Archive for the ‘Western Diamondback Rattlesnake’ Tag

Western Diamondback — Tis The Season   1 comment

Brown Mountain

Brown MountainWestern Diamondback — Images by kenne

They can be found alone
the trail curled in the shade
of a nearby boulder.

The trouble is you may not see them
but not to worry, you will be
warned by their rattles, so they say.

— kenne

A Young Western Diamondback Rattlesnake   2 comments

rattlesnake-1-of-1-2-blogYesterday (November 13, 2016) I spotted this young western diamondback rattlesnake near our house. He must have sensed my presence and went to a passive “hide the head” position before I saw him. Not wanting to harm him, but not liking his proximity to the patio, I decided to encourage him to move on.  

rattlesnake-1-of-1-blogUsing a long stick, I poked him. At first, he didn’t move at all. So, after a couple more pokes he began to show his frustration and with my continued encourage, started in a direction away from the house. I watched him for awhile until I felt comfortable with where he was, not that he was going to sliver away and never come back — Tucson is the rattlesnake capital of the world, after all.

kenne

Western Diamondback In Desert Grass   Leave a comment

rattlesnake-in-weeds-2015-09-25-10-16-blog-18Western Diamondback In Desert Weeds (September 25, 2016) — Image by kenne

A snake in the grass

Adds to the risk of hiking

Heightening the fun.

— kenne

National Public Lands Day — Before and After   2 comments

invasive-plants-1-of-1-pappas-grass-before-blogBefore Image by kenne

This is a before snapshot of soft feather pappus grass in and area where Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN)would be removing invasive plants. Our focus would be to clear this area where we teach elementary children about nature, October through April.

pappus-grass-after-blogAfter Image by kenne

This after image illustrates how effective invasive plants are at crowding out native plants.

diamondback-blogRattlesnake Image by kenne

Removing invasive plants requires a lot of caution, keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes. There is a western diamondback rattlesnake in this image, which is a good example of how well the blend into grass. The snake is coiled center-right in this image.

Another Sign Of Spring   1 comment

 Western Diamondback Rattlesnake — Images by kenne
(Click on any image for larger view in a slideshow format.)

 

You Never Know What’s Behind That Rock   2 comments

Brown Mountain“You Never Know What’s Behind That Rock” — Image by kenne

“Indeed, it has affirmed my belief
that our purpose as spiritual beings is to follow our bliss,

seek our passions, and live our lives as inspirations to each other.”

― Aron Ralston, Between a Rock and a Hard Place

A Sunday Walk In The Canyon   Leave a comment

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Rattlesnake  (1 of 1)-5 blogWestern Diamondback Rattlesnake — Images by kenne

Backpacking The Italian Springs Trail To Manning Camp   9 comments

With all my outdoor experiences — hiking, river canoeing/rafting, and camping, none involved backpacking. So, when one of my hiking buddies, Tom Markey,  asked if I would be interested in backpacking from Redington Pass to Manning Camp via the Italian Springs Trail, I jump at the possibility. I learned later that this is a hike Tom had talked about for ten years — guess we finally found someone willing to take it on with him — another crazy guy!

Although the road through Redington Pass is a very passable gravel road, Markey was hoping that our mutual friend, Tom truck would be able to take us down a deeply rutted cattle road in his truck, shortening the fifteen-mile hike to Manning Camp by three miles. As it turned out, the truck was not high enough to chance the old cattle road. So, strapping on our thirty-pound backpacks, we set off with Tom in the lead. 

Since I was nursing an often injured left angle, I was more than willing for Tom to set the pace. Having hiked with Tom many times, it was not unusual for me to drop off the pace because of stopping to take photos. However, it was generally easy for me to catch up — not this time. As we hiked on, I began to realize that Tom was trying to make up for the time we were losing having to hike the additional three miles.

