Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6, 2012 - Galls, Snakes and Cats; Richard-Martin Trail

I'm not going to waste much time with the jibba-jabba. Esther and I went back to the Richard-Martin trail again today even though it tried to kill us the last time we were here. We walked the from the southern trail-head to Elkmont and back. Along the way we managed to find a few things that we didn't see the last time as well as revisited some spots from our last trip.

A flower that Esther couldn't identify! Gasp!

We stopped at this little mud puddle on the side of the trail for about 10 minutes. Every time we'd move closer another frog would be frightened into jumping into the water and we'd both jump. The shallow water had fish, tadpoles, water striders and water boatman swimming around doing what they do.

I happened to look over at the edge of the stream that runs next to the trail and spot this sleek dude. After first identifying him as non-venomous by the round pupils of his eyes, managed to get pretty close and take some decent pictures. One of us passed a shadow across his face and its forked tongue started flickering. When he realized he might be in trouble he tried to fake us out by shaking his tail in the leaves. I've always heard about or seen on TV that some snakes will do this to imitate a rattle but this is the first time I've ever seen it with my own two eyes. Although we backed off he made a run (slither) for it and was gone in seconds.

I've researched the web and figured out that what we saw on the trail next, attached to the leaves of a bush is some sort of gall, similar to lime nail or bugle gall

We spent a little more time in Elkmont that usual and hung out in the gazebo at the local park and took a few pictures of the stores along "downtown".

Antique store kitty is not amused

More pictures of the trail can be found here.
The tracklog can be gazed upon here.

Total distance: 21.32 km (13.2 mi)
Total time: 5:15:32

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