All text copyright  Eitan Grunwald.  All photographs copyright  Eitan or Ron Grunwald  except photographs by others are copyright per photo credits.  All rights reserved.  Terms
ARIZONA
July 2009
 3 of 6
ARIZONA
July 2009
 3 of 6
                          
Next morning we photograph the other snakes found last night.      Then it’s up to the Santa Ritas, our first hike into the sky islands.  (For an explanation of these unique SE AZ mountain ranges, see ARIZONA August 2003.) )     Spiny lizards follow our progress as we ascend the rocky trails to higher elevations.     It’s a long, hot walk and we’re all getting a little tired.  Then Young notices a movement to the side of the trail.  “Lepidus!” he shouts, and bounding over scattered branches, he detains the little bandit before it disappears into the rocks.    Feeling a bit more energized, we pick up the pace, but by now it’s midday.  Conditions are just too hot and dry for snakes to be active on the surface.  We pause to admire the occasional splash of color, and concentrate our attention on areas near water.                In the dark woods we find a couple of herps keeping cool in the shade.     More splashes of color, first from assorted flowers . . .     . . . and then from a lizard.  I’ve seen male Yarrows before, but never with this kind of intense turquoise.   Amazingly, the lizard allows me to approach within a few feet.  If I get too close, he hops to another boulder, but doesn’t run away.  As soon as I step back, he returns to his favorite rock, and seems perfectly content to pose for close- ups.  I spend a full thirty minutes just sitting there, being charmed, visiting with Buddy, Jr.          
Mountain (Yarrow) Spiny Lizard (female) Sceloporus jarrovii
Rock Rattlesnake Crotalus lepidus
Sonoran Gopher Snake Pituophis catenifer affinis
Long-nosed Snake Rhinocheilus lecontei
Madrean Alligator Lizard Elgaria kingii
Canyon Tree Frog Hyla arenicolor