A family friend’s son has come to the East Coast for college. Having grown up in the western deserts, he was thrilled to see a four-season Fall this year. We invited him to come out to our cabin in the Appalachian Mountains for a little color change. Such novelty and enthusiasm, he had for the weekend.
As summer temperatures have lingered around, we could not say that the mid-7o’s was representative of Autumn, but it did make for a good hike in our local state park. We connected several portions of trails to hike up to Cranny Crow overlook. This gives one views south-east to Virginia, and west several ranges over in West Virginia.
The hike is through an oak-hickory forest. The rain that week had knocked down many of the leaves that had turned red on the dogwoods and black-gum trees. But the hickories gave splashes of yellow against the still-green oak trees.
From the rock out-crops at the top of the hike, we had clear views of the valleys. A few vultures drifted on warm up-drafts. At the top, we pulled out our Pullman’s lunch of bread, Stilton cheese, and apples. Did I mentioned that the elevation change from the creek to the crest is about 800 feet? Steep enough to allow us to leave the sweat shirts in the car as we would warm up internally from a bit of exertion.
As our hike was mid-day, the forest critters were mostly bedded down. We saw a few chipmunks and squirrels, but none of the large animals. A timber rattle snake had found one of those forest rodents for lunch too. Oh, did I mention rattle snake on the trail? This is Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
Our student guest has some tales to tell back at school.
Beautiful country, but oh that snake!
I know some other readers who will not be thrilled with that photo (or the idea that if they visit us, they might encounter one).
One of my phobias, I must admit. Makes me glad I live in Maine.
No snakes in Maine?
Yes, but not poisonous ones. For that I would need to move to Ireland. If only!
You didn’t dig out the rattler for a head shot????? Laughing. He has such a different pattern than our westerns and diamonds….Gorgeous shots!
I used the telephoto lens, while the rest of our party wanted to head back up the trail. We eventually went off the trail to make a circle about a dozen feet away from striking zone.
I love the change of colors in autumn even though I grew up with it. But I´m sooo happy that there are no snakes where I´m living!! 😀 Would probably make me running and screaming my head off when I see one 😉 Sarah
We did have some debate among our party whether to retrace our hike (we were near the end), versus going off the trail about a dozen feet. Fortunately, the snake had recently had a meal and was not interested in moving fast.
Yikes! I was luxuriating in the beauty of your photos and descriptions until the last one!😃😀 Grass snakes are bad enough! A wonderful hike and thank you for letting us tag along. The oak-hickories are a glory of yellow! Wow!
I’m not familiar with grass snakes. Is this a West Coast species? The timber rattlers mostly live at the top of our mountain among the rocks. They descend during dry periods looking for water. Our non-poisonous snakes include garter snakes (eat insects and small reptiles), black and rat snakes (eat rodents). We encourage them to live in the rock walls of our garden for pest control. As an added benefit, rattle snakes will not come into the territory of a black snake, which can kill a rattle snake. Good to have some thugs on your side.
This sound like a (nearly) perfect day! I don’t think we have rattlesnakes, or any poisonous snakes, in New York . . . I hope.
Despite the rattle snakes, this is such an enjoyable post, Oscar. Lucky you to live in such a beautiful place.
The timber rattlesnakes are actually an endangered species. Yes, they are deadly (the worst bit of any rattlesnake in the American continent, I understand) and therefore people routinely kill them. But, I view them, from a distance, as providing as much benefit in our forests and other critters which I prefer to keep a respectful distance from. Also, they are not aggressive, only defensive. If only we humans could figure that concept out. Happy trails.