In the summer National Geographic has "Green Fridays" every other week. They turn off lights, relax the a/c and practice other sustainable measures. Most of the society is "down" but TV rarely gets to observe these holidays since we're always under various deadlines. On Thursday evening I got a text message from Jordan asking whether I wanted to go fly fishing in the Shenandoah. I quickly sent off an email to my bosses, noted that I had no pressing business to attend to at the office, and by the time I woke up I was cleared to miss a day.
Unfortunately fly fishing, a la Brad Pitt and that other guy who none of us remember from the film, never came to fruition because Jordan had to be back in town by 4pm and I couldn't get out of town until noon. So, we needed to come up with a new plan. I pulled out a number of ideas from my Red Fox Mini Adventure files and we decided on a snake hunt in the McKee Beshers WMA in Western Montgomery County. I often crisscross this area when I run at Riley's Lock, but I am always curious to know where the other trails and roads I see go. Today I would find out all whilst looking for slippery serpents. Jordan picked me up in his Z3 convertible and we bombed down River Road like two playboys; our playboy hair blowing in the wind. Hardly the set-up for an outdoor snake hunt. We hit the trail. Our eyes were wide expecting to see snakes darting from trees and planning attacks from every bend. We eeked cautiously around the edge of swamps and tip toed through fields of corn and soybean. I bet that pit over there is filled with snakes. I bet there are a ton of snakes over there. I bet there is a snake in that water there. I bet there is a snake over there. I bet there is a snake just up ahead. But, there were no snakes. We sighed. Egrets and herons beat their mighty wings and soared over wetlands while young bucks with fuzzy antlers slept just out of view in amber fields. Frogs croaked and turtles aimed their black shells towards the hot sun. There was plenty of wildlife here, but just no snakes. We pressed ahead and like two explores from yesteryear, struck out to find a "northwest passage" that dumped us out onto the towpath. Here we succeeded. Although this trail wasn't runnable, it was cool to find a new route. We ended up at the same water pump that I used on Sunday during my long run. We crept down to the edge of the Potomac and looked across at Virginia. A deer walked along the edge of the shore. "SNAKE!" Jordan shouted. I turned, and with my snake stick in hand, gleaned the water for the monster. Unfortunately, the green/brown water snake darted underwater before I could make a move. We turned around and made our way back to the towpath. The wide limestone road looked extremely inviting on this fine summer day. Upon seeing it, I remembered I was injured. I sighed. We began the long walk back to the car, my injury feeling no worse for the wear.