Where in the hell am I?

September 28, 2010

Rattler! Wyoming Day 5

Filed under: archaeology, archeology, survey — Tags: , , , , , , — John @ 5:33 pm

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:

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1 Comment »

  1. The Platte is my favorite river — by the time it gets to Eastern Nebraska it is very wide and mostly shallow with lots of interesting land bars breaking it up. The North Platte goes right through Josh’s hometown and crossing back and forth over the river is one of my favorite parts about western Nebraska…

    Comment by kristy — September 29, 2010 @ 11:19 am


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