First Arizona trip - Last week of March

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Porter
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First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Before everyone lays into me for not going during the monsoons… let me just remind everyone that I’m the guy who found his lifer desert striped whipsnake rain harvesting in 54° during a brutally heavy downpour rainstorm at the end of September in the California deserts back in 2010…(whew, well that took a lot of breath to get all that out in one sentence)

OK, so what the hell am I doing making my first trip to Arizona at the end of March…? (A question that I ended up asking myself once I got there).

I needed some time off from work. Time off from life. I had plane ticket credit from back in 2020 when I originally planned to do my first AZ trip. I had to cancel two years in a row and it was going to expire at the end of March. The ticket credit was only $120. A trip like this would cost around $2000. So it’s not like I had to go to save a substantial amount of money. Really I just needed to get away from work and wanted to get as far away from California as humanly possible. so I started brainstorming and looking into the ins and outs of an Arizona March trip

First, I’m looking at the dates in database records and there’s seriously like nothing ever found in March ever (except for A few randoms). Which is a no-brainer. The end of March going into April is really good flipping weather for California. But I knew the desert was a lot drier and a different situation all together. I’ve had some really good luck going against the grain in the past so I figured maybe I’ll just go out there and waste a bunch of money and do some scouting around. Make it just a scout trip and not expect to find much if anything. Then, I can go down there during the monsoons later, and have a visual of all the spots I want to check out. Having a better game plan to work around the weather while I’m lost within the storms. I had previously talked to Steve Bledsoe and he was very helpful in helping me connect the dots! So I thought OK, I’ll go down there and check out a couple of these places Steve mentioned, along with the other places I had already found in my research. But a lot of credit goes to Steve because he really did help refine my knowledge of where to find certain things. Especially retiformis :beer: so hats off to Steve. Much obliged. However, there was a lot More happening down there in the springtime months than I realized I would be getting into…

I was watching the weather like a hawk each week before the trip. Things were looking dry as a bone and I was Hoping to at least get one day of rain. Miraculously, I was granted that. I was looking at two days of 90° weather with a Two hour window of OK cruising temps in the evening. Then a cloud cover day followed by a full rain day at one of the spots. But it was a super cold rain that shouldn’t bring anything out. However, I reminded myself of the desert striped whipsnake and thought, “shit in the desert is thirsty” 🤷🏻‍♂️ “There should at least be a chance for one of the common amphibians.” It was going to reach temps of 70° after the rain day. So, things didn’t look too bad. I liked the idea of going with the flow of things and it was more than appealing to know that there would be absolutely zero Herpers down there while I was there exploring for the first time.
So, at least I would have the place to myself. I decided no matter what, I’m just gonna have fun. At the same time, I had better get a really good game plan together and know exactly when and where I needed to be to have the most chances of success.

I drew up a map so I knew exactly how much time it would take me to get from one place to the next. I knew which days I needed to be at each one of these places. It was also cool to kind of put my skills to the test. I thought about contacting Steve to get some input on what he thought was best for a March but I decided I’ll just let the cards fall where they will. I thought about contacting Hubbs while I was down there as well. But because of accusations in the past (from other Herpers, not Brian), it was important to me to just do it alone. Do it differently… To some extent at least. It was more about me just getting away from the shit life I have. And flying to Arizona is a pretty good way to do that


Once I got down there it was a complete disaster. Way too dry, way too cold, and the border was crawling with alien activity on a scale of a small war zone. I had planned a whole day at a certain little ghost town where I figured there’s got to be some activity because there’s a seemingly steady water source. Upon arriving, I saw 3 border control vehicles with no patrolman in them, and then was met by 2 more border patrol pulling up behind me. One was friendly after finding out I was from his hometown and after talking for a little over 10 minutes, here comes border patrol down the hill with an alien in custody. I asked if it was okay to go ahead down to the ghost town. (I would have to walk in past the gate and pay a fee to the caretaker). Border patrol said that they had aliens hiding within the ranch and to proceed with caution but it was OK to do so. They had visuals on aliens with binoculars but were unable to get to them. So the whole time I would be there, I would also be under their surveillance. And under the watchful eye of who knows who else…

