We drove to the Mt. Etna Station on the Lower Trail and started riding at 8:51 AM just as it started to rain. Around the first bend from the Station, Chris saw a snapping turtle laying eggs!
As many times as Chris has told me he's seen a snapping turtle on the side of the road while riding his motorcycle, I've never seen one "in the wild." Momma Snapping Turtle was laying eggs on the side of the trail. I didn't think that was the wisest of choices until I read about the mating/nesting habits of Snapping Turtles:
Mating occurs from March to November. The nesting period for snapping turtles is usually three weeks (mid-May to mid-June). Snapping turtles dig nests in loose sand, loam, railroad beds, plant debris or sawdust piles. Clutch sizes may vary from six to 100 eggs in each nest, but individual snappers usually lay 25 to 50 eggs. The incubation period depends on temperature, usually requiring 60 to 90 days. (Source: Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission)We continued south on the trail through Williamsburg. Just past the Grannas Station, Chris saw another snapping turtle!
Another Momma Snapping Turtle laying her eggs. I have to believe that Chris noticed both of the Snapping Turtles because they were on his side of the trail...that and he's very observant!
Between the Grannas Station and the Flowing Spring Station, Chris saw a snake!
I was tooling along the trail and Chris said, "Snake!" I looked down and realized I was just about to run over it! I swerved to the left, stopped, and got my camera out of the CamelBak. I ID'd it as a Black Rat Snake...one that had very clearly recently ingested a mouse or chipmunk as it was quite full in the middle.
When we reached the Flowing Spring Station (the southern end of the trail), we proceeded beyond the end of the trail to enjoy a very brief road ride before turning around. We stopped at the pavilion at the Station to get out of the rain, stretch, and have our snack. Chris had a peanut butter chocolate chip Clif Bar; I had an apple pie Lara Bar. I'm a huge fan of Lara Bars - all natural ingredients and usually only five or six of them! You'll have to forgive the fogginess of some of the pictures - it was 3,000% humidity!
|Chris' rehabbed ride!|
|Out of the rain for a few minutes.|
|I don't know why, but I love this picture, LOL!|
|Conquering the Lower Trail!|
|Ready to roll again.|
|We spotted this bird nest in the corner of the pavilion. |
That bird is smart! Cool and dry all the time!
|My new bicycling buddy and me!|
When we reached the truck, we'd ridden 25.05 miles! We headed home to get cleaned up and then hit the road again in search of lunch and tractors. This weekend was the Spring Show of the Nittany Antique Machinery Association at Penn's Cave outside of Centre Hall. Unbeknownst to us, Sunday afternoon at 3 PM isn't the best time to show up to see things. We were under the impression that it went until 5 PM, but apparently lots of folks leave early on the last day. There wasn't much to see. But what we did see was pretty cool!
The Spring NAMA show is the "small show" anyway. Admission is free. The fall show (admission is $5 per person) is the one to see. Friday evening, they have the old steam tractors participate in the tractor pulls and the sparks make for quite the light show! The Fall NAMA show will be September 5 - 8, 2013. With any luck, we'll be able to get to the show and see LOTS of tractors this fall.