I got too late of a start to attempt my original plan, so I thought I'd check this one out. Turning off on the Beach Road, I saw the first of MANY reminder signs that you need a Tonto Day Pass (oops). Well, maybe there's a self-serve at the parking lot (there isn't), but there are reminder signs posted all through the park about every 50 feet. Geez, they're really serious about this. There's no way I'm going back into town for this thing - I'll just pay the ticket.
At 5:45am, there were no cars in the huge lot and the only sounds coming from the lake were birds and the splashing of the flying fish. Nice! Blue Herons were everywhere. I kept trying to get photos, but the zoom on my camera leaves much to be desired. The trail was very pretty with views of the lake most of the way.
It was easy travel and I was moving at a pretty good clip when I felt a light 'tap' on the side of my shoe as I went around a bend. One second and two steps later, I heard furious rattling behind me. I turned around to see the angriest snake ever twisting itself in knots at the edge of the trail. Yikes. Then I remembered the tap on my shoe. Did it just strike at me?! Holy Crap! After a quick mental inventory of all physical sensations in my foot, I concluded that nothing was amiss. Whew! I thought I had already used up my nine lives, but that was much too close. OK... I'm over it, so I reached for my camera and took a step toward it. With that, the beast shifted into overdrive and made a sound I've never heard before. It stopped me in my tracks. It was something like a breathy roar - like the sound you would make if you exhaled forcefully with your mouth open and said HA at the same time. It was downright creepy and it kept doing it. I've seen a lot of snakes and thoroughly pizzed off most of them trying to get photos, but I've never heard one do that. This thing was totally insane(do snakes get rabies?) I wondered if it might fly through the air next or decide to come after me, so I snapped a couple quick pics and moved on... a little slower this time and a lot more vigilant!
Going down into Burro Cove, the trail started to get narrower and the vegetation was closing in along the sides. Not wanting to press my luck after the snake incident, I turned around and was extremely cautious going back through the scene of the earlier encounter. But, the fun wasn't over yet... a half mile later, I almost stepped right on a gopher snake that was lying across the trail, perfectly camouflaged by shade. My emergency avoidance technique nearly landed me on my butt and I may have even let out a small, girl scream... I'm not sure.
At 8:30am, it was already getting pretty warm. There didn't seem to be any breeze on that lake. Back at the trailhead, I considered taking a dip before going home (there aren't any water snakes, are there?), but when I was putting my gear in the truck, I noticed it hadn't been ticketed (yet), so I opted not to push my luck on this issue, either.
After reading the previous triplogs, I was expecting to see a lot of people on the trail, but I was the only one out there.