Ok, we had agreed to take a picnic lunch & go exploring today.
Duane thought Holcomb Valley, & i lean toward Glass Canyon, but then i thought of how many roads & trails there are around here we've never explored. So we decided to try Jenk's Lake road. We got a little way down it. We went toward the lake, which was bigger than either of us expected, but there were a lot of people there & a parking fee Duane didn't want to pay.
So we explored the road a little farther. Didn't see any likely places to picnic. But eventually i see a trail off to the right & a fallen log in the shade. So we pulled off there. Got one spot & put down our blanket, but weren't too sure of it. The ground was very soft & pocketed with some holes. I'm thinking gopher/ground squirrel, but Duane said, "I hope it is not snake." I didn't think snake likely in that spot, but there was soft dirt kicked up around the fallen log which made me think of ants.
Sure enough, we're not down on our blanket 5 minutes before Duane tells me there is a huge ant - like a centimeter long - headed for his food. We wait a couple of minutes & another ant joins the first, so we get up.
We find a spot on the other side of the trail that is somewhat shaded. The ground is soft here, too, but we don't have any ants join us. A blue jay comes by & Duane throws him a small piece of bread. The jay flutters around quite a bit, but eventually takes it. So we toss him some more food & he comes back, quite near us, several times. But then we are done with lunch.
I wish the pics of the jay had come out better.
We decide to walk the trail a little farther, & find a quiet place to sit for a while. Our lunch spot had been rather near the road, tho only 3 cars went by in the half hour or so that we were there. It was quiet where we lunched. Mostly we only heard the wind in the top of the trees, tho there was no breeze where we were at. But we want something even farther from the road.
We walk out a little ways & down hill & i spot a lovely shady spot under a tree that looks like a good spot to cuddle for a while.
Again the ground here is very soft, but doesn't seem bad. The spot i'd chosen was about 20 ft from the trail we were on. I got almost there with Duane following & i was looking at a couple of branches we would have to move when i realized one was not a branch.
So i stopped dead.
"What's wrong?" Duane asked.
"I don't like snakes," i replied.
"Ok." He didn't understand.
"That is not a branch, it is a snake, & i don't like snakes." Very gently he moved me behind him & went to where i had been, about four feet from the "branch."
I moved a couple of feet farther off, but didn't go back to the trail. I was trying to be very calm, knowing that most snakes are not poisonous, etc., etc.
"What kind of snake is it?" I asked Duane.
"A black snake or a garden snake," he replied.
"You can take pictures if you want. I'm ok." So i handed him the camera & he put it on zoom.
A couple of minutes later, "Ought - oooo."
Me: "What? What? What ought -oooo??? Did you see rattles?"
He didn't respond to me.
"Did you see rattles?"
"Well, yes, i'm pretty sure those are rattles."
I was back on the trail before he finished the sentence. "I'm out of here!"
But i stood on the trail while he finished picture taking.
The snake never moved the whole time we were watching it. Rather from the time i spotted it & quickly went elsewhere & while Duane was taking pics.
I've known for a long time that i "don't like" snakes, but had not realized that i'm that terrified of them. I won't say phobic, because if i was phobic i never would leave the house, or at least not to go exploring our mountains. I have often thought the rocks in these mountains remind me of the ones in East Tennessee. When i was a child & would play in the hills i was frequently warned to watch for snakes, especially in the rocky areas. My family has many snake stories.
At least we know my heart is ok! It was racing for 15 minutes or so, but i was fine. It would start up again if we talked about it too much, such as Duane saying, "If it had bitten you . . . " or, "We might have caught it . . . " We finally had to stop discussing it.
Duane did a search. We couldn't find a picture that looked exactly like this one, but he thinks it was an Arizona Black Rattlesnake. (Darn thing doesn't know Arizona is MILES from here!)
Anyway, i was able to tell my husband, "You now know how i respond when i am terrified." (And i am very proud of myself that i did not scream!)
What a fun day!
We did not get any good pics of the mountains. I enjoyed it. I usually drive on our trips up & down the mountain because i get car sick. We took it slow today & Duane drove so i got to see much more of our beautiful drive than i usually do. Lovely day.