Monday, August 13, 2007

Mother Nature's birthday gifts to me...

- beautiful weather
- clear sky on Sunday night
- meteors galore, including flaming ones
- close-by bald eagle sighting (along with a juvenile)
- snake adventure
- warm river water to swim in (relatively)
- wild turkey sighting
- 27 chigger bites (that one I could do without)

Along with that, the discovery of a decent restaurant with a huge porch, with the view below. Just amazing...

So, shall I tell you about the snake adventure or the chiggers? OK, chiggers came first so it will come first. We went to a new climbing site, out of the way. Ran into a guy who was telling us a bit about the place, including that there were lots of bald eagles (proven right), osprey (did not see or hear one), and chiggers (proven right).

I've had chigger bites before, but never really researched them. Here's a site.

Note one sentence: You should also take a shower as soon as you get back from an outdoor expedition, to remove any chiggers before they attach to your skin. Lordy. We did not take a shower when we got to the campsite since we were both stuffed (mmmm... sweet potato fries!) and tired and wanted to just sleep (actually, I made the mistake of being influenced by my husband). HUGE mistake (it's all his fault - :-) ). I now have 27 bites on my body. Below is a picture of a few on my knee (as well as my trademark 'nasty knee' from climbing - one big bruise).

So, on we go to the snake adventure. Well, we did a long, hard climb and decided to end the day early and go to an out of the way river that we had been to before and go swimming. There has not been a lot of rain for a while (obviously I don't live in Texas), so the water level was really low. We started walking in the riverbed, from rock to rock, looking for a good spot. My husband told me to watch out for snakes and I thought he was just kidding, but he was serious. Copperheads like water, apparently. I had only seen them at the base of climbs, which at least where I go are never near water. So I let him go first. :-)

Anyway, we walked quite a ways and finally found a spot that was deep enough at least to get to your waist. I wasn't sure I was going swimming, so my husband waded across to the other side to put his stuff down and go swimming. All of a sudden something breaks the surface and heads in the direction of my husband - fast. I just yelled 'holy crap' (what a good girl I am - no swearing) and then when I realized it was a snake I yelled for my husband to get out of the way. He managed to move a few feet away without killing himself tripping/slipping on a rock, and then we both see what it is. A big copperhead with a fish in its mouth!

First off, it came from exactly where he/we were going to swim. Holy crap all around. A bite won't kill you but it sure would hurt. Secondly, I never knew copperheads could/would fish! But this thing had a 4-5 inch fish in its mouth. It went to the shore and held on while the fish flopped. Slowly slowly it moved its head down the body of the fish to the head, and then rather quickly (5-10 minutes) swallowed the fish head first (and every 15 seconds I'm looking around to make sure there isn't another one). Incredible. Then it went into the water and swam off away from us.

Needless to say, we did not go swimming in that river. We went to a different, much more populated swimming hole and swam there.

All in all it was a wonderful time. And I got the following too via email!


Gyuss Baaltar said...

skinny dipping I assume?

NoRegrets said...

First time we went there, yes (which was actually quite surprising since my husband is shy boy). Second time, since we never made it in the water, well, who knows what might have happened!