Hermits Rock

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Letchworth State Park in western New York is a long canyon through which the Genesee River runs. The river falls down several waterfalls; the canyon’s walls are several hundred feet high. The park’s trails are 1930s-era public works trails that even bridge the river over a narrow flume near one of the falls. Walking the trails, in an unlikely spot on a flight of stairs, I came upon a snapping turtle.

Snapping turtle at Letchworth State Park, going downstairs

Like this other turtle, she had probably climbed out of the river to lay its eggs, scrambling up the steep bank. Apparently, on her way back to the river, she had gotten onto the trail. When I saw her, I didn’t know what to do. I worried she wouldn’t get back to the river easily: there were walls beside the trail below, and above, of course, the stairs. At the same time, she had gotten herself in the situation, and there was no particularly good place to move her to because the trail didn’t go anywhere near the water. All around was difficulty. I watched her and wondered more whether it was right to move her than to leave her. She did nothing in response to my watching. Eventually, she turned around and began to climb back up the stairs.

Snapping turtle at Letchworth State Park, heading upstairs



You forgot to mention that you poked her with a stick to inspire more decisive movement up the stairs. Very helpful.

And no jokes about you should try that method on me!

Of course I omitted that. It wouldn’t have reflected very well upon me, now would it?