Another one a day late. This time, it was because the Green Bay Packers were playing on Monday Night Football so a bunch of us went to the Best Western bar to watch the game and have a few beers. It was a good time, although the game was a disappointment.
Speaking of disappointments, Day 5 was very disappointing archaeologically. I was very excited because we were going to be surveying near the North Platte River, which seemed like a real high probability area. My team got to be on the ridgeline that went closest to the river, and I was so sure there would be a really cool site overlooking the water. But nothing, probably in part because the ridge itself was really narrow and didn’t have much level area. We ended up surveying 3 miles of the ridgeline, and the only interesting thing we found was a 1953 USGS datum.
Well, that and a baby rattler! My co-worker was on the top of the ridge while I was 30 meters downslope. He stopped for a minute and I yelled up to ask if he had found something, to which he replied “a baby rattler”. I went up and could hear it buzzing away furiously. It had likely been warming itself on a rock when Bobby startled it. He heard it, turned around, and saw it slithering beneath a small rock overhang. We looked and it was coiled up, way back in the little niche. I tried recording the rattle sound on my phone, and we both took some pictures (on maximum zoom, of course!). It’s a good thing that the weather was cool enough (70 degrees at the time) that the snakes are sluggish, because being bitten by a baby rattler would have been very bad, as they tend to empty all their venom. We were also a good 1.5 miles from the truck, over rough, steep terrain, and the truck itself was on a rough dirt road.
So now we know that it’s warm enough for some of the snakes to be active, if sluggish. Another team saw and heard a full-grown rattler, and maybe another baby. We’re now paying extra attention around rock ledges!
Here’s the little fellow, all coiled up: