September 20, 2006 – There are three trails within Lake Catherine State Park and today I opted for a moderate one – a 2 mile loop that took me through shady forests, open lake views, and across several cute little bridges. I really enjoyed this hike – they say to allow 1-1/2 hours, but it took me more than 2 because I took my time and made several “savor” stops along the way.
The trails are well marked with colored blazes on the trees to point the way you want to go.
There are a few places with steps and bridges to cross, but nothing terribly strenuous.
Looking from the top of the waterfall that was not falling today due to the dry weather, but still a pretty place to sit and savor the beautiful surroundings.
There are benches along the way to stop and rest and just enjoy the peace and quiet.
And the last bridge at the end of the trail is a real swinger!
I’m glad I saw this guy crossing the trail before I stepped too close – I certainly gave him a wide right of way!
After sending a pic to Bill Saunders, the park superintendent, he immediately emailed me back to say it was a Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin)! I looked it up on the net, and here’s what I saw:
“Cottonmouth snakes are poisonous and extremely aggressive. They get the name cottonmouth because when they prepare to strike they open their jaws wide, exposing the puffy white lining of their mouths. Alligators only get aggressive during mating season, but cottonmouths are in a constant state of PMS – they not only will NOT run away from you, they will seek you out and chase you down.”
Wow – it is kinda freaky now that I think about it. Of course, my mind went to “what if I had gotten bit by a cottonmouth that day – it’s possible I would be dead by now – or certainly not enjoying my life the way I am now.” A reminder that we never know how much time we have left and what freakish things can happen to interrupt all our carefully laid plans. All the more reason I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing instead of something more “reasonable and responsible” by some people’s standards.