Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rattling off the miles

Today, prompted by a bulldozer up ahead (still widening the road), I diverged from my usual Conway Ranch Loop, running around the hill on the Northeast side of the ranch, instead of over it, on a jeep trail I'd never tried out before. The road dipped through a spot of willows near an irrigation ditch, and there, I leaped! Even belly up--clearly deceased--a snake triggers instincts I can't suppress.

I kept going, but as I so often do, turned around. Because it didn't quite look like a gopher snake. Sure enough, it wasn't. It was a rattler. I squatted, flipped it over.

How did I know it wasn't just feigning death, like a hog-nosed snake sometimes does? Well, red ants crawled over its body, and there was a coagulated explosion on one of its long sides (evidence that it had been run over). I brushed two fingers across its amazingly large, smooth, ribbed and layered scales (see photo ... someone else's), and noticed its black tongue was sticking out, still, from the point of its diamond head as if the snake died mid-taste. And I counted four tiers to its rattle (incredibly, these are modified scales), which means it was just four years old.

I paid a little more attention to the ground for the next few miles. A good run, otherwise.

13 mi, 91 min; Conway Ranch Loop (slightly modified) with Goat Ranch Cutoff O+B extension

Tuesday, 6/27 -- AM: 10 mi, 70 min; old 395 to Cemetery Rd -- PM: 4 mi, 28 min; Mono City Sage Ramble

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