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Posted by Click23 on March 28, 2003 at 18:05:29:
Hello everyone. I'm basically a mountain biker that keeps an eye out for herps when on my 3 to 4 day a week ride in the local hills of Los Angeles County. I know where most of the flippin' cover is and rarely stop to flip, as I know what will (or should) be there if the regular herper foot traffic hasn't collected it and taken it home.
This week, after several weeks of temps in the 60's and some rain, the weather has been fantastic. Every day in the 70's almost to low 80's. The nearest trail access is only about 1.5 miles from my office so occasionally I will ride at lunch time for a quick 7 to 8 mile ride along the trails and dirt roads in the hills. Tuesday was beautiful with clear skies, 80 degrees and the trails in great shape, although a bit overgrown from all the recent rains. Out in the open and in the middle of my path I found 2 helleri, one very red, almost ruber in appearance, and a couple of miles later a very light tan individual. Unusual for this area as most of the helleri I see are dark. Also spotted one large striped racer waiting for me to pass. Then I stopped to turn one board that is nearly hidden from all the overgrowth and the only board along this entire ride, and found one adult ringneck snake. Not bad, I figured. On Thursday I repeated the same ride at lunch and this time it was about 75 degrees. Climbing a steep and winding singletrack trail with 6 foot tall yellow mustard on both sides of me I suddenly heard a slapping in my front wheel like I had a small branch in my wheel. I look down and to my surprise found a 4 foot striped racer untangling himself from my wheel and sprinting off into the tall brush. He went right through my front wheel as I was riding! I then saw another helleri in some very deep grass directly in front of me on an overgown trail. Could only see the rear third of his body so I stopped and my foot came down right next to his head as he was apparently crawling towards me. He froze and then shot off into the grass like a racer. Next I stopped again at the board where I had found the ringneck on tuesday to see if he was still there. To my surprize he was along with 4 other adult ringnecks. 5 large ringnecks under one board! Amazing! Lastly as I was heading back I stopped for a gopher snake directly in my path on a downhill section. Nothing better than to be grinding up a steep hill, anticipating the top with perspiration in your eyes and then you see a beautiful reptile in front of you. They must know I need the rest. Anyway, just thought you might appreciate this little story. Sorry if it is too long for some of you. Next time I'll try to bring a camera.