Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 9, 2014 - Caspey Falls, Bankhead Forest

Almost four years ago Esther and I set out on our own to find a place that we had not seen before. There was a geocache that I had been eyeballing the description of near a waterfall that neither of us had heard of before. A waterfall in Bankhead unknown to Esther? Exactly. 

The pictures from that trek can be found right here, but you don't have to run off and look at them right now.

Today we revisited Caspey Creek and the falls with our younger two along for the hike. The trail starts as an old logging trail that really isn't much to look at, but it's easy to follow. 

The old logging road

Pennsylvania Sedge

The logging road quickly gave way to a bramble of blackberry stickers so we dropped off the hillside and headed directly for the creek below. Two smaller creeks merge at the upper falls into a large pool then continue on down towards first the lower falls then Caspey Creek itself.

East upper falls

Looking across the pool to the west upper falls

Lower falls from above

Us below the lower falls

This is Ben in Caspey Creek up to his ankles in the water. This is probably the last time he will ever do this in his life. Why? Keep reading...


Chan scanning the woods with a fairy stone
This is actually kind of a big deal, this next picture. Esther is not what most would call an expert log crosser. Would you call somebody that? Is that a thing? Anyway, she ain't it. This log, however is Esther Approved™.

Although we didn't see a plethora of wildlife, we did see plenty of tracks.


90% sure these are raccoon (or opossum)

Feral hog (YES, we have those!)

Spring flowers are starting to pop up here and there. Nowhere near peak viewing, but extremely encouraging.



Okay, now for the thing in the water. Esther was watching leeches swim around in the leafy-bottomed pools at the creek and Ben and I were looking at a crawdad when we spotted this thing in the water that we first thought was a pine needle caught in the current. But pine needles don't really move like that...
Still image does it no justice

It was about 15" long but no ticker than angel hair pasta (Esther is firmly against the use of wholesome pasta in the description of the beast. I was told to tell you that.) The preview image below gives you some idea as to how it moved, but click on the link for the video and watch it.

Click HERE for the full video (30 seconds)

Now, what was it? 

A few well-worded Google searches lead me to this site: the "Hairworm Biodiversity Survey" where I learned about nematomporhs and gordiids. They are basicly cricket parasites. I tried to submit my hairworm sighting but their form email service thingy looks to be broken. :(

They pose no harm to humans or pets, but watching this video may cause you severe psychological damage. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Imagine if in the movie "Alien" the part of Kane had been played by a cricket. Sort of. *See bottom of page for a more in-depth (and graphic) description if you think that might be better than watching the actual video. 

Now, more pictures can be found here and the tracklog of our hike can be seen here.

*Except replace "chest" in "chest-burster" with "rectum" and multiply the creature count by about seven. Also, the hand that places the cricket in the jar? Yeah in this analogy that would be the android, Ash. The jar would be the sick bay. Think about it. Also, WORMS SHOOTING OUT OF CRICKET BUTT AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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