I walked down to greet the caretaker who was on keel with Jane Goodall with knowledge of the native animals and habitat there. I was about to pay her The day fee during conversation when I asked, “have you ever had any violent encounters with any aliens? “ she responded, “a couple times, but what really scares me are the vigilantes...” And she went on to tell me a story about a group wearing camouflage Maga hats getting hostile with her with automatic rifles. She was insisting there were no guns allowed on the ranch and they were letting her know that they were the boss. Vigilantes were also in the area at the time and she pointed one out to me.

As obvious as the situation was, something didn’t make sense to me… How is it so dangerous here right now and I am never hearing about this in the YouTube videos made by the AZ Herpers? Every now and then they see a couple cans of white beans or a backpack leaning against a tree… but there’s never any mention of problems with immigrants or vigilantes. I think smetlogic mentioned one time finding a guy walking around in the dark with a bow & arrow. Other than that, flash floods seem to be the only danger. Then it dawned on me… All the Herpers are down here during the monsoons. That’s got to be the most life-threatening dangerous time to try to illegally cross the border because of the flash floods. I asked the woman about it and she confirmed my assumption. So not only was it bad herping weather… but it was alien migration season and I was literally in the middle of a heated war zone.

I ended up Abandoning the entire game plan. I checked out a couple spots while I was down in the area, but didn’t check everything. Instead I decided to head north towards Tucson and above. I started checking for roads and good habitat on Google maps and formulating a new plan all together. Checking temps and trying to get in an area where the rain would still affect it, but wouldn’t be as cold. It was a real bummer and I almost decided to fly home early and just relax at home. Save the money. But I stuck with it and The rest is in the videos. Enjoy…

Here's a look at part of the map (with locale names removed):

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Here's the first video. I'll add more once they're complete. The 2nd one is still processing it's YouTube Hd and 4k quality. This first one can be played in 1080p right now and probably 4k tomorrow. So, make sure to click that little gear icon ⚙️ at the bottom of the video for the best playback settings:







Here's the 3rd and final vid. Nothing was found on the last day. I originally was going to go for willies and rocks but I was pretty tired from lack of sleep. It would’ve been a good rock flipping day, but I had to be at the airport by 3pm, Checkout at the hotel 11am (no more shower access), and didn't want to make people fly next to me full of dirt and sweat. So, I roadcruised for a coach or whip.... no luck. Checked out a spot an awesome girl I met that day suggested (who's dad was a native snake breeder) but only saw a roadrunner run by with a lizard. I was already pretty satisfied with the last find of the previous day. So, it was nice to just relax and enjoy the last moments. I most of the day was dedicated looking for a unicorn mantis hatchling.

Oh yeah, one last thing… As I was standing in line that last day waiting for two of the best street tacos I’ve ever had in my entire life, before heading out on my last minute Low-expectancy unicorn mantis hunt, I talked Star Wars with a recently established Arizona native. After complementing him for wearing one of the coolest Star Wars shirt I’ve ever seen, he agreed to let me photograph it. In a way, it seem to metaphorically symbolize, a humorously summarized, ending scene imagery of the Arizona Jedi trials at hand (that originally was gonna be the last shot of the final video)… Bringing my journey to an end:

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zeevng
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by zeevng »

Looks like you had a great trip, especially for March!
You never know until you go, right?

That shot of the longnose on the crawl with the saguaro in the background is sweet.

Looking forward to seeing part 3!

Happy Herping! :thumb:
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

zeevng wrote: April 29th, 2022, 8:33 am Looks like you had a great trip, especially for March!
You never know until you go, right?

