Sunday, August 30, 2009

Spiders and Snakes

I had no plans to run Saturday morning. I awoke early as usual, had my coffee and decided to head out to Government Canyon State Natural Area. I headed out at 7:15 AM for the 15 minute drive. It was surprisingly cool. The ranger at the check in station joked about needing to don a wool cap this morning. 70 degrees, a cool breeze, and low humidity is a welcome change from this awfully hot summer we've been having.
I filled my camel back with water, a hand held with water and stuffed my waist pack with Succeed electrolyte capsules, my camel back pocket with my phone and keys, and my handheld pocket with a lara bar. Where's my hat? Oh s%$t! I forgot my hat. Well I reached for my bandanna and as I checked for my reflection in my trucks windows to wrap my bandanna on my head, I saw my hat on my head.
Going up the trail I walked the steady incline at a fast pace on the Sendero Balcones trail for about the first mile then running the flat, downhills, and slight inclines to the twin Oaks trail at mile 2.5. Twin Oaks from this point is a steady descend. I was surprised to be running through spider webs. I thought for sure some one had been up or down this trail before me today. I had arrived late and had seen more cars than usual at the main parking lot. I wasn't looking for webs and just took it in stride when all of a sudden I caught a SPIDER in my mouth! Right between my lips! Phew! Plaw! Spit, Spit! Phew! What are the odds? RIGHT IN THE MOUTH! Thank God I was in the process of exhaling! It felt like a fuzzy gummy bear with legs! I wiped my mouth over and over again with my bandanna, Rinsed my mouth out with water, and spit over and over again. I was afraid to drink water. What if the spider regurgitated or excreted on me? AAHHH! I've eaten bugs many times in my life running and biking and joked about extra protein but spiders I can do without. Thank you very much!
The rest of my 10+ mile run was great and I felt better as I went on. Even picking up the pace and working on my speed as I attacked the hills and sped up on the flats and downhills, when all of a sudden a mountain biker up ahead waves at me to slow down. As I approached him walking I saw what he was looking at. A checkered garter snake had caught a toad and was in the process of swallowing it. WOW! what a sight. We discussed helping the toad but hey, we've got to let nature play itself out. The toad seemed to have resigned itself to it's fate. Soon another trail runner came by and we watched the process for a while but realized the snake was going to be busy for quite some time. I took some photos with my cell phone camera and we moved on.

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