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Monday, April 15, 2013

Starts out gorgeous, but ultimately isn't for the squeamish

One of my favorite memories from my childhood was our all-day picnics in the desert.  My papa would load the VW bus with everything but the kitchen sink, (no wait... there actually was a kitchen sink too) drive out in to the middle of the high desert, and we'd spend the day doing a lot of nothing.  Or at least it seemed like a lot of nothing to me as a child. In retrospect my father hunted a bit.  And there was a lot of arrow-head hunting too.  I built many forts and talked with the crows and tried to catch horny toads and lizards for hours on end. My mom worked on lunch and then dinner and would sit next to the fire reading her book.  
Eventually we'd pack up the bus when it was so dark we needed to use flashlights to make sure we had it all. 
So I've been begging Papa to take our family out for desert picnic for a while now.   The desert is just so pretty right now and it's a shame not to get out and be part of it.
Unlike my childhood, we didn't drive out in to the middle of nowhere.  But rather to a reserve with lots of hiking paths.  And of course the younger ones were itching to climb up the mountain as soon as we got there.  
 Remember the days when you could jog up a hill?  Me neither.  
Tess, who is always so excited about life, ran farther ahead.  And that's when Tess stumbled upon him... literally she almost stepped on him.  Twice.  Once going and once coming when I had a mini panic attach, screeched, and she came running back to me.  She didn't see him stretched out in the path sunning himself either time.  
He's a diamond back rattle snake.   Later, when I got home, we counted the rattles to tell how old he was, and he's between 8-9 years old and a good size rattler.  It's spring after all, so the critters are out doing what critters do in the spring.  

He wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere.  I shoed the little ones back down the hill.  And he just laid in the path while I shot pics.  Thank golly I had my 100mm, and it allowed me to get close up without getting close up.  

Ultimately he coiled up under a bush, ready to protect himself.  So here's the part not for the squeamish or snake-a-phobics.  
My favorite part is me saying to Papa, "Okay.  Don't go any closer.  Please."   Understatement!  Boo is apparently the only smart one among us who says he want to go back down.   And I love that you can see his rattles shaking.   

I'll leave you with that sound to ponder.  Us desert rats know that sound well.  Hopefully.

ps-Papa's phone was zoomed in, so he's not actually as close as the video looks.  Hopefully he's an inch or two farther than striking distance!


  1. GIRL!! That is FREAKY!!!! I love you, the true photographer, not giving up an opportunity for pictures :) GORGEOUS photos!

  2. Glad Tess didn't get bit.. that being said.. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I wish I could see the desert in the spring. Some day.

  3. Oh my gosh !! Love love love the pix but... Um that snake, not so much. I would have been outta there too!
    What a fun adventure - we don't have anything like that in the city. I would love to see the desert in the spring it looks so beautiful !!! Thx so much for sharing

  4. Absolutely great stuff - in particular since no one got bit!! My "close encounter" was backpacking in NM when during the night one curled up on my sleeping bag to stay warm! one of the other guys with me shooed him off with a nice long stick and we were no worse for the wear either! I mean they really mean no harm!!

    Still - took some guts to lay down for the pics - and I put him at about 9 too - unless it's been some crazy seasons and he shed once (more or less) than every year!

    hugs - aus and co.

  5. Awesome photography!! Thanks so much for following me Nancy, I look forward to seeing more of your posts! ~Cheryl (CherCroppin)

  6. That is one thing I was happy to leave in New Mexico when we moved to Nebraska!

  7. Gorgeous kids, beautiful photography and UGLY snake!! I hadn't gotten the courage to watch the video! I WILL ADMIT, I would have RE-LEARNED how to JOG, once I saw THAT THING!!!

    Heck, the RUBBER SNAKES still give me the "willy's"!


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