. We found another baby Ringneck without help, and came upon a family group passing a green snake around from kid to kid. I didn't get a good picture of that one, because the kid who was holding it was squealing and flailing, and his older brother was trying to rescue the snake before the first kid burst an aneurysm or smooshed it.
All in all, another very successful outdoorsy day. It wasn't the teeming, writhing, slithering mass migration of venemous serpents pouring across the road (and my boots) I had been led to believe it could be, but really I'm just as happy about that. Wading through puddles of tadpoles is probably as wild and out of my comfort zone as I should be, considering my age and cardiac risk factors.
It was a gorgeous day, I got lots of pretty closeups of wildflowers and mushrooms, we bonded with the other pale-skinned snake migration enthusiasts, we did see snakes ... and as we headed home across the Pine Hills, we pondered again the good luck which brought Ev and Lori-Fred together, like goofy bookends at either end of the Audubon collection.
Later, back at the rental farm, there was the grilling of ritual meat products and the telling of tales to the young ones
around the backyard bonfire, where we sacrificed a futon and a few beers to the gods and gave thanks for another perfect rural white trashy asshole-y kinda day.