Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two snakes

As I was riffling through a few of the LH's photographs to illustrate an article I'm working on, this image of a basaltic cliff jumped out at me. The concentric circles on the upper rock suggest the locale was Barrata Tank, a permanent water hole in Hell Canyon upstream from the SR 89 crossing. The thematic glyphs at Barrata are representations of the sun and other circles.

However, it was the snake that actually caught my eye. The shape of the head is that of a rattler. Furthermore, the zigzag is quite like the design of one of my favorite sweatshirts! In keeping with this theme, I also turned up the photo below; it's difficult to make out this fellow's head tho it's there in the center of his coil. On the other hand, his telltale rattle is very evident. But there's absolutely nothing zigzag about him.

I don't know if there are other pictures of any snakes, much less rattlers, in the LH's archives. Possibly not, because we saw few on our outings. Very strange -- there was a restaurant operator down in Peeple's Valley who was afraid of rattlers; he found them every time he ventured into the bush. We wanted to see snakes and so they made themselves scarce. The four rattlers we met in nearly 20 years of boondocking were 1) hiding in the rocks on the west side of Sycamore Canyon; 2) among the rocks on the way to the dam at Watson Lake; 3) among some boulders out Downers' Trail (pre-development), plus one timber rattler in the middle of the Copper Basin Road up near Spruce Mountain. Go figure.

Links to the Works of Nature: Finally an I-was-there description of the Great Snow of 19-aught-67; this by LindaG at her new Prescott Past blog. She was snowed in at Groom Creek. Maria Langer posts re: the dangers of quick sand in desert rivers, the Hassayampa in this case. Steve Ayres has written a report on getting to the bottom of Montezuma's Well. And for a really big picture of the natural earth, there's no better place than the daily photo from space at NASA's Earth Observatory. OK, OK, this just in -- and off-topic, but plenty worth the visit -- ROL Cats, translated from the Russian.


worldphotos4 said...

Enjoyed the post. I visited the Airzona Reptiles site you have listed on the right. I was amazed at the number of different types of rattle snakes there are in Arizona.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

An interesting snake tale: In ought 53 while working for the Fla Geol Survery, my partner (note we were not sleeping together) and I were sent to witness the cementing of an old oil exploration well in the Everglades. One of the old timers involved informed us that during the construction to the Tamiami Trail (highway from Tampa to Miami) in the 30's/40's that the omnipresence of rattlers and moccasins resulted in the workers inserting a section of stove pipe under their work trousers for protection against snake bite.


TomboCheck said...

I've yet to meet a wild rattler. We've run into a couple of bull snakes (even had one in our house!), but never one of the dangerous ones.

Hopefully I can maintain my track record. :)

Granny J said...

steve -- and the most dangerous one being the mojave rattler.

bro -- do you recall the water moccasin that tried to get into our row boat one time when we were out on McGirt's creek? It was a bit scary.

tombo -- my theory is that the snakes smelled the fear emitted by that restaurant guy and made a beeline for him. On the other hand, we were interested in them, so they figured we weren't to be trusted.

Linda G. said...

I saw a sidewinder once. It was just about to cross Hwy 89 around Wilhoit. It was moving along in a sidewise motion with it's body in loose curves (but not zig zags). I feel lucky to have seen it!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Mojave green...

... I was 10 years old and out in the Antelope Valley (pre-development) with some dove hunters. I was ambling around, like any child.

Suddenly, I heard a buzzing sound, and a hunter screamed "FREEZE!!" at the top of his lungs. Then, his shotgun's repeated blasts hit the ground next to me, only some 3-5 feet away.

I was as solid as a statue.

He walked up to the spot he had just blasted, and lifted up a very long Mojave Green rattler. Yes, GJ, it had been coiled, and we were out in a desolate place... BC, before cell phones.

Needless to say, that hunter saved my life 40+ years ago.

~Anon in AV.

P.S. THANKS for the ROL link. I loved reading the posts!

Granny J said...

lindag -- a sidewinder must be a fascinating sight! you're lucky to have seen one.

anon av -- ouch! That's scary twice over.

Cheryl Ann said...

YIKES! The only rattler I've ever encountered was the time when I was PREGNANT with our daughter, 30 years ago. He saw me before I saw him and slithered off! THANK GOODNESS! I would have fainted! Since then, I've encountered two gopher snakes at the ranch. I checked out their heads, determined they were harmless, and allowed them to go catch mice!

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