That shot of the longnose on the crawl with the saguaro in the background is sweet.

Looking forward to seeing part 3!

Happy Herping! :thumb:
Oh, believe me I knew :lol: But yes, it was great to finally get out there and explore. I'm definitely gonna have to return for my little green toads...

Thanks man, that was actually the first of 3 seen that night (other 2, fresh DOR) and the more unique looking of the three. The other phenotypes looked pretty similar to the Northern California variation. An interesting aspect in regards to the longnose... where the rainbow started was where I found the longnose the previous night and where it ended was where I was heading for the day and found the geckos.

I'm adding part 3 to the original post now. Thanks again man!

Same :beer:
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Also have an ID request…

The snake from the first video, I originally assumed was a diamondback. It was on the crawl when I found it and would not quit moving for one second. I had to jump out with a hook quickly just to stop it from getting away, then put it as far in the middle of the road as possible to run back and get the camera. Then after it flopped out of the hook I felt bad and just decided to let it go. After reviewing the footage… I thought, hmmm 🤔 could that actually be a Mojave?

Here’s a screenshot from the vid in a close-up from that screenshot. Are there any active Arizona experts that can tell whether or not this is a Mojave? I noticed the pattern on the back is a lot Aztec, but I’ve seen some pictures of Atrox-Mojave look-alikes that look similar. Even when going by the ringtail rule. I’m looking at the head shape and it definitely looks narrower and has what could be this unique shaped Mojave eyes…
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Also have an ID request…

This snake from the first video, I originally assumed was a diamondback. It was on the crawl when I found it and would not quit moving for one second. I had to jump out with a hook quickly just to stop it from getting away, then put it as far in the middle of the road as possible to run back and get the camera. Then after it flopped out of the hook I felt bad and just decided to let it go. After reviewing the footage… I thought, hmmm 🤔 could that actually be a Mojave?

Here’s a screenshot from the vid and a close-up from that screenshot. Are there any active Arizona experts that can tell whether or not this is a Mojave? I noticed the pattern on the back is a lot more Aztec, but I’ve seen some pictures of Atrox-Mojave look-alikes that look similar. Even when going by the ringtail rule. I’m looking at the head shape and it definitely looks narrower and has what could be the unique-shaped Mojave eyes… Head in all, looks more Arrow-dynamic to me:

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This is the best I can do for the tail:

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Bryan Hamilton »

Crotalus atrox. On C. scutulatus the white bands are twice as wide as the black bands.

Habitat can be another clue. C. scutulatus prefers flat areas with deep soils. Its almost never found near rocks or steep mountainous terrain.
grant220towne
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by grant220towne »

Porter I loved reading your story, sounds like you had an awesome time! Especially for March! And I second Bryan, that rattler is definitely atrox. I’m not an expert herper yet but I feel like I am en expert on Diamondback and Mojave rattlers because I see them ALL THE DANG TIME here in AZ. Im sure they’re cool for people who don’t see them all the time but I almost get annoyed when I see them because about 8/10 snakes that I see is a Mojave or diamondback rattler haha. I try my best to appreciate them though.
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Sorry for the late response on this guys... I've been knees depp in the trials disproving what we've excepted as fact based on what we've heard... metaphorically enthralled in symbolic relation to my past life's romance, being played through a tube from a distant dimensional plane within the multiverse, draining my analysis of instinctional choices that once voiced various gratuitous assumptions, which echoed an eternity of regretful clarity and self-inflicted preservationous separation of soon to be spouses. Fair warning... this response may be extensive.

Bryan Hamilton wrote: May 4th, 2022, 6:10 pm Crotalus atrox. On C. scutulatus the white bands are twice as wide as the black bands.

