Sunday, July 27, 2008

Captain Capitalism and His Adventures in Snake Mountain!

Again, for effect, please click here first.

It was another one of those trips where I had set forth out to find various fossils (which I did - large clams from 500 ft above the river)

geologic formations and perhaps get a little mountain climbing in yesterday that so defines my obscure hobbies. This time I went to the scenic lake of Lake Pepin, merely a widening of the Mississippi river to the south and where on either side, Wisconsin or Minnesotan, there are cliffs that one can climb.

We had gotten out of a town called Maiden Rock where I saw this cliff or as I would come to refer to it as, Snake Mountain.

I didn't get more than 6 feet up before I heard a rather distinct and unique rattling. And in 2 seconds it dawned on me there was a rattlesnake very close.

I had always wanted to see a rattlesnake. On my many adventures into the Badlands, Black Hills, Wyoming and Nebraska I had hoped I would see one. But they're kind of like tornadoes. You'd like to see them, but not 12 inches away from you. And there he was; big, fat, coiled rattlesnake now sharing the same narrow ledge with me. I decided to call him "Pookey."

Much in an Indiana Jones way falling into the pit in Egypt with the cobra in front of him, I slowly slinked away doing my best not to disturb Pookey. I got back down the first ledge we had gone up, and thought, "boy, I've been waiting all this time to see a rattlesnake and I never got a picture. I should go back up, but a different way, with the camera to get a better picture than what we were getting from below."

So I went back up (but on a different route) with the camera and as I was getting on top of the ledge over Pookey, it occurred to me they may have a snake nest in the area. So I grabbed a stick and started batting away at my path that I would inevitably take to get a better picture of Pookey.

All was well, I managed to get directly above Pookey and then I heard a slithering noise. Sure enough all of 5 inches from where I walked was Pookey's bigger, fatter brother who opted not to rattle and let me know of his existence, slowing slithering away. His name was Philbert. I thought Philbert at first may be a normal non-deadly snake, but then he too started rattling.

It was at this point I determined my best option would be to get off Snake Mountain as quickly as possible. And now furiously batting away at a new route down the ledge to ensure there were no more snakes, I managed to get off the ledge without getting bitten or greeted by a third snake.

This has nothing to do with economics, but like the Clark award or something, there should be an award given to the most adventuresome economists under 40 who do the most to deconstruct the stereotype economists sit and tinker with numbers all day.

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