All the Animals VII

January 2020

Lisa asked me what animals I have seen while hiking or backpacking.  Not at all strange that we were hiking at the time.

I viewed almost all of these creatures while hiking, and almost all of the spied animals are made of living flesh.

Behold the sixth in a series of columns enumerating these critters.

I like animals.

44/1    marmot

Whatchoo lookin’ at?!

Mount Whitney


Spetember 2016

44/2 marmot

This guy lives in Colorado on the side of Pikes Peak.  He came out from his burrow to see what was the fuss.

Pikes Peak


June 2018

44/3 marmot

Halfway down from Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico, is this marmot.  Marmots are known by many names;  in the East we call them groundhogs or woodchucks.

Groundhogs?  Woodchucks?  I hear Lisa, stepping carefree down the mountain, singing…

How much ground would a groundhog hog

if a groundhog could hog ground?

She is very proud that she got it right on the first try.  Lisa has many talents.

I say, “We’re in the West.  They’re called marmots.”

Lisa considers for a brief moment and recites…

How much mar would a marmot mot

if a marmot could mot mar?

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

New Mexico

July 2013

45/1 praying mantis

45/2 praying mantis

45/3 praying mantis

We have encountered a not insignificant number of praying mantises on our trails.  I offer here the largest in our world of hiking, large enough that she has a name.  Her name is Annabelle.

While standing under her forelegs I am well aware that female praying mantises bite off the heads of males.  Annabelle is a female and I am a male.  Notice how brave (stupid) I am!

Pray for me.

Umm, prey for Annabelle.

Chadwick Arboretum, Ohio State University



March 2015

46/1 snail

Mountain Bridge Wilderness

South Carolina

June 2004

46/2 snail


June 2009

46/3 snail

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area


July 2011

46/4 snails

Snails are mollusks with a shell, and there are thousands of species in the gastropod mollusk family.  So it is quite pertinent to know how to refer to a bunch of them, since there are so many bunches of them.

Technically, “bunch” is not the correct word to use for a bunch of snails.

You may correctly refer to a rout of snails, a walk of snails or even, if so inclined, call them a escargatoire of snails.  As in the photo.

46/5 snail

Behold this unnamed snail, getting to know Tobu, my adopted stuffed anteater.  For more on this beloved anteater, please go to…

Also, refer to

Great Smoky Mountains National Park


July 2001

47/1 crow and squirrel

The crow is hopping and doing a jig.  The squirrel twitches.

“May I have this dance?”




May 2014

47/2 sincere crow

Yosemite National Park


October 2010

47/3 crows



February 2015

47/4 crow

Virginia Highlands/


July 2011

47/5 I think it’s a crow

Death Valley National Park


March 2019


Be sure to go to this web address for the story.

47/7 and squirrel

47/8 and squirrel

48 raven

49 Jean-Clawed

50/1 pelican

Key West


February 2018

50/2 pelican

Key West


February 2018

50/3 pelican

A wonderful bird is the pelican,

His bill holds more than his belican.

He can take in his beak,

Enough food for a week,

But I’m damned if I see how the helican.

— Dixon Lanier Merritt,

Lion Country Safari


May 1982

51/1 dinosaur

In the Oklahoma panhandle, at the very northern edge of Boise City in Cimarron County, lives this large dinosaur.  Why?

In the 1930s, an 18 000-pound dinosaur was excavated hereabouts.  Or at least the bones of an 18 000-pound dinosaur were discovered.  It was an 18 000-pound Apatosaurus named Cimarronasaurus.  Our Apatosaurus today on the north edge of town is made of sheet metal, weighs considerably less than nine tons and is named Cimmy.”  It is life-size, 65 feet long and 35 feet tall.  School children named him.

Boise City


April 2013

51/2 dinosaur

Cañon City boasts of its Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, an amusement type recreation area.  A main attraction is the extraordinary bridge built over this extraordinary gorge.

Nearby is this dinosaur.  It’s not a real dinosaur.

51/3 dinosaur

If you are the dope who believes that dinosaurs and humans lived on Earth at the same time, your due would be to get head butted by this fellow, a pachycephalosaurus, who, in spite of him allowing me this photograph, is one dirtbag S O B.  Obviously, he’s not pretty, and his personality matches.

Dinosaurs disappeared from our home planet 66 000 002 years ago, give or take twenty minutes.  Humans began walking around 80 002 years ago.  That’s a gap of…  well, a very long time.  During this period, not one single human met a dinosaur.

We however, met this pachycephalosaurus.  It is not far from the Royal Gorge at yet another attraction, a place called the Dinosaur Experience.  Here you stroll the grounds and have yourself a fully varied dinosaur experience.  You walk around on the path and the dinosaurs move their limbs and growl in a wholly unrealistic manner, reminding me of my kitty cat when he snores.  It was great fun.

This dinosaur bone however, is real.  And by “real,” I mean not only does it exist in this world, but it is a real bone, 66 million years old, from a real dinosaur.  So they tell me.  It was surprisingly heavy.  Had to be to hold up such a massive creature.

Dinosaur Experience

Cañon City


June 2018

51/4 dinosaur


September 2016

51/5 dinosaur

Behold fossils, real-life remnants of living dinosaurs, indentations in the rock caused by an amazingly heavy dinosaur foot some millions of years ago, plus or minus twenty minutes, when the rock was mud.

Along Carrizo Creek, these dinosaur tracks have been preserved in a sandstone strata.  Easy to find, just across the road from the trailhead that leads to Black Mesa, the high point of OK.  These are probably ancient footprints of a theropod, a carnivorous dinosaur that walked on two feet.

Dinosaur Tracks



March 2013

51/6 dinosaur

Our trip to Mount Greylock means we are highpointing and highpointing means going up.

An hour to the southeast by the Connecticut River is the Dinosaur Footprints Reservation, which goes down.  These are fossils in the rocky ground, beneath our feet.  Down.

190 000 002 years ago, plus or minus twenty minutes, small dinosaurs walked all over the place here and over time their footprints were buried in mud.  This mud alternately dried and wetted until it turned to stone.

Didja ever hear that dinosaurs evolved into birds?  It’s true.  A guy named Edward Hitchcock was the first to advance this theory, and he advanced his theory right here, based on these prints.  Dinosaurs were not cold-blooded reptiles, he told us, but rather more like reptilian birds.  Edward Hitchcock is not to be confused with Alfred Hitchcock who was also famous for birds.

Dinosaur Footprints Reservation



May 2014

51/7 dinosaur

Lisa tames the dinos

Wally the Stegosaurus




May 2014

51/8 dinosaur

ride ‘em, girl!

South Dakota

May 2015

51/9 dinosaur

Actually, Lisa had to make a business call so she stayed in the car as I braved Bongoland alone, to see if I, too, could face down the dinosaurs.



Port Orange


March 2017

51/10 dinosaur


This license plate is probably the only place in Maine you might see a dinosaur.  Glaciers covered this area until 20 002 years ago, long after the last dinosaurs died out, and dinosaurs did not live on ice.  So no dinosaur fossils have ever been discovered here in the Pine Tree State.  If it’s dinosaur remains you want, it looks like you might want to check with the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  Otherwise, this ain’t the place.

Peaks Island


August 2016

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