Habitat can be another clue. C. scutulatus prefers flat areas with deep soils. Its almost never found near rocks or steep mountainous terrain.
I agree! However, I want to bring something to the table. It is the meat of the question indeed... but let us now chew the fat. Bryan is correct. It was found on a slight grade at the the bottom of a canyon (almost exactly where I filmed the longnose. Which was not found there, but found precisely where it was released. On the side of the road where it was heading). About fifty feet above where I found the DOR Lyre. I did go back and freeze frame/paused what I could see of the facial side-stripe...the light stripe that runs from behind the eye diagonally to the upper lip. On an atrox, it extends to the upper lip in front of the end of the jaw, crossing over the lip... On a scute, it extends beyond the end of the jaw, but does not cross over the lip.
The stripe says, Atrox :thumb: However, here is where the plot may thicken..

My question:

Is there any scientific evidence or common already-known occurrence of Crotalus atrox X Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus?

My reason:

Last year I was night cruising for the first time, a road that headed up into a canyonous area from a well-known Mohave Green herping ground. After consolting with random locals about specie possibilities at this locale, I was informed that if I headed west upward into the hills, I would find your typical desert-phase circular blotched Northern Pacific oreganous. If I headed down to the flat grounds, the beautiful green scutulatus would be found. If I were to find a buzztail on the road upon which we stood, that linked the two, It would most likely be Nor Pac. However a Mohave should also be possible, in theory... immediately after having this conversation, within 5 minutes, I found the snake pictured below. Based on media acclaim and previous testimony, I assumed I had found a really cool looking, desert-phased Northern Pacific rattlesnake. I double checked that when I got home by checking database records within the area, entered by other reptile-loving naturalists. Naturally I figured, case closed.

It wasn't until I reconsidered the 2nd atox find of my Arizona trip as a possible mojave lifer, that I came across the "ID" YouTube video below. It takes you in for a closer look at how some Western Diamondbacks and Mojave individual share similar confusing characteristics. DNA visual appearance that should only be displayed on one or the other, based on genetic make-up. I then tuned-in to friend and former mentor, Mr. Gary Nafis's notorious Calherps to gain more knowledge on the subject. Then, decided to check the ladder stipe on the jawbone.

It looks to me that the snake from southern-ish CA has a facial stripe of the Mojave, a tail of the Nor Pac, Eyes of the Scute (large and more pretty), many small scales between the eyes unlike the scutulatus, and desert pattern characteristic of them both. I am only familiar with Northern pacific rattlers, being my only hometown inhabitant. (GBO, panamint, sidewinders, SW specks as well). I've only seen one red diamond rattler as I'm not a SoCal dude. At night and more on the atrox-ish brown side, within Red Dimond territory.

So, my next question would be:

Is there any scientific evidence or common already-known occurrence of Crotalus oreganus oreganus X Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus?

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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

On 2nd thought... I may be wrong 🤔

Calherps:
light stripe runs from behind the eye diagonally to the upper lip beyond the end of the jaw, but does not cross over the lip.
(The posterior light stripe of the Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake extends to the upper lip in front of the end of the jaw, crossing over the lip.)


It appears that in a drunken stooper... I misread Western Diamondback as Northern Pacific 😳

Forget everything I've said
👀
🤐
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

grant220towne wrote: May 11th, 2022, 1:29 pm Porter I loved reading your story, sounds like you had an awesome time! Especially for March! And I second Bryan, that rattler is definitely atrox. I’m not an expert herper yet but I feel like I am en expert on Diamondback and Mojave rattlers because I see them ALL THE DANG TIME here in AZ. Im sure they’re cool for people who don’t see them all the time but I almost get annoyed when I see them because about 8/10 snakes that I see is a Mojave or diamondback rattler haha. I try my best to appreciate them though.
Thanks :beer: The most appealing thing about Arizona to me is that EVERYTHING looks different from CA. Lol Except maybe your glossys, longnose, specks and lyre. Well...sidewinders. I guess there's a few that I've seen in the SoCal region. But, like finding that nightsnake. It definitely looked desert-ish. I'm used to seeing distinct spots (blotches) on the sides. Not sure I've seen that much absent pattern in NorCal. The only SoCal nightsnake I've seen was a San Diego Nightsnake - Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi and that one had side markings as bold as the dorsal (from what I remember). But yeah, even the 2 gopher snakes were rad. I remember the first time I found a Great Basin gopher with the bold black chain-link pattern on the neck. Even to this day, it's like finding a whole other species. Love em

