Warm rocks and sticks conceal a rubber boa.

Warm rocks and sticks conceal a rubber boa.

Out There: Your favourite places can be revisited

Web Lead

Many of you and others have started the season off with some hiking and others are planning on outings and hiking for later on. Well, if you run out of things to do or places to go out there, then try revisiting some of the places where you have been and reconnect with activities and experiences there.

There is a hillside meadow affectionately known by my family members as Delphinium Meadow. It attained that name because of the extensive blue hue it presented when first visited. The delphinium blooms were in their prime. I have since lost count of the times I have revisited this place that is just a 10-minute walk from the cabin.

A few days ago, I chanced another exploration of the meadow. Spring buttercups, mountain bluebells and yellow bell flowers were gone, replaced by a new set of dainties. On inspecting one spot, I discovered a rubber boa intertwined in some loose rock and sticks, apparently trying to absorbed some of the sun’s heat via the warm rocks on this cool but sunny day.

Rubber boas, in a group of snakes called constrictors, are seldom seen. Their secretive habits and grayish brown colouring make them difficult to spot. They also have this defensive habit of raising the tail as if to strike while hiding their head in the ground cover or under some part of their coiled body. Their small scales are very visible but their shiny coat feels as smooth as glass.

Of all the times I have toured Delphinium Meadow I have never before seen a rubber boa there. In fact, I haven’t knowingly crossed one’s path anywhere in the past three years. Now, if I hadn’t have revisited the meadow I would, perhaps, have never become privy to one of the many well-kept secrets of this sunny slope. That kind of encounter keeps happening as I revisit spots of former times.

You have probably heard me say before that, when at any specific place out there, it’s never a case, at least with me, of been there, done that. Each return to a place presents something different to be experienced and appreciated.

A friend recently sent me a quote. It said something like, “It is better to climb one mountain 100 times than to climb 100 mountains one time each.” That can be taken different ways. But let’s say one could really get to know a specific walk, trail, pond, creekside, marsh, swamp, lakeshore, grove, park, field, hillside, valley or mountain by visiting it 100 times, and yet still not exhaust its secrets. Revisit, repeatedly, your block or walking circuit and discover its natural entities.

Early in the morning, late in the day, early in the season and late in the season, revisit the historic Mount Thompson Pack Trail, the Balancing Rock Trail and upwards on Mount Creston, the Fern Forest Trail, the Lady Slipper Trail, the Mount Thompson Rim Trail, the Dewdney Trail and trails at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. And, just a little farther away are the Sanca Creek and Boulder Creek trails, and also trails just south in Idaho. And still farther afield, Haystack, Sphinx and Akokli mountains challenge one to a day hike or an overnighter.

There are many areas to snoop while enjoying fresh air and exercise without having to pay big bucks or beat the pavement and breath exhaust fumes for several hours.

So, having said that, I will say so long till autumn with an invitation to check out the Creston community hiking and the Boswell hiking schedules, both of which are available at the Creston and District Public Library. Remember to go out there equipped to be comfortable as well as safe.

Ed McMackin is a biologist by profession but a naturalist and hiker by nature. He can be reached at 250-866-5747.