One of the highlights for me so far? The wildlife in the desert, baby. Any snake that doesn’t have his face stuck in a bush, any lizard that’s moving too slowly or a flower that’s far too bright to ignore gets a lens in the conk. We’ve also seen a few bunnies, quick to jolt away before our cameras are out, and Elie had a dream about bobcats and whales, but no luck seeing those in the desert so far.
So, as a showcase of a few beasties met on the trail (non-exhaustive), I plan to regale you with anecdotes of our wildlife encounters.
It had to be Ladypants, the tip of our spear met this little fella sprawled across the trail. Our non-expert eyes tell us he(?) is a juvenile, as his rattle is not fully developed and he’s only little. He didn’t rattle, he just wound off in to the nearby brush and posed for this picture (you may have to look closely to find this fella).
Henley’s Horny Toad
Again, Ladypants sharp eyes and Doolittle-esque communication with the animals allowed us to photograph this horned toad. Usually the lizards in the desert have been dusting before we can whip out the camera, thank you little guy for letting us snap one.
Big Ass Gopher Snake
Who knew that these could get so big? Probably a lot of people, but still, we didn’t expect a snake of this size to be waiting for us on the trail. Again, it was Ladypants who was up front and ran in to him first. We saw another of a similar size up near Idyllwild, but he was shy and had his face stuck in a bush.
FD was in the zone as we stormed past this guy late in the day. He was only little but definitely jolted at her presence, either mock striking or just jumping out of sheer surprise. Again, we heard no rattle, one day we’re going to get threatened by one of these (maybe by one of the more aggressive Mojave Greens further north) but not today.
Ants, millions of them
In the desert, it seems as though you can’t walk more than 10 metres without stepping over a small hole vomiting ants. Then the questions start flying, do they have some sort of mega structure under my feet? Do they hate their neighbours? How many ants live in this hole? How many ants have I seen today?!
Fully Grown Sandy Rattler
Wooooo! A proper fat, dangerous looking snake. It wasn’t scared of us and decided it preferred to stay and sun bake on the trail, why should it move for a few hikers coming past? We slowly crept around in the brush, checking for more snakes as we went.The excitement of seeing a creature such of this adds a lot to the trek, the venomous element definitely gives it an edge, but seeing something foreign in its habitat is just beautiful.
The group was spread as we stormed towards the goal of Big Bear. The contrast to the name of our target town was this little guy sat in the middle of the trail. Either frozen in fear are making a stoic stand in the face of giant white man, the pose was gobbled up by the camera. Unfortunately, he’ll probably be gobbled up by something else in the next few days, my money is on snake.
Flowers because Mum likes gardens
We went to a talk, we should know what these are, but I can’t remember most of them, so here are some pictures. On top of these are a huge list of attractive flowers and out of this world plants, but the cameras haven’t made it out of the pack (for whatever reason) and this is a source of regret.
The desert has been a beautiful place to scuttle. I’ll create some pages in the permanent menu to keep these flora and fauna galleries sticky, I’ll also work on getting the proper names for things. Peace to one and all x