I have been on the Rail to Trails and fishing over the past two days. I’ve seen quite an assortment of wildlife as a result – seeing more rattlesnakes than I’ve seen probably in the last 20 years! First, I heard from my neighbor say that he saw one crossing Pine Creek about a week ago. Then I was riding on the Rails to Trails and saw one near our place, and lastly, today I saw the last one on 414 while driving just before getting to the store in Slate Run! Fortunately I’ve only seen them while I was biking and driving (and not as I was about to take a step fishing). Could it be possible that they are on the move with normal migration instincts kicking in – on their way back to their dens for the year?
Yesterday I rode up to Cedar Run and stopped and got some ice cream. While I was riding back I was contemplating if I should ride on down to Cammal and then turn around and come back. Just how good was I feeling? Good enough to ride to Cammal! Before I had decided to ride on to Cammal, I got distracted. Rattler #1:
I stopped to take the pictures and another biker arrived and stopped. His friend behind him didn’t and rode right past the snake (a safe distance to the right). Stopped observer to friend ‘Hey there’s a rattlesnake’ – the friend: ‘Where?’… UB: “You just blew right past him!’. The friend stops some 20 feet past at a safe distance. Snake retreats safely into brush, and I take off on the bike. Sighs…. people!
So I proceed to Cammal, take a leisurely lap around the greater metropolis and then start back toward Slate Run. I run into Porky on the way back. As I went past him or her, it reared itself into a defensive posture! I was a little surprised (only a little) as I thought I was passing it at a safe distance. I guess I’m glad it didn’t lunge left.
Today, Sunday, I decided I’d go look at water temperatures and see if I could fish a little. Water temps where I was considering fishing was 59.5 degrees! I thought I’d give it a go.
I was tying on my simple black, size 12 parachute ant which kept breaking off. After 2 or 3 times of that, I prepared my set-up with a 7x extension to the leader. That still broke once while I was tying on the fly! I lost the fly in a tree branch on the stream and then tied on a 6x tippet – THAT seemed significantly stronger! The ant did the trick again though.
I had 3 fish on and slip off before I could bring this one to wetted hand. Thank you Mr. Fontinalis for allowing me to postpone your release momentarily and for posing for a few pictures. This will be my last brookie of summer 2020. They sure are pretty fish! I will not be back until the end of the month when we’ll be in, technically, astronomical fall.
There was one more that I got to take a fly before I had totally disturbed the spot. But like the first three, it managed to slip off before getting its mug shot.
While I was walking back to the car, I got distracted again. Somehow I managed to notice up ahead, just before I broke out clear enough to it – I managed to sneak up on a grouse.
I actually was able to take about 3 shots before this grouse turned and crossed the road completely. I couldn’t believe that I snuck up to it. So I walk up to where the grouse had crossed and just as I took another step, World Ward III broke loose! Two more grouse exploded at my 3 o’clock, one heading to 1:30 and the other to 4 o’clock! Reminder: bring defibrillator next time. I wasn’t ‘that’ startled but … ok maybe I was just momentarily.
In July or August I wandered over to Cushman View from here and took Francis-Leeonia Road to get there. There were about three places, patches on the road, that I probably should NOT have driven the 2010 Honda Odyssey van through. The last spot was particularly nasty but somehow the Honda got through it! I was relieved. We’ve sold the van and I recently got a Toyota Highlander. This vehicle, in my opinion, is a SUV-wannabe. It’s more like a car or van. But I took this same route that the van took. I could always turn around. I thought the road was being worked on when I last traveled it. It proved to be not as hair-raising an excursion as I thought it could have been.
Two more distractions before I got back to camp.
Some turkeys strolled out into the open and allowed me to take a few snapshots. Then back on 414 I was following this slow vehicle heading back to Slate Run when it stopped suddenly. Of course I groan but I glance out the right window and see the bear. It had a tag in one of its ears.
Before I had started to drive back to Slate Run…
Summer is practically ‘holiday-wize’ over. Labor Day is tomorrow. Meteorological Fall is here (but astronomical isn’t hooray!). But… the days are getting shorter, so to speak.
There’s still time to enjoy what there is to do in the area though. As I close out this blog listening to Eric Clapton, “I Don’t Know Why”, I … don’t know how long I’ll be coming back to Slate Run (hopefully for many years to come), but… I do know why.
Till we see each other again… UB