Crossing Paths: AT Critters

Red Eft, Green Moss

After more than a year exploring the wild West, I was ready to head East. I grew up in Pennsylvania, spent most of my childhood summers in West Virginia and logged my first real trail miles on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. The West may be vast and spectacular, but the eastern woods will always be my home.

Now that I’m back in my home woods, I’ve been running into old friends: red efts and painted box turtles, funnel web spiders and garter snakes! Yesterday, heading out for an all-day trek on the Appalachian Trail I said, “Today I want to see a turtle and snake.” Guess who crossed my path! Ask and ye shall receive, look and ye shall find…

Foggy Morning, Spider Web

Funnel Web Spider. This one was so huge I thought I might fall down into it! The spider was waiting just inside the funnel. What a work of art!

A Painted Box Turtle

Baby Garter Snake!

Miles logged this week: 37. Miles to go before New Year’s: 463. Anybody out there keeping up?

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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7 Responses to Crossing Paths: AT Critters

  1. ritaroberts says:

    Yes I am keeping up with you Mary, Like the tortoise.

  2. Sj Weigel says:

    Wow, I never heard tell of a red eft before. keep us posted on all the wild and colorful creatures you encounter!

  3. Still enjoying all your posts over here in Spain

  4. Don West says:

    Makes me miss the South and the Appalachians 🙂 you had a good day getting your desired finds plus two!

  5. Scott says:

    Love the wildlife you found. I run into them myself now and then. I just got to get off the ground with some of my pictures on my not going anywhere blog. Mary you are an inspiration to us all.

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