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Davis Mountain weekend

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Offline sleepy

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Davis Mountain weekend
« on: May 16, 2008, 02:01:03 PM »
Cut out last week for a trip to the Davis Mountains.

We headed out on Wednesday to Devils River State Natural Area.  I kept telling the Pretty Pretty Princess that it was in the middle of #$@%*#! nowhere.  45 miles south of Sonora, 25 miles west on a gravel road.  20,000 acres and one other camper.  We got there around 6 and headed down to the river for sunset.  Along the way, we checked out the remnants of a pool below slickrock on Dolan Creek.  From our vantage I could see about 5 large catfish and a couple of bass in a living room sized pool.  Only some rain (which happened several days later) was going to save them.  Fading light at the river was magical and serene.  A very clear river.

river to the west


ridge to the east


next morning we hiked up on top of the mesa for a pre-breakfast stroll and spied a fox, armadillo and skunk.  coming down we cut through a dry creek bed and happened upon a most well concealed rattler.


Headed to Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains after an afternoon dip in the cleansing waters of Balmorhea.  Nice remodel on the lodge, but the insulation between the floors is paper thin.  You can hear everything, I mean everything, that goes on below.  Spent the evening eating cheese, bread and wine.  We like to rough it sometimes. :icon_wink:  A big ol' contingent of barn swallows flitted in the air for our amusement.  The Lodge is sweetly situated and we had an extraordinary view down canyon from our bed.

sunrise from the pillows


lenticular clouds from our porch



next day we do the driving loop toward Mt. Livermore.  OK, I'm going to admit I've never driven this before.  It was spectacular!  We started off with a hike on the recently opened Madera Canyon Trail on Nature Conservancy land.  A sweet ~3 mile lollipop.  Canyon views and water feature.  The tank was pretty shallow, but this week's rain should fill it up some. 
Cut back toward Valentine and got Mt Livermore locked in.  It is a magnificent sight.  I want to climb that bad boy.  Got out to scramble on the roadside jumble of rocks.  Passed under ML and Bear Mountain.  Turned back toward Ft. Davis.  Stopped by the library so my wife could check her business email.  The library is charming and I had a great conversation with a group of 6-9 year olds.  Back to the lodge and lounging by the pool followed by a nap.  We had picnic dinner at the roadside pullout under Mt. Locke.  Early bed.

Madera Canyon trail


grasses on MC trail


Mighty Mt. Livermore



Next morning we hike the trail above the Lodge.  Outstanding views in every direction. Another good 3 miler.  As much as we do this trip.

View of lodge from on high


scenic scramble


We finished off our weekend with a night in Marfa.  We checked out the opening of Yard Dog Art gallery.  If you get a chance, stop by.  It is not "high end" art, but good and accessible.  and much more reasonably priced that galleries around the corner.  The party was great and I was treated to three big swigs of homemade absinthe.  my tongue was coated with orange, licorice and wormwood for several hours.   that was nasty stuff, but things got bright.  :eusa_shifty:  The band played good country and rock n roll.  We danced and hooped and hollered.  Quite a few locals showed up and had a swell time.  We called it an early night at 11, because we were driving back the next morning.  :icon_frown:

no ground sleeping, no poo burying, no carrying water, just good times.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 02:05:27 PM by sleepy »
It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 02:23:28 PM »
In deed, just good times..and real good pictures too. Great trip Sleepy...wish you brought the hammock to look it up on the mountain, maybe next time.

Homero Jimenez
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2008, 02:49:08 PM »
Looks like you and Mrs. Sleepy had a very nice time indeed.  In the picture, the rattler you saw looks kinda like a rock rattlesnake.  What do you think?

BTW...what is the legal status of absinthe?   :eusa_think:
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 02:51:08 PM by Ay Chihuahua! »

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2008, 03:26:25 PM »
BTW...what is the legal status of absinthe?   :eusa_think:
Wikipedia led to this Absinthe FAQ.  Looks like it's not completely regulated, but probably not legal to make, import, or sell.

BTW, great report and pics Sleepy!

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Offline sleepy

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2008, 04:02:18 PM »
yeah, that snake lacked some pinkish tint.  he was, as the article stated, an expert in camouflage.  And I didn't see him until I was on top of him.  Luckily he shook his tail quite well.

A friend of mine told me she had seen a recipe for absinthe in ReadyMade Magazine.  The woman passing the bottle around kept telling me it was a tincture, not distilled.  I have to say it was either the tincture or the evening light, but things got crisper after the third swig.  I really don't think I could have swallowed a fourth.

Does anyone know about the Crow's Nest Camping area?


It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 05:47:52 PM »
Sleepy,
great trip report, next time I can get my wife out there we will have to try the Indain lodge out.  The last time we got chased out of the Basin by a snow fall and drove the river road to Presidio, on up to Marfa in the snow and barely got thru Alpine.  Hopefully the next time we can do the Livermore loop and not be worried about getting stuck in the snow.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2008, 06:31:33 PM »
yeah, that snake lacked some pinkish tint.  he was, as the article stated, an expert in camouflage.  And I didn't see him until I was on top of him.  Luckily he shook his tail quite well.

Ok...I broke out the old snake book.  According the book Lone Star Field Guide to Texas Snakes by Alan Tennant it appears the snake in the above picture is a Mottled Rock Rattlesnake.  Regarding Coloring/scale form, Mr. Tennant says, "Crotalus lepidus lepidus is folklore's celebrated 'pink' and 'little blue' rattlesnake.  While not ever really blue (although sometimes quite pink), by matching the prevailing pigmentation of its background substrate the mottled rock rattlesnake's variable dorsal hues offer camouflage from both its lizard quarry and its color similarly-visioned avian predators.  Mottled rock rattlesnakes from the Davis Mountains, where brownish maroon granite is prevalent, have numerous dark primary blotches on a variegated, muddily russet - less often, pinkish buff - ground color.  IN contrast C. l. lepidus living along the Rio Grande, as well as those from the Stockton and western Edwards Plateaus, live on pale limestone and have ground colors of chalk to faintly bluish gray.  Their dark cross-dorsal bars occur mostly on the posterior body, where there is also considerable dark speckling that approximates the mottled coloring of the lichen-encrusted rocks on which they spend most of their time."

Mr. Tennant also mentions that this snake is rare.  Assuming this is what you saw and photographed, congratulations! :eusa_clap: Apparently, not many get to see one.

I also found this webpage about the Mottled Rock Rattlesnake.  Check out the link descibing a bite wound.





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Offline madplanter

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 07:39:33 PM »
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hey guys, i'm pretty good with herp i.d.'s and facts.
...nature-geek for sure.


feel free to ask me about reptiles
...and plants/trees/birds, too.


(some of those photos look more like banded
rock rattlers crotalus lepidus 'klauberi')


we have many 'Lepidus' around my cabin, and yes
they are pink-ish... last year I photographed a baby
and the under-side of it's tail was orange!

here's the orange tailed baby
...and an adult that was living
UNDER my cabin.


mp









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Offline madplanter

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 07:51:28 PM »
.


here is a herp-site by a long time reptile collector

http://www.trans-pecos.us/

although i no longer collect,
it can be a great reference site
for positively identifying trans-pecos reptiles,
as well as being educational.


click 'animal selections'



mp

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2008, 09:23:07 AM »


Quote
hey guys, i'm pretty good with herp i.d.'s and facts.
...nature-geek for sure.


feel free to ask me about reptiles
...and plants/trees/birds, too.

Hey Madplanter,

Thanks, your opinions on such matters will be appreciated, but no need to wait and be asked...just join in.

Quote
we have many 'Lepidus' around my cabin, and yes
they are pink-ish... last year I photographed a baby
and the under-side of it's tail was orange!

My point in posting the passage from Tennant and the website link above was to drive home the fact that Crotalus Lepidus Lepidus will be differently colored depending on what the dominant rock hues are in the region in which it lives.  For instance, it is mentioned that those living on the western Edwards Plateau (where Sleepy took his picture) are more of a chalky color...like the limestone prevelant in that area.  Do you have a differnent slant on this than Tennant?

I wish I had a scanner and I could show you the pictures in Tennant's book.  He has several pictures of the species and they all are colored a little differently depending on what region they are from.  One of Tennant's pictures looks exactly like Sleepy's snake (Sleepy's snake...sounds like a Tom T. Hall song).  :icon_lol:

Anyway...you might be right and it is a banded variety of rock rattlesnake, but I still think its the mottled variety.

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Offline madplanter

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Re: Davis Mountain weekend
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2008, 11:54:44 AM »
.

i agree with Tennant 100%.....the limestone habitats have the pale
lepidus and the igneous rock has the red/pink tinted lepidus.

i wasn't sure about the source of those photos, so
if they were taken of hill-country or val verde co
specimens, perhaps the mottled markings are just faded/pale
(excellent pics, too!)


to clarify, banded 'klauberi' are only listed as
existing from Franklin Mtns-west into Arizona,
so any rock rattler found/photographed in
BIBE-eastward will be a mottled 'lepidus lepidus'
and integrades do occur where their ranges
over-lap, so they can be difficult to separate, too!

mp

 


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