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Thread: Vogel Canyon Hike 6/21/08 (Pics and Story)

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    Vogel Canyon Hike 6/21/08 (Pics and Story)

    So, Eric and I drove down to Vogel Canyon today for the MHBC hike; only the two of us could make it this time. We wanted to get there early so we wouldn't have to be hiking around in the hot, hot sun... well, thanks to directions from Yahoo we didn't quite manage that.

    We drive down to La Junta and totally miss the roads we're supposed to turn on... drive back and find them in a haphazard fashion. Then we're going down CO 109, I think it is, looking for the turn for Vogel Canyon. By this time we realize that based on the mileage on the directions we should have arrived by now. We pass CR 802, again, I think... and it has a sign pointing to the Vogel Canyon and, like, Bristlecone Canyon (or something like that) allotments. But the directions we have say to turn on CR 804... so we keep driving. Eventually, after passing it once, we make our way down CR 804. Basically we're driving on a gravel road through a lot of ranches. The people driving in the opposing direction (in their dualies) are nice and waving to us... I'm sitting there thinking, "The license plate says Colorado and the two-door, Subaru Impreza with the huge spoiler is saying '...but we're not from here.'"

    Eventually we end up driving through a couple open gates with signs saying, "private property." Now... having lived in CO for the last 20 years I know this... a lot of Coloradans are originally Texans... and I don't wanna get shot for trespassing (I kid, I kid), so we turn around and decide to try that first county road we drove by.

    Hallelujah we made it. Wasn't at all what I was expecting but we made it. There was only one other car so that's good, as I don't go out to "wilderness" to be followed down trails by Nebraskans. Here are a few pics of the scenery:
    I broke the picture links so check out the trips' album on the club's official Flickr.

    Now, I'm not much for wild collecting so I was just planning on hiking and having a look-see at the area. If I had any collectors with me I would have brought my catch cups. Walking down the trail curiosity got the best of me and I wandered away to go flip some rocks.

    Okay, Vogel Canyon is, like, herp heaven. We seriously couldn't look somewhere without seeing some sort of lizard... and then it hits me... I'm out here looking for animals and when I see them I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking at. So, that's a bit of a let down... I wish I was a little more informed on CO herps. Anyway, here's some species we saw:

    This guy was cool... very quick and acrobatic. And had a threat display (or at least I would guess that is what it was) where he looked like he was doing push ups.

    Pretty little guy... I'm guessing a collared lizard...?

    Some sort of skink, me thinks. ...or do we have monitors in CO? He reminds me more of a monitor but I'm going w/ skink to be safe, haha. I know we have those guys here.

    So I'm walking around and it dawns on me that not only do I have no idea what herps I'm looking at, I have no idea how to "hunt" for scorpions or centipedes... and those two animals are the main reasons I came to this area. It was a little disheartening to be wandering around, not lost in location but lost in my purpose. The rocks we were flipping either housed ants or spider egg sacs... nothing else... heck, not even the actual spiders. I didn't didn't see any fallen trees or logs to look under. I had no clue what I was doing.

    An important fact you should know about me... I'm a klutz. I guarantee I will fall or at least stumble and twist something on every trip we take. It's, like, a law of the universe. So, being as such I stepped wrong coming down a hill, my ankle gave out and I twisted my knee. ...having been used to this I carry on for a while longer.

    We're wandering through these rock formations when we start hearing voices... I really didn't want to be around people and by that time I was feeling kinda sun burnt, was in pain and was let down so I told Eric we should leave. Well, when we got back on the trail we look back a few hundred feet and there are the Nebraskans. So I tell Eric we should wander up the hill a ways to let them pass.

    They pass and on the way back down I'm staring at the ground... and I see what appears to be a wolf spider burrow. Score! I may not know rock flipping but I know my holes in the ground... or so I thought. :oops:

    I stop and I stroke the webbing on the top of the burrow with a dried up weed. Nothing... nothing... I'm about to give up when I think I see movement. I get closer and look into the dark, black hole and I don't see tan/grey wolf spider legs... I don't see anything, in fact. *sigh* :cry:

    But wait... no... I AM seeing something...

    I'M SEEING LITTLE BLACK TARANTULA TOES!!!! Today I found my first wild tarantula in Colorado and that totally makes up for getting way lost, hurting myself and not finding any of the other inverts I was planning on seeing. I was not expecting to see a tarantula on this hike and was SO STOKED when I did. Here are pics of the little beauty... I was able to lure her out of her burrow a couple times:

    Undisturbed burrow

    Little toes!

    She's coming out!

    There she is!

    What a beauty!

    The arrow is pointing to the general location in which she was found.

    I was giddy like a school girl after that. She made it a good trip for me. And about her, I'm not sure her species but, obviously since we're in the US, she's an Aphonopelma and is about the size of the A sp Payson Blonde I have... so I'm guessing she was a full grown adult. I'm going to guess that she's an A anax or A hentzi... a Texas Tan or OK Brown... but a lot of Aphs all look the same to me so who knows... isn't there an Aphonopelma coloradanum...?

    Anyway, since I can buy A anax/hentzi captive bred online I left her in her little hole.

    You sad you missed it?! Hahaha...

  2. #2
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    Re: Vogel Canyon Hike 6/21/08 (Pics and Story)

    Im so excited for you Bell .......thats so cool congrats , Go Bell Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Vogel Canyon Hike 6/21/08 (Pics and Story)

    Your push up lizard was a Sceloporus sp.
    Your Skink was actually a Cnemidophorus sp. rather than a Eumeces sp.
    And your Tarantula was a Dugesiella echina re-classified to Aphonopelma echina.

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    Re: Vogel Canyon Hike 6/21/08 (Pics and Story)

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnEDove
    Your push up lizard was a Sceloporus sp.
    Your Skink was actually a Cnemidophorus sp. rather than a Eumeces sp.
    And your Tarantula was a Dugesiella echina re-classified to Aphonopelma echina.
    Thanks for the info, John. Glad to see you possibly posting again....?

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    Website Admin Bell's Avatar
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    Re: Vogel Canyon Hike 6/21/08 (Pics and Story)

    Finally got all pictures online. Here's my set for this hike at Flickr.

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