Cuyamaca: Trip 7
July 1, 2011

Another early morning with a crisp sunrise. One wild turkey, two deer, a quail couple, and the hike began. Today I wanted something different, but I was unsure what it was exactly that I was looking for. I passed the usual pond and stream where the cliquey finches laid claim, the reeds and its song sparrow and the house wren in the thicket. Things seemed just like the previous hikes except for the ambient conditions. The unlit grassland, heavy with dew, appeared quiet and motionless and as I walked. Despite the sun's rise, the temperature hovered around 40 degrees, and I continued onward as my breath condensed ahead of me.

After I left the grassland, the path bordering the pines became dry and dusty under the early sun. I spent the time pondering what my interesting and special picture would look like today, if the scene did in fact come my way. I thought it should include birds of some sort, after all that was the trend. And then I almost stepped on a... not-rock. It was a rock shaped object buried beneath the sand but intricate enough to be a small snake. Initial inspection of the eyebrows and nose helped narrow the field of snakes to the viper family, and some after-the-fact research led me to believe it to be a prairie rattlesnake stalking its prey just below the surface of the sand. Thankfully, it was not interested in striking at me, and after a few photographs, I was on my way.

As I progressed toward the open plains, lark sparrows and other small birds fluttered about me. Unfortunately, they were all too far and too flighty for me to even try photographing. My focus caught onto smaller activities in my presence. Shiny green beetles crawled about the vegetation and spiders guarded their webs vigilantly. In the same manner, I came to notice the pretty little wildflowers dispersed through the fields. Catching my breath beneath the gracious shade of a lone tree, I observed a small rabbit munch the greens around its home, a few cautious squirrels scamper and a lizard rock out (very literally with periodic push-up like motions) while sunbathing. The temperature had escalated past 80 degrees and the water supply was running under the halfway mark indicating the need to begin the return trip.

Thoroughly exhausted and slightly dehydrated, I found this trip uniquely successful. I managed a few pictures of birds, but none of special consequence. Insects, reptiles and mammals I overlooked previously presented a nice change from the routine I had become accustomed to. The special picture I had been looking for appeared only when reviewing images. I found it noteworthy due to its post-modernist characteristic. Here, the rabbit moseyed in front of me right when I took the picture. The result was a smooth reflection in its eye containing an image of me as well as the rabbit's own shadow, distinct in its inclusion of two pointy tall ears. Mr. Rabbit stayed for only a split-second, as the grass was definitely greener in the other patch, and there was little time to waste.

Thanks for reading!