Day 8: My heart going boom, boom, boom

Among my accomplishments for the day: an exchange of one phobia for another.

I've been acrophobic for as long as I can remember. It was an admitted liability when I lived in New York, which is largely a vertical city. It is also a liability in the field, where a lot of the good stuff is hidden along steep slopes. I therefore decided to conquer my phobia by climbing the highest, steepest slope in Logan Butte's south canyon.

I did conquer the hill, but then came the rattlesnake nest. Three rattlesnakes formed a triangle around the spot where I crested the ridge, trapping me against a way-too-steep-for-my-liking slope downhill. There was much rattling, confused steps in every direction, more rattling, and panicked deep breaths.

One of the young homeowners atop Rattlesnake Hill.

One of the young homeowners atop Rattlesnake Hill.

I did eventually make my way off Rattlesnake Hill. I'm not sure how. I didn't record the details in my field notes and all I can remember at this point is the flood of endorphins that my body released once I got back to ground level.

So, today's lesson learned: collecting fossils can be dangerous. If the murderous sun doesn't get you, then gravity will; if not gravity, then mother nature is next in line to violently guard the skeletons in her closet.

I did find a variety of fossils today--Logan Butte is fossiliferous in much the same way that the Willamette Valley is rainy--but this is overshadowed in my mind by the discovery of three freaking rattlesnakes.