Tag Archives: snakes

This weekend: Get out and learn a thing or two

Mount Mitchell: the top of the East Coast

Moving is good. Learning something while you’re on the move is even better. This weekend is a good one for learning on the move.


For many, the key to getting active is to resist the urge to overindulge at the start and expect immediate results. That’s why so many New Year’s resolutions go kaput before January is over: you expect to become Charles (or Charlene) Atlas in just two weeks. read more

Your Weekend: Learn your snakes, spot eagles, whitewater

You have no excuse not to learn about snakes the next couple of months, thanks to Lake Waccamaw State Park. Meanwhile, on Sunday morning there’s a good chance to spot eagles at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, for enthusiasts of wicked whitewater, there’s a release this weekend on the Cheoah River. read more

Taking the mystery out of a snake sighting

Wednesday, I was hiking along the North Prong of Shining Rock Creek, a lively mountain stream that plunges 2,200 feet in just three miles through a narrow, overgrown canyon. I was in a reveric trance, lulled in part by the rugged vegetation here in the Shining Rock Wilderness,  in part by the cloudless, 70-degree spring afternoon, when —
I like snakes, but their sudden appearance four feet away causes me to stop in my tracks and say, “Whoa!” Such impromptu meetups are common this time of year, as we humans hit the trail more and rising temperatures activate these cold-blooded critters. Being in the sun rejuvenates our spirit, it jumpstarts their system.
After catching my breath, I scoped out the critter, taking a couple of pictures, jotting some notes, searching my increasingly porous memory for clues about what kind of snake it might be. Not that my database was brimming to begin with.
When it comes to snakes and birds, I don’t expend a lot of my remaining gray storage memorizing types and species. Two reasons: One, there are thousands of species to begin with, and two, the same critter can look completely different depending on various factors: read more