Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Arizona 2005

We are starting way back...  I had just began "herping" in earnest around the beginning of 2003.  I was amazed by pictures and stories from all over the country, but especially the tales from the west.  As a boy growing up in Ohio and Michigan and dreaming of seeing just one rattlesnake, Arizona with its numerous exotic species called to me.  Molly and I had been dating about 5 years now, and my new "hobby" was still hopefully just a passing phase, but she agreed to fly out to her families place in Arizona for a romantic long weekend.  I wooed her with tales of golf and fancy restaurants, all the while scheming on how I can sneak away to find the rattlesnakes and gila monsters that must be everywhere...

I had a couple hard lessons coming.  First, even out west, it isn't that easy (especially for a noob).  Second, romance and herping don't mix.  Period. (I still relearn that one from time to time!)

I will spare you those gory details.

I managed to meet up with a local herper and we headed out to an area NE of where the in-laws place is located.  It was late August, so we hit the washes around 530 or 6 in the morning to try and beat the heat.  After a few hours of hard hiking, I was starting to bake.  I didn't care.  It was my first southwest experience and I was loving every minute of it.

I had never imagined so much rock!

I had my first experience with desert tortioses.  I would not see them again for over 5 years.

We saw a few lizards, and I found numerous shed skins from neonate rattlesnakes under a rocky overhang.  One of the whipsnakes in the area was spotted darting across the road as well, but that was about it.

My first sideblotch...

I managed to sneak away one night to roadcruise.  This would mark the beginning of my kingsnake/gophersnake curse that took 6+ years to break.  It was a slow night, but finding my first sidewinder made everything worth it.

And just like that, I was bitten by the Arizona bug...


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