Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thinking About Tubing The Clear Water Of The Tandy River With Snakes In The Trees

You are looking at today's crystal clear water of the Tandy River, as clear as the Guadalupe or San Marcos River. Very inner tube floating worthy.

Unfortunately, in about a half mile, maybe less, the crystal clear water of the Tandy River joins up with the Trinity River, which is currently a popular inner tube floating recreational destination for those with an aversion to doing their inner tube floating in crystal clear, debris-free water.

It was only 88 when I took off for some Tandy Hills hiking today, with the 68% humidity making it feel like 105.

To me it felt way HOTTER than 105. I was totally soaked by the time I made it back to the relative comfort of an A/C cooled vehicle. The Town Talk walk-in cooler today was too cool, due to being too wet. I won't be doing anymore middle of the day Tandy Hills hiking until the humidity turns reasonable again.

I had an unsettling moment on the Tandy Hills today. My one long time reader may remember me mentioning my aversion to snakes. I am much less averse than I used to be. Multiple encounters with various snakes, including some of the venomous sorts, like rattlesnakes and copperheads, with no dire result, has made me less nervous about snakes.

I remember way back when I first discovered the Tandy Hills I assumed the hills must be infested with snakes. I remember emailing Don Young and asking about Tandy Hills snakes. He allayed my worry.

In all my Tandy Hills hikes I had only seen one snake, that being a little skinny green snake.

Until today.

I was going down the north option at the junction with the trail that comes down from the top of Mount Tandy, where the Fort Worth Space Needle is located. Halfway down that hill I heard loud noises, like some big critter rustling leaves.

I stopped hiking and tried to see what was making the noise, expecting to see an armadillo, or maybe the rumored Tandy Hills fox.

Suddenly I saw a snake. A big snake. Slithering up a tree. Slithering up a tree fast. I reached to get my camera, got it turned on. Which takes all of 2 seconds. In those 2 seconds I lost sight of the snake.

On my last look at the snake, before the camera debacle, there appeared to be at least 6 feet between its head and its tail. A 6 foot long snake slithers on the Tandy Hills. If there is one, there is another. And they climb trees. Fast.

I guess I'll start carrying my snake stick when on the Tandy Hills, til cooler temperatures slow the slithering beasts down.


Don Young said...

Sounds like a Texas Rat Snake. They can grow over 6' long and are VERY beneficial unless you like rats. They don't bother humans unless cornered. They are not venomous either but will bite if handled. Must be the rain that flushed it out. You are lucky to have seen one. Some lady ran over one several times on View Street last Spring and it survived. Tell me exaclty where you saw it, please.

Read more about Rat Snakes here:

Durango said...

DY, thanks for the snake info. I think it must have been a rat snake. The encounter was over so fast.

Where I saw it, as exactly as I can describe. Starting at what I call the top of Mount Tandy, that being the trail that leads in to the park from the Tandy Hills Golfball Shrine, at the trail junction, take to trail to the north, that really rocky one. About half way down, where it is about its steepest I heard the odd noise. Stopped. The noise was coming from my right, the east side of the trail. Suddenly I saw the snake, about 15 feet from the trail, slithering quickly up a small tree/large bush. I saw the snake for maybe 3 seconds til I could see it no more.

Steve A said...

Trees are nice places for snakes compared to your patio. When I worked in Haltom City, we once found one in my cubicle when we moved a file cabinet. THAT was a real surprise. Fortunately, in the AC coolness, the snake was sluggish and we got it outside without further incident.