Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Since my last blog, I've realized that of course everything seems shitty on a hangover. Since said hangover, I've started having a lot more fun out here. My brother and I went riding (via ATV's) up Arrajauna road [1] which was completely fucking awesome. I always seem to forget myself when I jump on a quad and get to open it up on a gravel road. You wouldn't think this would be a good thing with a 350, but the gravel is suprisingly unslippery because of the amount of weight from the logging trucks that frequent it. I'm planning to go back up to where we ended up later this week. We ended up taking a trail to the resevoir that is really far up the side of the valley, because "the frogs are fucking amazing up there."

Yeah, frogs, I get it.

But he was totally right. I've certainly never seen frogs that large in the wild before, or prolific, apart from the mating season in CL bringing out all the woodfrogs. Most notable were the red-legged wood frog, and they're about the size of my palm, if not bigger. In the same hour, I also saw two pacific tree froglets, a brown one and a green one. I didn't realize this until later, but pacific tree frogs can actually change color, from brown to green and back. Crazy shit, I tell you.

So this...this was an awesome day.

Yesterday was really nice and relaxing. I've scouted out a coffee drinking "place" in the village that is actually pretty nice. Lots of babies and moms seem to gather there though, so I just sort of get in, and get out. I only like one baby, and one mom. And holy fuck, that baby sure frazzles her mom.

I hadn't realized just how challenging raising a baby was. It's just cry, eat, sleep, all the time, although specifically her routine is sleep, play hard, cry, eat, play, cry (she hates admitting defeat), sleep, repeat. But it's the play times that are the hardest. She has the attention span of a gnat, and she's got a short enough temper that she needs to be entertained constantly or else she'll start screaming. It's not a bad unhappy screaming, but the kid loves to hear herself do it. She's tremendously talkative. And, summing it all up, I love her dearly. She's become quite the character already.

So, enter the random really awful tangent that was part of my day today:

I decided today after an intense conversation about rattlesnakes with one of the locals yesterday, that I would jump on the quad today and follow their directions to finding one. Or two. Or swarms. I was definately imagining swarms of rattlesnakes, and the prospect was dizzying => Enter a lifelong and really obscure fascination with snakes.

So I jumped on the quad, and drove up to the KVR [2] trailhead, conveniently located five minutes away from my brother's house, and started the trail to rattlesnake mecca. Twenty minutes into the ride, I saw something tiny wriggling just out of reach of my front right tire and jumped off my quad to take a look. It was a baby gopher snake. They're really neat snakes because they have very different color variations, (like cornsnakes) and this one had a lot of red on it.

And unfortunately, the rest of the story pretty much tells itself. I found no rattlesnakes, but at the halfway point to where I was suppose to go, I did actually run over and kill an endangered species of snake. Rattlesnakes, I may remind you, are not endangered. In fact, though I have yet to see one, there are copious amounts of them in BC and Alberta. Western Yellow Bellied racers however, are endangered. In fact, on the website, they instruct you "if you see a Racer, contact your local branch of the Ministry of the Environment."

"In fact, if you smash a blue-listed [3]snake...you should definately call them and tell them that with explicit detail."

The story ends like this...I've never felt this bad about anything in a long time. It seems like a paltry thing perhaps, but the thing is that the quad didn't end its life. The quad broke its neck. I'm trying to laugh it off and everything, but I'm still pretty distraught about it. The quad didn't kill the snake. I ended up putting it out of it's misery because I couldn't decide what was worse, the pain of being left like that to just die, or having it be killed by something else...or as probably would have happened, been squished by a larger tire.

It's weighing on my conscience enormously, but I think I made the right choice. It's just weird, because I've been raised to be respectful to nature to that extent, and I never figured I would have to do that. I'm watching American Beauty right now, and have mysteriously heard, "take responsibility for your actions."

Blargh. It's been a weird post, but at least it's off my chest somewhat.

[1] I'm not shitting you, this is the real name.

[2] Kelowna Valley Railroad- converted into a multipurpose trail. If you're a lazy Washington tourist for example, you'll probably drive the whole thing in your SUV with the A/C on, and look at me contemptuously for destroying nature as you pass me. Fuck, but I did, so it was deserved. Sort of.

[3] Vulnerable to human activity!! AAGH.
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