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May 13: Our Anniversary, Day 2

2012.05.13
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Cunningham Falls
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chipmunk
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Timber Rattlesnake
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alas not a great picture of a Pileated Woodpecker, but a very neat bird!
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view from (I think) Thurmont Overlook in Catoctin Mountain Park
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For the second day of our anniversary celebration, we went on a wonderful hike at Catoctin Mountain Park, part of the national park system. It was an 8.3 mile hike, strenuous according to both our legs and the guidebook, and really quite wonderful.

It goes by Cunningham Falls--which are pretty though low water this year (says both Patrick's memory and a photo on a sign). We were more than a little exasperated by all the people out on the rocks and in the water despite the strongly worded signs warning of the danger of serious injury on the rocks and in the water AND the signs requesting folks to stay on the boardwalk to let nature recover. Sigh.

We saw some far less exasperating vertebrates as well. Lots and lots of adorable chipmunks, a couple of which even stood still to be photographed, a Pileated Woodpecker (think Woody Woodpecker with the red head) which are very large birds indeed, and a Timber Rattlesnake.

The rattlesnake was an especially cool encounter because we were on Wolf Rock, which is pink quartzite (alas the color doesn't really show in this pic) and has some big crevasses in it--so the snake was on the other side of a two or three foot wide crevasse and about two feet down. In other words, were were completely safe and it barely seemed even to notice our presence. And we got to look our fill and take photographs. :D I've never seen a wild rattlesnake before so that was exceedingly cool!

Patrick got the best of all of the scenic landscape shots from the views--I think that's from Thurmont Overlook. There were others along the way, but those pics got trumped by the critters. :D

It was a wonderful hike!! We were absolutely *beat* by the time we got home, though.
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Tagged: lumix dslr
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