The tantilla was the highlight for me :thumb: first tantilla ever. I've road cruised a few nights looking for them in CA and never scored one. From what Chad Lane says, they only come out on a night of rare special conditions (which I won't state public). I was thinking the day felt/looked like I could either flip a coral or tantilla, and found the latter. So, it was cool to predict that find and then accomplish it. I think of them as similar to a ringneck or sharptail here in CA. (Not sure if anyone would agree, as I've compared zonata to liking the same conditions as contia, and Chad threw a fit of disagreement :lol:). Inland High Sierra sharpie DOR's tell me otherwise 🔎
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Upon further alcoholistic beverage consumption… I would now before the court hypothesize means to a conclusion of the confusion found within visual DNA genetic analysis ☝️

I hear by declare… Until the day that supporting evidence suggests… that Evolution of the Ensatina salamanderous lung-absent ring species, was not in migratory fashion from north to south… But south to north… and That, the facial stripe markings of the scute, be A dominant DNA Mandelorian trait, based on the theory of Mandel 🧬 … and the thickness of black coloration within the raccoon-like tail of the Atrox, distinguishing it from the more lightly faded banded tail of the Mojave… is indeed ☝️ the representative dominant brown-color trait in metaphoric relation, over the recessive illusion of the color we call blue, in regards to the influence of what is known to be called, light 💡as we know it… that the Oregon traveling serpents are nothing less than more… The equivalent of the Oregon genetic mesh which similarly symbolically makes up the Ensatina inhabitants within…. And bring forth the rise of a new understanding, of the northern and southern pacific buzztail bush bastards… based on the over population of a once isolated flooded valley situation… The children of an atroxian scutenonimous love…. A more dominant mix of the two, deserving it’s own classification of scientific terminology

🍻

For some reason… That kinda thing is just more commonly excepted in California 🤷🏻‍♂️
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

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Like the waters that once covered the Sands of Egypt… The deserts of death Valley, and the sands of the Mojave. The water cleared, and The tide of parental DNA within the sand-loving scute, scooted its way back home… north into it’s once formally submerged sandy desert habitat. While the generations of ancestral children remained in their force adapted mountainous environments…. Both, Free of the pressures to mate with a naturally unattractive individual based on The visual absence of likenesshood… and Newly established vs traditional original Visual appearances. A regainment of normalcy set into place.

Aside from the adaptive lack of genetic-health-bearing color variation of the rare atrox isolated genealogy…. That later in life would reveal evidence from within itself, by producing a random occurrence set forth and thoroughly explained by the Mandel theory, of The original parental colorization. The ever so atrox-looking, pale, light phased brownish Red Diamond Rattlesnake of Southern California would prove to be the very thing to shed lite 💡 on the subject … 🌎

The End ~
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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Bryan Hamilton »

afaik there aren't any documented atrox x scutulatus or scutulatus x oreganus hybrids. There is a hybrid zone in New Mexico where scutulatus x viridis hybrids are regularly found. ruber and atrox are each others closest relatives. It makes sense that there would be some hybridization where they co-occur.
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Bryan Hamilton wrote: May 27th, 2022, 6:20 am afaik there aren't any documented atrox x scutulatus or scutulatus x oreganus hybrids. There is a hybrid zone in New Mexico where scutulatus x viridis hybrids are regularly found. ruber and atrox are each others closest relatives. It makes sense that there would be some hybridization where they co-occur.
Well, it took a good few seconds to figure out which username…(afaik)… was that you were responding to lol And then, make sure it wasn’t a New age woke movement curse word of some kind.

