Sunday, August 24, 2008

Snakes on a trail

I went on a small hike this weekend (Aug 20) on the Mid State Trail system in the Shingletown gap area. For those who are new to the area, Shingletown gap is one of the easy/moderate hikes with a nice stream flowing by the trail. The hike is part of the Midstate trail system and is within a 10 minutes from State College by car. This is actually a trail that could reach on your bike itself and then bike on the trail - if you have a mountain bike. We (myself and my friend Jessica) drove to the trailhead, and reached there around 4pm after taking an unplanned stop for yummy ice cream at the Harner farm stop on PA-26. Apart from selling fresh fruits and vegetables and flowers, they also serve a gigantic collection of Hershey's ice cream. I tried the Denali Bear Cub Tracks ice cream (fudge+ brownie pieces in vanilla) and Jessica had a peanut butter ice cream. But I digress. Once we reached the trailhead, we parked and started off at a reasonable pace, enjoying the beauty of the flowing water
(Roaring run) and looking at different lichens on the trees, joking along our way. After sometime, we saw a little frog across our way and a few people that passed by saying hello, nice day etc. Then we were talking about snacks and snakes, when suddenly Jess lets out a yelp. The reason for her scream was this (snake)

The poor snake itself seemed quite scared by the approaching 5 ft plus humans (he/she was only 2ft long). It quickly ran and hid itself underneath a nearby rock, but once it started peeking its head out from the other side, I had my camera out and was ready to grab some pics (the ones above). It gave several poses and overall we had a good time seeing some wildlife on an otherwise simple hike. The hike itself took about 2 hrs but we stopped at several places and never actually did any climbing, we stayed along the stream for the most part.
At around 7pm, when it started getting a little darker under the shade, we walked back to the trailhead, had some yummy pita-hummus-veggie sandwiches (thanks J) and drank some gatorade (thanks me) and drove back home. If you want to listen to running water, you can check out my video on youtube.

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