Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Last Hike of Summer

(Warning: Creepy Crawlies Ahead!)

  We have one more week of temperatures in the 70s F ahead and then it will be on to some frosty, freezing temps at night. The trees are beginning to change color (as much as they do in coastal South Carolina), birds we haven’t seen all summer are appearing at our feeders, and camellias, the flowers of winter, are about to bloom.

  Take a wander with us on a summery November day, down a beautiful coastal forest trail. 

  Turkey tracks lead us down a sandy road, each footprint bigger than 
the palm of my hand.

Along the trail, Bog Goldenrod hosts lethargic monarchs, warming in the morning sun. Perhaps they are on their migratory journey to Mexico. 

Foamy Purple Mist still flourishes in sunny spots. 

  And hello, Eastern Lubber grasshopper!  the largest grasshopper I’ve seen. The ladies can reach 3 1/2 inches long and this one was close to that. Because of her large size, she can’t hop or fly like her smaller cousins, only walk and climb. We didn’t try to hurry her along or get too close because when alarmed, she is likely to hiss and secrete a very foul-smelling froth to scare off predators like us. 

  We skirted a busy Bearded Orb Weaver, a beauty and also very large. So was his web, at least 6 feet across across the trail. 
  Orb weavers build their intricate web in the early morning, then sit at its center waiting for prey to wander in. A stuck insect trying to wiggle free sends vibrations along the web, calling the spider:  “Dinner is served.” 
  Moving rapidly along the web, he locates his prey, bites it to stun it, and waits for it to die. He vomits a digestive liquid over it to soften it and slurps up the liquefying soup.

  One last surprise awaits us as we return to the car: a brightly-colored Rough Greensnake (also known as a grass snake) hurrying across a sidewalk. Pencil thin, he stretched over three feet across the concrete. It was early morning, so perhaps he was coming down from the tree where he had spent the night to search for insects for his breakfast. 

  (No, Bob does not accompany us on hikes, though she would love to). This is Halloween night and she was checking out costumes on the trick-or-treaters. Fortunately no one was dressed as a UPS man. Inexplicably Bob loves everybody in the world except UPS delivery men. Those, she would like to eat! 


  1. Lots to see on your walk. I've never seen a grasshopper that size before.

  2. I couldn't fathom how you were taking a summer hike but now I see why you titled it that. No real fall happens in September for you. Summer becomes winter in November. Those are some neat critters you spied.

  3. You noticed some very interesting details on your walk. Great photos.

  4. Nice to see a photo of Bob. That sssnake would have scared me half to death....but the Spider and Giant Grasshopper were pretty cool:)

  5. Don't know about that snake certainly a long one.
    Interesting spider and do like the view of the walk in the first photo.

  6. Great finds on your walk! I love the color of the grass snake. I wonder what about the UPS guy bothers Bob?

  7. What a lovely trail photo! And oddly, I enjoyed seeing the turkey tracks. I see turkeys all the time near my house, They got bolder during COVID and I could see four of them strutting down the street. And they are plentiful at Fort Snelling National Cemetery too, but I have never seen their tracks. Interesting!

  8. Thank you for sharing your walk with us. We haven't done hiking in such a long, long time. Since I suffer from arachnophobia, I skipped over the photo, but it was very interesting to learn about it.

  9. Happy Thanksgiving with your mom. Hope she's doing better. We will visit with Dan's mother in VA in January. She has trouble telling time these days among other difficulties.