Yep, three of them. I think that they’re all Western Diamondback rattlesnakes. I saw the first one at dusk and the next two when it was dark. I used both my headlamp and flashlight to look for them as I made my way back – much more slowly than normal. I was on a grassy jeep road, but none of them were in the grass. I think they chose relatively open spots to stay warm as the sun set.
For Wednesday night’s hike, I did a 7.75 mile loop in MMRP.
I saw more critters than normal on Wednesday. I saw a tortoise, a white sphinx moth caterpillar, lots and lots of moths, some of which might have been of the white sphinx variety, two packrats, two rattlesnakes, a scorpion, and a corral snake.
Heather and I hiked a ten mile loop starting from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Total elevation gain was slightly over 1900 feet. We hiked the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead until the first climber’s access trail to the right. From there, we hiked up to the ridge upon which Tom’s Thumb is situated. We hiked the ridge past Tom’s Thumb and then continued on the heavily used access trail down to Tom’s Thumb Trail. From there, we hiked down East End Trail, then took Windmill, Coachwhip, Pemberton, Boulder, and Marcus Landslide to return.
Along the way we encountered Anika, who we’ve seen trail running in various parts of the Preserve. I usually see her on the Bell Pass Trail, but today we met her as she was running up the East End Trail. She was running a seventeen mile route on Friday which had a lot more elevation gain than what Heather and I did. And she was doing it with just one small water bottle tucked into the elastic waistband of her running shorts!
This is a sunrise shot from the parking lot:
There are many interesting rock formations on the way up to the ridge.
Heather spotted this Tarantula as we were hiking up to the ridge:
Approaching Tom’s Thumb:
As we were making our way over to Tom’s Thumb, we saw a snake ahead!
We she got home, Heather’s husband, Dave, identified it as a Sonoran Coral Snake.
Heading down Tom’s Thumb Trail towards the East End Trail…
A view from the East End Trail:
Nearing the Windmill Trail…
This collection of saguaros is on the Coachwhip Trail:
A side trail off of Marcus Landslide leads to this fallen mushroom rock:
As I was driving out, I saw a snake in the parking lot. I stopped and got out to take a look. The snake crawled towards the car as I was getting my camera out of the trunk. By the time I had my camera ready, it had crawled under the car! I took some (dark and noisy) photos of it underneath the car. A short while later I managed to back up without running of the snake. I left the headlights on so that I could get this shot.