The different aspects of the comments of my last post was interesting to me. The comments about the snake surprised me as it was only a small part of the experience. But I liked it, because snakes fascinate me.

No, I do not want to own one and let it slither all over my house. Truth be told, I do not even like to hold them very much. I have a huge irrational phobia of worms, and poor snakes make me nervous because of their worm-like shape–not because they are snakes. I would actually hold a thousand snakes before I would hold a harmless worm, but I prefer to hold neither. (I understand the irrationality of this, but we all have to have some weird quirks.)

So I thought you might like to see the best close-up I have of the snake from the last post.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Celeste from Celestial Ramblings thinks it is a Bull Snake.  (It did not hiss, Celeste.)  Now I trust Celeste’s identification completely. She knows her animals; that is her job. But I grew up in Missouri where every brown harmless snake of size is a bull snake and every black one is a black snake. I think I need some reptile education! Or maybe there are lots of types of bull snakes. But probably where I grew up, all brown snakes were called that no matter what they were. (This is not to say no one in Missouri could distinguish between snakes, but let’s be honest. The general population is not that interested in snakes.)

This reminded me of another time I got some good pictures of a snake.

It was Labor Day weekend three years ago. We were hiking at the local extinct volcanoes. Chic was almost five, and Chicklet was almost 2-1/2. This meant Chicklet was riding on Prince Charming’s shoulders. We also had the dog with us, who thankfully seems to have a natural inclination to avoid danger. (I just read about snake training at Damp Dog’s Blog.)

That year there had been a lot of rain beginning in mid-July. By Labor Day, our world was very green (in a desert-y sort of way).  The dirt trail was washed out in several places. We had to be very careful to not fall into crevices in the trail.

Prince Charming was in the lead, then Chic, then me. Suddenly Prince Charming stepped quickly away from the solid trail and fell, breaking through the washed-out part, leaving a giant hole in the trail.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Our Storm Cloud, Chicklet was safe, but screaming. This made Chic cry. This made me irritated. I asked why he had not been paying attention or whatever to do that because we had one hysterical and one unhappy girl on our hands now.

He pointed. There, next to the trail, with his footprint only a couple of inches from it, was a rattlesnake.

Can you see the footprint just below the snake on the left of the photo? (click photo to enlarge)

Can you see the footprint just below the snake on the left of the photo? (click photo to enlarge)

He nearly stepped on its tail, which caused it to coil for strike. All hysteria was forgotten by me since I had a new camera. I started getting closer and closer to take pictures. I am not a complete idiot; I made sure I was never close enough that it could reach me if it decided to jump and strike.  But I really did have a good time getting pictures with my worried husband and crying children in the background.

In the end, the snake was tired of us and left. I ran ahead trying to get a better shot, but it was only interested in leaving, as are most snakes I have encountered in my life.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

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Our trip last month took us to North Dakota for a family reunion. Prince Charming and I wanted to plant a letterbox there. We decided to place it in Fort Abraham Lincoln, so it is a good time to show you around as well.

Prince Charming took me to this place a time or two when we were dating. It is an interesting place to go, so I was looking forward to it. I thought our kids would like it, too. It is still interesting and fun, but it is different than it used to be.

For starters, we were met at the entrance by a surly curt park-ranger-type person. This person had red hair. Let it be known that having two red-haired daughters makes me give ANY redhead the benefit of the doubt. She needed more than that. Not only was she far-from-friendly, but she apparently did not tell us everything we needed to know. She did inform us that is would cost us $27 to get in. (The last time I went the only fee was if I wanted to tour a specific thing, which I did not, so it was free entry.)  Prince Charming’s sister was with us which added to the cost, but I could not help but think our carload could spend a week in a National Park for less money. (Turns out after checking online later that the parking fee ($5) was all that was required, but our surly host did not tell us for what we were paying. (I have no problem paying for things like this, but the price seemed unreasonable.)

First we headed to the Blockhouses. I knew the girls would like this because they were in open fields which allowed lots of running, and visitors may go inside and climb to the top.

Blockhouse. Click photo to enlarge.

Blockhouse. (Click photo to enlarge.)

We all enjoyed this except for our poor dog who had no interest whatsoever in climbing the ladder to the top. We eventually carried him up and down.

Interior of blockhouse. This ladder is to the top after climbing a flight of stairs. There is a narrow walkway around the edge between the stairs and the ladder. You can see P. Charming with Chicklet on his shoulders and the unhappy dog's ears. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Interior of blockhouse. This ladder is to the top after climbing a flight of stairs. There is a narrow walkway around the edge between the stairs and the ladder. You can see P. Charming with Chicklet on his shoulders and the unhappy dog's ears. (Click photo to enlarge.)

The view from the top is spectacular. Everyone’s favorite view must be the Missouri River, but one can see miles and miles in any direction. I like the view from the inside, too.

View of the Missouri River from inside the blockhouse. (Click photo to enlarge.)

View of the Missouri River from inside the blockhouse. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Outside there were some holes in the ground were military buildings (barracks, kitchens, etc.) used to be. My girls loved running down the hills the holes made.

Hole in ground left from former military building.

Hole in ground left from former military building.

Before leaving this area we saw a very long snake. I have no idea what it is. (I actually tried to find a way to identify it, but my quick check revealed it would not be simple.) I kept running ahead of it to get close-ups. I got a few, but it was mostly interested in leaving.

Unidentified very long snake. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Unidentified very long snake. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Next we went to the Mandan Indian Slant Village. The Mandan Indians were not nomadic; they were an agricultural community. They built huts into the ground. The ones here are all rebuilt.

Overall view of the Mandan Indian Slant Village. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Overall view of the Mandan Indian Slant Village. (Click photo to enlarge.)

I did not get any good pictures of the insides because our dog was in my charge by now, and he was not interested in going inside. I took him in the first one, and he nearly flipped out.  I have no idea what that was about, but I just sat outside in the shade while the tour continued. (This part was a tour with an interpreter which is part of why the extra fee was required. We could have gotten by with only $5 if we did not go on this tour.) The interpreter was marginally competent (and somewhat surly). (Please understand I am not a complainer and have a good attitude almost all of the time, but this was not one of the times.) There are signs that tell all the information the interpreter gave, so it seemed a bit useless to have him there. However,  I think due to some new signs since the last time I visited that they need the interpreters to be watch dogs. Apparently some visitors have no respect for anything and not only vandalize this area but do other disgusting things to it as well.

Entrance to slant village house. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Entrance to slant village house. (Click photo to enlarge.)

By the time the Fort was built in this area, the Mandan Indians had disappeared.

The last thing we saw, but did not tour (also part of the interpretive fee, but it was much past lunch and we had two young children) was Custer’s house. This is the  reconstructed house in which he lived before his fateful journey to the Battle of Little Big Horn. I really think this would be a worthwhile tour, but I just have never done it yet.

A reconstruction of the house in which Custer lived before The Battle of Little Big Horn. (Click photo to enlarge.)

A reconstruction of the house in which Custer lived before The Battle of Little Big Horn. (Click photo to enlarge.)

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

Note: Due to the expense of getting in this place and the surly gatekeeper, we planted the letterbox outside the Fort.