Not far into the hike, Tom’s pace was slowed by this guy in the middle of the trail — causing a trail detour. This was the first of two diamondbacks we spotted on the trail.

The trail led through several rolling ridges. Here you can see Mica Mountain in the distance (higher point to the left).

After about an hour, we reached the point where the cattle road would have taken us. As the sign indicates, the Italian Springs Trail is part of the Arizona Trail.

After hiking several rolling ridges, we finally reached a point where the elevation allowed us a beautiful view back toward the Catalina Mountains. In the distance to the left is Tucson. Although a wilderness area, we are not all that far from the metropolitan Tucson area. You can get an idea of where we started by looking to the right down to the base of the Catalina Mountains.

As the trail got steeper, it led us into more trees among large boulders. At least the increased elevation was providing cooler temperatures. However, the climb was beginning to take its toll — rest stops were becoming more necessary in the 5% humidity.

Now late in the afternoon and with each slow, calculated step, it was becoming clear that we would not have enough time to make fifteen-mile hike Manning Camp before dark — even on this “supermoon” night.

“What does the trail look like ahead,” Tom would ask? My standard response was, “It keeps going up!” We were beginning to feel pain from muscles we thought we had lost years ago. Our priority had now become one of finding a flat area in which to camp, leaving us four miles short of the goal of reaching Manning Camp. By not reaching Manning camp where water was available, it would be essential for us to conserve our water for the return hike tomorrow.

Finally, we reached an area at the base of Mica Mountain, which provided an open flat space where we could spend the evening.  It also offered a great view of the sunset and later in the evening, the rise of the “supermoon.”

Tired and with the sun setting, we decided to pass on preparing a warm meal and begin preparing the campsite. This would also help us conserve water, which was also needed to reduce occasional muscle cramps we had started to experience.

As Tom worked on the campsite, I captured a few sunset photos before assisting him. Cooler temperatures came with the setting sun, but the afternoon winds were to stay with us all night. The next images in this posting would have been of the supermoon rising in the east, but I was too tired to crawl out of the warm sleeping bag into the windy, cold mountain air. 

Morning brought a beautiful sunrise over the Rincon Mountains — this image is looking down toward Redington Pass and the Catalinas. Anticipating hot temperatures in the pass by mid-morning, we were eager to pack up the campsite and start down the trail.

Occasionally, we would turn to look back at Mica Mountain — “I can’t believe we did it!”

. . . and again.

With Mica Mountain framed in the background, Pat Markey took this photo of Tom and myself.

Finally, back at the trailhead, Pat was already there waiting — to our delight! She also had some much-needed water for us. We had been nursing what little water we had over the last several miles of our eleven-mile return from Mica Mountain.  In our minds, the Italian Springs Trail lived up to its reputation of being the most challenging trail in the Tucson area. Having completed the two-day backpacking hike was plenty of reward for two early seventy-year-old adventurers. However, there were moments when we were convinced that we were crazy to have taken on such a hike this time of year.

Would we do it again? No! One time is plenty!

Was it worth it? Absolutely!

kenne

(Click here to see a slideshow on Flickr.) 

View Video Clips From The Hike

(Taken with my Lumix camera — video & audio not as good as with my Canon VIKIA HF10 — at least I didn’t have to censor Tom.)

Capturing The Moment — Western Diamondback   5 comments


 Today we were hiking in the Brown Mountain area of the Tucson Mountains. This is the first rattlesnake I’ve seen in almost two years of hiking in the Sonoran Desert. Relatively speaking, this western rattlesnake is a little guy. As you can see, he blinds in nicely to the environment, which might explain why he was almost stepped on by some fellow hikers before creating a lot of commotion. By the time I got closer for these photos, he was coiled and making a lot of noise — the loudest I’ve ever heard from a rattlesnake. He was not happy with our being in his territory. I’m more familiar with darker rattlers in the southeastern U.S.

kenne


 Western Diamondback Rattlesnake — Images by kenne

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