We had joked earlier this morning that one must "beware the Ides of March." We had no idea at that time how true that would turn out to be. But....I get ahead of myself with my story.
We knew we'd have to take in at least one Hotdogs cache since we'd be traveling through the Ozarks to Mountain View, because you guys always have such a great sense of place. A nice long hike looked to be perfect for us, so we couldn't wait to get here. We parked and watched as a couple waded into the water on this July-like day in March, the promised thunderstorms no where in sight. We found our way to the trailhead and started to hike. Look! Eastern redbud in bloom all over. Wildflowers along the trailsides. Spring in the Ozarks, it just doesn't get any better than this, does it?
We found the first waypoint and proceeded along the sunny trail. At some point, Trekkin' made the observation that all these rock formations look a lot like snake country back home, and he decided to move just a bit slower than he usually does. I mean, we'd already seen a couple dead armadillos along the roads here, who knows what kinds of fauna they have around here?
We would find out very soon. As we were rounding a sunny rocky slope overlooking the lake below, Trekkin' jumped back, nearly knocking me over. We watched as a large blackish snake, which had been lounging across the trail, suddenly coiled. By this time, Trekkin' had moved back and we stood, frozen, as the bugger opened its cottony white mouth and tried to strike! Not moving a muscle, we watched as it then slithered into a tree hole, slapping its tail on the leaves to create a rattle. At that point in time, we had no idea what kind of snake it was. We would learn its identity later.
We continued to enjoy the rest of the hike....slowly and cautiously! We saw a couple of small white striped lizards in the leaves. Birdin' enjoyed singing birds all over. We saw no more snakes. We arrived at the final location, where we found the cache, then sat and enjoyed the view. The hike back down was beautiful, enjoyable and free of all things serpentine.
When we arrived at our bed and breakfast in Mountain View, we were telling our story to our hosts, one of whom enjoys herptology. He brought out a little booklet of snakes of Arkansas, opened the page and showed us a snake, saying..."Was this it?" Sure 'nuff was. As the kids would say....OMG. A cottonmouth?
So not only did we find a wonderful cache in the Ozarks, Trekkin' was "treated" to one of those moments in life where a person steps back and says.....I sure have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks for the cache, Jeff and Bonnie (and Ciera and Jag). Gets a favorite from us for many reasons!
P.S. Dick says you might want to add the "snake" attribute!