Like many other critters in the animal kingdom, the juvenile stage of the Eastern red-spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is brightly colored to warn off potential predators, due to the saturation of the juvenile’s tissues with tetrodotoxin. We spotted (heh) this little beauty as we were day hiking in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia.
This is one of our all-time favorite places to tent camp and day hike on the entire East Coast, the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia. Cindy has been going here since the early 1980s, and I joined her wanderings here in the late-1980s. Since that time the Sods have gone from being a privately-owned hunting property to becoming an official part of the US Forest Service, preserved for the enjoyment of all present and future generations.
The first time I visited Dolly Sods – in the summer of 1989 – I was astounded by the size, expansive views, and wildness of it… a combination that is quite rare to find in the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to finding the Sods, I’d pretty much given up hope of finding a wild place on the East Coast that reminded me of the American West – at least outside of Maine. Big chunks of public lands east of the Mississippi with expansive views are scarce; usually they are heavily forested and/or mountainous, which constrains long distance viewing.
Sadly, in recent years the Instagram crowd has discovered Dolly Sods, and it is now overrun by hoards of people that vandalize, leave trash and excrement, and ignore the “leave no trace” ethos of the park.
Photo info: Bear Rocks trailhead Bear Rocks Preserve Dolly Sods Wilderness Davis, West Virginia August 2015 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8 zoom lens Sony RX100 IV digicam