Gretchen Markle

Travel Blog

(posted on 31 Oct 2016)

There are days when there's little or nothing to be seen from the window, except possibly for raindrops coursing down the outside of the glass. That was the case this morning. So I turned to inside sources, and there was a Christmas cactus in bloom:

Christmas Cactus

Now that you've had your Hallowe'en scare, I can tell you about the exciting afternoon.

The rain eased up, and the sun almost made an appearance. We took the opportunity to explore a new park. No dogs are allowed (it's a nature reserve), so we left Sherman behind. Good thing, too, because we saw all kinds of wildlife. First of all, en route we spotted a coyote. That was a first for my beloved, and just a second for me. (My first was decades ago when I first came to BC.) Further down the road we got a good view of a Redtailed hawk perched in a tree and soaring.

Once at the the park, we got another treat: Rough-skinned newts (four in all). These little amphibians have rough brown skin on their head, back and legs and orange bellies. This kind of colouration is typically a warning sign to other animals. Good thing, too. These newts have the same toxin as puffer fish, and it's very potent. Garter snakes have co-evolved to be able to eat them, but theyre the only critters that can safely do so without perishing. An Oregon man swallowed a newt on a dare and died a few hours later. Definitely a Darwin Award candidate!