A Stroll in the Sods

The highest valley east of the Rocky Mountains is Canaan Valley, WV.  This fascinating area is comprised of flora and fauna normally found much farther north.  I had been here a few other times, but always in winter.  Now, the snow had finally melted, the valley was green instead of white, and I was ready for some snakes instead of skis.

 A few of my friends and I stayed at a beautiful house in the ski resort area of Timberline, which has a ski run named “The Salamander” after the Cheat Mountain salamander which is found in the area.  (I didn’t find any while I was here.)  It was the second weekend in July 2010, and it had been super hot all week – but luckily for us, the weather cooled off while we were there.

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Hiking, Not Skiing, Up the Salamander

We started out our first day by hiking part way up The Salamander to gain access into the Dolly Sods Wilderness.  Due to the high altitude and cooler weather, the Sods are home to plants not typically found this far south.

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Aaah, the cool, cool Dolly Sods

The summers in the Sods are also filled with blueberries.  Yummy, delicious wild blueberries.  What a treat!

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Mmmmmmm – wild blueberries!

We found plenty of cool plants, awesome views, delicious blueberries and beautiful bird songs – but we did not find any herps.  We did, however, find some amazing ants and some angry yellow jackets.

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GIANT Ant Hill

The next day – we decided to explore a large wilderness area owned by the Canaan Valley Institute. It was apparent that this area was home to bears and possibly bobcats due to the tracks and scat we saw on the trails.

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Bear Print

Eastern red-spotted newts, green frogs, and tons of tadpoles were all found in the ponds and wetlands on the property. And we found 8 red-bellied snakes under various logs and rocks.

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Red-bellied Snake

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Red-bellied Snake

When we turned over another log, we discovered a snake I had a little trouble identifying. It took me a few seconds, but I realized it was an anerythristic garter snake! This garter snake lacked all of his yellow pigment, so it did not have the typical yellow stripe on his back. He was COOL!

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Anerythristic Garter Snake

The Dolly Sods and the Canaan Valley of West Virginia are an amazing place to explore.  I plan on going back to uncover more secrets of Sods!

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20:47 01 Mar 18

We booked Reptiles Alive for our son’s 7th birthday party. Miss Rachel put on an amazing show for the 20 kids we had over. The highlight was when my son and I had the chance to hold a long and surprisingly heavy boa constrictor named Sunflower. The show was both educational and fun for the kids, and it kept them captivated for a full hour – priceless!!read more

Rick Jandrain

Rick Jandrain

01:53 06 Feb 18

Rachel is an awesome instructor and very good with many kids. The reptiles were fascinating. This was a great birthday party for my daughter and her second grade class.read more

Robert McKeon

Robert McKeon

23:26 26 Feb 18

We invited Reptiles Alive for our birthday party. Ms. Rachel did a wonderful job to educate the kids about the fun facts of Reptiles and also kept them entertained and focused. It’s not a easy job facing a bunch of 7-year-old boys and 3-year-old preschoolers. We highly recommend Reptiles Alive show. It’s fun and full of knowledge!read more

Tianchan Niu

Tianchan Niu

22:09 17 Dec 17

We had Reptiles Alive join us for a country club event and they did an outstanding job! Ashley was amazing and so professional. She was very interactive with the children and played the role perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience!read more

Chelsea Barb

Chelsea Barb

20:20 28 Mar 18

We’ve been working with Reptiles Alive for the past 4 years now and they show up and show out every time. Everything from booking to the day of is efficient and friendly. At our past event, presenter Liz did 6 shows back to back for our campers, which is truly impressive and phenomenal. We will continue to work with Reptiles Alive for years to come and really appreciate the work and educating that they do!read more

Lydia Vanderbilt

Lydia Vanderbilt

21:09 05 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive gave an awesome show at our elementary school! The presenter was so much fun and really engaged the children. Very cool reptiles and a great interactive meet and greet at the end. The kids loved it!read more

Jonathan Grau

Jonathan Grau

14:52 07 Apr 18

I am in charge of grade level assemblies at our school and our 3rd grade has RA in for their Rain Forest show every year to reinforce the things they have learned about in class. This is my second year working with them and I have been absolutely thrilled with the interaction to book the event and with the presenters. They engage the kids and help make them a part of the show. I can’t say enough about this wonderful program and the amazing people that work there.read more

Kim Painter

Kim Painter

23:32 07 Apr 18

We love this show at our preschool!! The kids have so much fun and learn a lot! They are very organized and always start on time. We have always had a wonderful experience with Reptiles Alive and can’t wait to have them back again!read more

Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones

15:06 20 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive LLC visited our 1st grade friends and did the “Reptiles Alive!” show. They exceeded all of our expectations and were excellent at keeping the students engaged. The students have talked about it for days after, even repeating some of the facts they have heard! I would highly recommend Reptiles Alive!read more

Brittney Gjorgjievski

Brittney Gjorgjievski

16:12 14 May 18

Reptiles Alive was a MAJOR hit at the Mattie Miracle Walk & Family Festival. Rachel was incredibly professional, engaging, and clearly loves what she does. She made the show and meet & greet fun for both kids and adults. Can’t wait to have Reptiles Alive back next year to our event. We received a lot of positive feedback from our guests and we were thrilled to see how well attended the show was at our event. Thank you Reptiles Alive!!!read more

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

01:58 22 May 18

Caroline did an awesome job for our kindergarten Reptiles Alive performance. She held their attention and told fun stories. The reptiles are so cool! Every time she introduced a new reptile, the kids were amazed. I recommend the “meet and greet” time as well. My students will never forget touching a boa constrictor! Thanks Reptiles Alive!read more

Michelle Baldwin

Michelle Baldwin

03:00 09 Jun 18