The first calendar week of autumn was upon us and it was time for Susan and I to continue our tradition and head out on our annual fall vacation and photo gathering event. We had earlier decided that this year we would stay in Minnesota and catch the fall color and sites of our home state. Upon checking the DNR website on Saturday morning for the fall color updates, we were a little dismayed to see the 10-25% of color showing up as the best the state could currently offer. However, we decided what to heck and determined we’d start the week off with a short get away to Itasca State Park. It seemed we were off to a dismal start as the further north we drove, the harder the rain came down. I kept saying over and over that the radar showed it should clear off by 3pm. Then, about 2:30 that afternoon as we took a slow tour around the Wilderness Drive, the rains eased back and the skies began to clear. Ah, things were looking up. Upon stopping by the lodge area, Susan found there were rooms available so it was decided we would stay the night and take full advantage of the forecasted beautiful evening and coming day. Needless to say, it was a great couple of days. Not at all fantastic for fall colors, but we had a spectacular sunset followed by an awesome sunrise on Monday morning. But those photos will come at a later time. For now, it’s time to share an event that neither of us had ever seen before, the hatch and march to the lake of the little Snapping turtles.
We had packed up the bikes and camera equipment and were just returning from our late afternoon lunch when we overheard a couple talking about some little turtles. Hmmm. We listened in and then got in on the conversation. “Yep. There’s about 20 some at least heading out of a nest by the gravel road.” That’s all we needed to hear. I checked that the pocket camera was still on me and we headed down closer to the lake. Sure enough, there were little Snapping turtles, scattered around a small caved in area of the road. It was the nest area where their mother would have laid eggs back in June. Now, about 90 days later, they were hatching and emerging from their protective covers. There was a sporadic line of them heading down towards the lake; about 200 yards away. Others were on the surface, still covered with glittering granules of wet sand and appearing to be somewhat confused as to which direction they should head. Still more little turtles were continuing to hatch and try to claw their way out into the world. We watched them for a time, captured a few photos and then wished them a safe journey.
It truly was an amazing mystery to behold. Each one instinctively seemed to know it had to kick, scratch and crawl its way out of the hole. How they knew which direction to then take was even more perplexing as they just seemed to “know” where their destination was. Nature unfolding before you; it really is something to soak up and cherish. If you found this little feature half as enjoyable as it was to us, then our turtle story was well worth sharing. Have a great night.