The weather is finally starting to change to align with the calendar. It's hiking, camping, getting-outside-and-seeing-things season. October is just around the corner. We made a quick drive to our favorite local park for hiking and creek splashing, Hurricane Creek Park. We managed a 4.5 mile hike around the outer-most trails accessible to hikers. There are few other bike-only trails that extend up the northern paths, but I've never brought the required equipment to check that out.
|Gears of a bike hanging from a rack on the porch.|
While walking under a shaded portion of trail, in the shadow of a cliff, the kids spotted this little dude. He (she?) looks to be a ringneck snake. My reading tells me that these are usually nocturnal snakes, so seeing one around noon was a treat.
|An earthworm's worst nightmare.|
Here is my cell phone next to the snake for scale. He could have fit in my hand with plenty of room to spare. We assumed that this must be a very young, recently hatched juvenile, but I've learned that the adults only reach about 10-15 inches, so perhaps it wasn't as young as we first thought. They produce venom from something called a Duvernoy's gland. This is used mainly for capturing food and rarely as a defense strategy. When accosted by predators they usually turn the tip of their tails up and expose the bright red/yellow underside. We never saw this snake do that so I guess he wasn't very concerned with our observations and picture taking.
This is perhaps our most favored feature of the park, the Twilight Tunnel. It's not a cave but a crack in the canyon wall that formed when a large chunk of stone fell slightly away from the main structure. It's about 60-70 feet long from end to end. The trick is to let your eyes adjust and enjoy the light that filters in from the openings overhead and further down the passage. I co-hid a geocache in the tunnel that is extremely difficult to find- I had trouble locating it two years later!
|Esther near the western end of the tunnel.|
Here's a millipede from the back. Notice the tiny little millipede BUTT CHEEKS?!?!
It's not a hike in the woods unless somebody gets injured. This trip's victim was Jake. All I know is that there was some splashing and falling and dropping of water bottles and he banged his shin up on a rock. Here we are looking over the damage while Jake tries to dry out his sock. It was a pretty good ding, but he hasn't mentioned it in days. At the time there was much to do about limping and hobbling along with the assistance of a walking stick, but by the next morning... not so much.
Many years ago there was an incline cable cart that you could use to exit up the hill back to the office. I never got to ride it and the chances of it being repaired are pretty slim, but the tracks and the cart are still there, waiting patiently.
More pictures of this hike can be found here. Below are the pictures from previous visits to the park.