Snow Dawgs

"Since we're here, we might as well..."

Don being careful

'Dad' has his chimney going

Marty waits patiently for a seal to come up to breathe...

An actual herp - now we can go home, right?

It was late January, a time when many field herpers are anxious to kick off the new season.  Unless you live somewhere warm, however, there's not much you can do but thumb through your field guide one more time, and glance at the calendar one more time. 

Nevertheless, Greg thought we might find some interesting salamanders down in southern Indiana, and so a group of us from Iowa, Illinois and the Hoosier State converged on a snowy afternoon.  While it is true that you can find salamanders in the Midwest in January, usually it is not snowing heavily as you go.   Most folks wait for the couple of days when the wind is out of the south and the ground is cleared of snow. What the hell, I thought.  We'll see what there is to see and if we don't see anything, we'll probably manage to have a good time anyway.

The afternoon was spent sliding across frozen ponds, peeking into caves, and scouting along snow-covered bluffs and iced-over creeks.  The winter scenery was beautiful, although most of us would have preferred a muddy thaw to a winter wonderland.   Marty and Nick managed to find a Pickerel Frog in a small seep tucked under a limestone overhang, giving some small vindication to our efforts.  We ended our first day with one frog, but we had a pretty good time, even though most of us slipped and fell on our asses multiple times.  Don stayed on his feet this day, but he would make up for that later...

The light fails early this time of the year, so we all went to dinner and did what most field herpers do while breaking bread together - swapping stories and talking about other field herpers, of course.  We bought some beer and continued the conversation in our crowded hotel room before hitting the sack - four guys in two beds and two more on the floor.  I dreamed I was an Eskimo...


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