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Cautionary Tails

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Cautionary Tails

On my evening run through the Arizona desert last night I had a number of wildlife encounters. Expected during the summer season and remarkably common during my runs on my local trail route. I would encounter two Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes this evening which gives me almost as many sightings as all of last year (a record year for me). It is still June with about four months of watching where I step and hearing the occasional rattle, jingling while I sort out how close I am to the snake.


Of the many assorted and interesting critters I experience while I take in the desert environment, the most often seen, in this order are deer, rabbits and you guessed it, rattlesnakes. Twenty one at last count for the Spring and Early Summer season. Getting rather close to the number that welcomed me on my runs last year.


I love wildlife encounters and, well, snake encounters are a not quite a love affair but I do take on a trail runner crazy enough to run through the desert in the summer time, will trek through snake territory and will have a few meet and greet sessions with other inhabitants toting a rattle. It is their home and I do respect that simple fact.


Do rattlesnake's give my heart a jolt? No, but there is a bump in the heart rate when I take a quick dodge to the left or right to avoid a snake.  They can blend in very well to the desert floor but I have had to become great with those scaly senses.


Very, very thankful that of all the creatures on the planet, the rattlesnake rates high on the list of animals that let you know of its presence. A beautiful fact and one of the reasons I have an admiration for the scaly and sometimes noisy, scary creatures of horror films and jolting newspaper articles. Oh, those stories of people who get bitten after decapitating a rattlesnake are primal fear unleashed. 


I have adjusted my trail runs, slightly, due to encounters at the start of my trail. There are one of two 'friendly' slithery reptiles along the start of my trail time. Roughly eight or nine meet & greets within the first minute of the trail. I had to wonder about the fact that there was a r snake 20 feet up the trail. The photo below is another run-in that is at the exact start of the trail. Sheeesh! I now walk this lively section.


Clock is ticking toward my next run. Almost all of the wildlife I see on my runs is during the suppertime excursion. I will have my eyes dialed in for any and all wildlife, capture what I can with my camera and enjoy getting out in nature and continue to improve my health and diabetes care. And watch my step.

If you find yourself trekking through rattlesnake territory, do be ultra careful. I have read about some horrendous encounters with some devastating results after interactions with Mr. Rattlesnake.



Plan to share another angle on my wild wildlife experiences. Could include Gila Monsters, Tarantulas (yes, I pick them up!), Desert Tortoises, Bobcats, Javelina's (no, don't pick those up), Giant Desert Centipedes, and who knows what else might appear in my blog.

Black Rattlesnake

Black Rattlesnake

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'It is Far to EVERYTHING, except Nature


'It is Far to EVERYTHING, except Nature

'It is Far to EVERYTHING, except Nature'

Maybe 20 minutes ago I read a letter that Gunvor had written to my mother.  It is about the famed cookies that I had brought up to their cabin in Colorado.  She thanked my mother for the highly valued recipe and further on was a line she had shared about the remote location of the cabin.  She shared,  'It is far to EVERYTHING, except Nature'.  Agreed.  

This escape to the rugged majesty that is Southern Colorado was furnished by an invite from Eric (who is training me in photography) and the family cabin, situated high above Fort Garland.  Away from civilization, and close to things that wander the hills.  

The 12 hour drive would take a little bit longer as we stalked the many elusive photo ops along the back roads of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.  En route we would take the back roads of New Mexico, with an introduction to Pronghorn Antelope, and into the grandeur of El Malpais National Monument where we would encounter a few roaming elk.  They would continue their roaming ways until they connected with a herd of maybe 50.  Too far for even my 300mm lens, but a good sign for the trip.  

When we first saw the Bison in Colorado it was devouring grass behind a fence.  Only thing was that the fence had major gaps in it.  As he/she began to wander outside of the barbed wire it opened up a unique opportunity to photo and film a bison that was free to roam and spend some time near us.

1 of 3 videos I posted on my youtube channel with the Bison.

Having just worked the Race Across America in the Media 1 vehicle I was stoked to come back to what is probably my favorite area of the course.  The stunning section of Hwy 12 between La Vita and Cuchara, CO is hands down, cool and beautiful.  Unfortunately, no wildlife, but always enjoy capturing our colorful, metal rooster.

We were fortunate enough to come across a herd of 150-200 elk.  It took roughly 20 minutes for the herd to cross this area.

I wanted to include some shots of the incredible Great Sand Dunes National Park (near Alamosa, CO).  

The Rio Grande Gorge near Taos provided us with tremendous views and bighorn sheep right next to the bridge.

Shortly after returning, I came across a bobcat family of 4 near my parents house.  This was the straggler of the family, as he ran down the wall to catch up with the rest of the clan.