Thanks for the response Bryan! I appreciate it. That was the only Direction I could go, in digging myself out of the hole that I realized I was in, about halfway down.

I’m way too bored and lonely. In fact ☝️ I believe it’s possible that I may be the most bored and lonely person in the universe. Assuming, there are other people somewhere in the universe. In which case, there’s still remains a chance I could find a girlfriend . Because boy I tell ya… it isn’t easy being what the girls refer to nowadays, as the guy they wouldn’t talk to even if he was the last guy on earth
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Bryan Hamilton »

I've totally forgot how to use this forum. I looked around for the quotes but didn't find it immediately. Now I got it. Thanks for jogging my memory porter.
Porter wrote: May 27th, 2022, 2:20 pm Because boy I tell ya… it isn’t easy being what the girls refer to nowadays, as the guy they wouldn’t talk to even if he was the last guy on earth
Just tell the girls you know Brian Hubbs. That always works for me.
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

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Bryan Hamilton wrote: May 30th, 2022, 10:16 am I've totally forgot how to use this forum. I looked around for the quotes but didn't find it immediately. Now I got it. Thanks for jogging my memory porter.
Welcome. It’s necessary when is necessary lol I usually don’t use it if it’s Apparent who I’m responding to. Or if I’m login through my phone. Then things get tricky
Bryan Hamilton wrote: May 30th, 2022, 10:16 am [quote=Porter post_id=271729 time=<a href="tel:1653690046">1653690046</a> user_id=2282]
Because boy I tell ya… it isn’t easy being what the girls refer to nowadays, as the guy they wouldn’t talk to even if he was the last guy on earth
Just tell the girls you know Brian Hubbs. That always works for me.
[/quote]


The reason they don’t wanna talk to me is because I’m a guy who catches snakes!!! :lol: :lol: So, I don’t know how Brian‘s going to help me with that lol

On the rare occasion, back when I had social media… I'd finally come across some girl who was either in the business of herpetology, botany, or marine biology. Then it’s a whole new level of rejection… 🤔hmmm… I don’t know about this guy Porter. I’ve got over 2000 followers and I’m only following 300 back. He only has 90 followers and only follows 30 back. It’s simple math… 💁🏻‍♂️ He just doesn’t have enough quality to be on my level. Not only that… He can’t even take me out to show me a mountain king snake” 😅

I will admit… If I tell them I had a photo published in a field guide by Brian Hubbs. That would get a “like” on the photo posted of the field guide. But after that, nothing… Haha
“Hmmm….. I just posted a picture of me holding a bird from one of our teachers traps and received 75 ‘likes.’ this guy Porter has had this photo up of the field guide for a whole year and there’s only 2 ‘likes’ on it, including mine. He’s just not on my status..” 🤷🏻‍♂️
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Oh wow… Things just got tricky lol talk about perfect examples

i’m on my cell phone and I’ll have to figure out how to fix it later. This is what I get for waking up momentarily because it’s too damn hot to sleep during the day, to turn up the AC. I gotta go back to sleep now :sleep:
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

I changed my mind… I’m gonna leave the quote messed up just because what an amazing funny random outcome given the context :lol: :mrgreen:

I am however going back to sleep ☝️
:sleep: 🥱 💤



(I may never have a girlfriend… But at least I got emojis ) 🥰
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Porter
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Re: First Arizona trip - Last week of March

Post by Porter »

Now I can’t go back to sleep…lol I was just reminded of this. This literally took place around the time that I wrote that extensive Hunter S Thompson/Johnny Depp - fear & loathing -esque Response about the evolution of rattlesnakes. Which probably more than likely absolutely infected my mood and influence me to add that little bit at the end about being the last guy on earth lol

Screenshot Of a Convo that took place with a girl from a dating site Who told me I’m handsome:

The struggle is real lol

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