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Lookout Circle and Snake Protection, AZ
mini location map2020-02-29
15 by photographer avatartibber
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Lookout Circle and Snake Protection, AZ 
Lookout Circle and Snake Protection, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 29 2020
Hiking3.44 Miles 567 AEG
Hiking3.44 Miles   1 Hour   28 Mns   2.68 mph
567 ft AEG      11 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
What was just going to be a Brittlebush sunshine day turned into snake protection duty. I was just hiking my way around the western humps taking photos of the brilliant Brittlebush when this gal passed me with her unleashed dog. The dog did not mind that well but she didn't care. We encountered probably 1/2 dozen hikers but she didn't care. Well this would only be the start of my ire with her.

When I approached the western saddle she was stopped and I said "a snake" and she said "yes". I saw that it was a gopher snake that was a little annoyed by the sudden attention it was getting as this is a busy intersection. She said she was keeping an eye on it so her son could come get it and study it as that was a project he had. I told her it was illegal to take the snake just like that dog not being on a leash. She said that was my problem. She was calling her son as I left. I encountered some other hikers and said I didn't think it was legal for them to try and take the snake out of the Preserve. I should have put my foot down and encourage the snake to take off but I didn't.

All the way around the mountain I felt like I let that snake down. Now mind you, I am not an animal extremist (after all I'm the daughter of a rancher and have killed my share of snakes on the ranch); but this perturbed me and I felt I didn't do all that I should have to protect that snake. The last few weeks I've had to protect our office owl from the gardeners, the painters, the roofers, window washers and people and their dogs and now, I let this snake down :( . I kept wishing BobP or Kelly were around so they could run back and tell her she was in the wrong. I hiked on and got back to the TH hoping maybe they would be there so I could get a picture but they weren't.

I headed back up the mountain and asked some hikers if she was still there and they said she was so I continued to the western saddle. I wasn't feeling real great at this point, but I pushed on. I bet you she was surprised when I rounded that corner. I told her it just wasn't right that they were going to take the snake. I took her picture (she says, "why are you taking my picture?" and I told her I was going to put it up on Facebook) and then went toward her to try and find the snake so that I could scare it off. I think it was hiding in some rocks as I couldn't find it. Pretty soon, below us, her son approached with a really big pretty dog. He said he had a permit and that he was just going to study it. I asked to see the permit and he said I wasn't a ranger which I agreed but I was going to call the Ranger's office as I was pretty sure what he was doing was illegal.

She left the site and they hiked back down to their neighborhood. I got someone on the line who referred me to Phx City Parks which of course, aren't open. I found another number for the Preserve Ranger's Office and called and left a message. Somehow the Phx City Parks texted me the rules and regs and it is considered vandalism to take any reptile from the Preserve So I was glad I was right about that at least. I was concerned that the snake might have babies and the son said it wasn't the season for that but I do believe it is mating season as I've seen a couple snake-mating videos posted lately.

I stayed up there until they were out of sight and back in their neighborhood. That's all that I could do to protect this snake from ending up as a research project. It's been a rough month having to protect the owl at work from all that lurks in a corporate office environment and now a gopher snake. As I approached the TH once again I think I may have found my volunteer job if they need volunteer stewards in this Preserve, I guess that would best be a job for the Tibbernator :lol: . All I need is a badge :) and maybe I'll get some respect when I try to throw my weight around.

Interestingly enough, there is a small sign posted on the way up to the summit asking for volunteer trail workers as they appear to be doing more work in that section. Retirement can't come soon enough for me!
Gopher Snake
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
the usual suspects: Brittlebush, Scorpionweed, Popcorn Flower, Fiddleneck
some London Rocket (surprised there isn't more)
Two Rock Daisy clusters
Two poppies
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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