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Twoton's Pitcher Post





Updated: 2017-11-27T06:13:22.892+08:00

 



FHF Borneo Posts

2016-12-05T18:53:35.228+08:00

Borneo Dispatches - The Inaugural IssueBorneo Dispatches 002 - Kopstein's Bronzeback Eating LizardBorneo Dispatches #3: A Day at Bako National ParkBorneo Dispatches #4: The Unknown Critters Of Gunung GadingBorneo Dispatches #5: First Night WalkBorneo Dispatches #6: Night of the TarsierBorneo Dispatches #7: Li'l Temple ViperBorneo Dispatches #8: Snake Night At KubahBorneo Dispatches #9: Jungle Medley 1 (Bonus Flying Lemur!)Borneo Dispatches #10: Jungle Medley 2 (Bonus Takydromus!)Borneo Dispatches #11: Sixteen-Foot Reticulated PythonBorneo Dispatches #12: Monster Phasmids, Flying LizardsBorneo Dispatches #13: Signs of the IslandBorneo Dispatches #14: Dumeril's MonitorBorneo Dispatches #15: Bornean Miscellany, Part 1 - SnakesBorneo Dispatches #16: Python's Last Meal (GRAPHIC CONTENT!)Borneo Dispatches #17: Oriental WhipsnakeBorneo Dispatches #18: The Snakes of Beach Seafood CafeBorneo Dispatches #19: Bornean Miscellany, Part 2 - PlungiBorneo Dispatches #20: Huge Mangrove Snake on New Year's EveBorneo Dispatches #21: Wallace's Flying FrogBorneo Dispatches #22: Bornean Miscellany, Part 3 - ScapesBorneo Dispatches #23: Bornean Miscellany, Part 4 - FrizardsBorneo Dispatches #24: The Coral Snake MistakeBorneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - PrimatesBorneo Dispatches #26: Smaug The DragonBorneo Dispatches #27: Big Borneo Photo DumpBorneo Dispatches #28: Krait RoadBorneo Dispatches #29: New HerpMobileBorneo Dispatches #30: Two Horned, One FlyingBorneo Dispatches #31: Ragin' ReticBorneo Dispatches #32: Less Talk. More Kraits.Borneo Dispatches #33: Cultural StuffHerp Nation Blog: Herping in the Tropics: Ecstasy or Nightmare?Borneo Dispatches #34: Bungarus flaviceps (Red-headed Krait)Borneo Dispatches #35: Two Malayan Racers - A Three-Act PlayBorneo Dispatches #36: The Hologram Snakes of MJC ForestBorneo Dispatches #37: Bornean Short-tailed Python + SundewsBorneo Dispatches #38: Bornean Leaf-nosed PitviperBorneo Dispatches #39: Invertebralooza!Borneo Dispatches #40: Another Bornean Short Python...Borneo Dispatches #41: Dulce et decorum est...Borneo Dispatches #42: The Reluctant Naja Nemesis Borneo Dispatches #43: Too Bloody Many Short PythonsBorneo Dispatches #44: The Coolest Eyes in LizardDom Borneo Dispatches #45: The Saga of Snake And Pangolin A Face Only a Mother Could Love Borneo Dispatches #46: Red-sided Keelback (X. trianguligera)Borneo Dispatches #47: Family Night in the Jungle Borneo Dispatches #48: Flying Boigas, Spotted LorisBorneo Dispatches #49: Wolfsnakes & The Trans Borneo Highway Borneo Dispatches #50: Boiga-BittenBorneo Dispatches #51: Red Trimeresurus borneensisBorneo Dispatches #52: The Python and the Pussycat Borneo Dispatches #53: "Kiwi Nebula" Malayan RacerNOW IN STORES: My book "A Cobra Hijacked My Camera Bag!" Borneo Dispatches #54: Sunda Slow Loris Borneo Dispatches #55: Peter's Bent-Toed GeckoBorneo Dispatches #56: Eight Snakes, Plus Bonus Borneo Bits!Borneo Dispatches #57: Paradise Flying Snake Borneo Dispatches #58: The things you roadcruise in BorneoBorneo Dispatches #59: 2 Mean-Fanged Snakes + TarantulaBorneo Dispatches #60: Seven Snake AdventuresBorneo Dispatches #61: Boiga jaspidea "Black Velvet"Borneo Dispatches #62: Three Pretty Little SnakesBorneo Dispatches #63: Scraping the BarrelBorneo Dispatches #64: Roadcruising Study (HELP REQUEST!) Borneo Dispatches #65: IMS (Insane Mimicry Spider) ID PLEASEBorneo Dispatches #66: Monster Bug! (Dragon-headed Katydid)Borneo Dispatches #67: Shuriken Turtle Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!Borneo Dispatches #69: Sibynophis! Hymenopus! Chalcosoma!Borneo Dispatches #70: Boiga drapezii, green morphBorneo Dispatches #71: Sumatran Pitviper (Parias sumatranus)Borneo Dispatches #72: Rare Snake (?), Common Snake (?)Borneo Dispatches #73: The Frogs and Freaks of SummerBorneo Dispatches #74: Stray Cats vs. Spitting Cobra Borneo Dispatches #75: Tarsiers, Wallacians & Token Kraits   Borneo Dispatches #76: Mean Green Ratsnake MachineBorneo Dispatches #77: A Spring CollectionBorneo Dispatches #78: Cobra Rasslin', Ozzie Sty[...]



Another Year, Another Cherry Season

2011-02-08T17:58:03.077+08:00

And I live right inside Cherry Central (Sanchih/三芝) - these photos were taken just across the road from my house....

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Pangolin - The Armor That Burrows Through The Mountain

2010-11-19T10:30:12.460+08:00

I think I'm not too far off the truth when I say that few of us have ever seen a pangolin, and until last Saturday night around 2030 hours, that included me.I was lying in bed, reading Thomas E. Ricks' "Fiasco - The American Military Adventure in Iraq", when the phone rang downstairs in the living room. I heard one of the kids pick up, and half a minute later both boys erupted into joyous ululations, yelling up the stairs "DAAAAD! GET DRESSED AND COME DOWN, QUICK! THE NEIGHBORS CAUGHT A PANGOLIN AND WANT TO GIVE IT TO US!!"It took me a while to extricate my brain from the sticky cobwebs in which all those complex politics and military operations in the Middle East had thoroughly shrouded it, and tried to recalibrate it for use on the matter at hand. A pangolin? Shyeeeaahh. Right. Spitting cobras fly out of my butt, and Martian storm troopers are bivouacking in my ghetto blaster. I was convinced I had misheard, and reckoned the neighbors were actually bringing over pomelos or home-made dumplings, as they often do, or maybe a present for Hans' twelfth birthday today. But the inquiry I yelled back down the stairs while trying to pull on my britches without tripping over them still brought back the same message: the neighbors had found a pangolin, and did we want it, us being known snake catchers and all?Wow. TRIPLE wow! You see, as crazy as I am about snakes, I'll gladly trade three of my cobras for one of your pangolins any day of the week. I have night-herped Taiwan's mountains extensively for two years and never ever seen a pangolin, not even a single scale. I managed to put on my shoes without strangling myself with the laces, and then my entire family accompanied me across the street to the neighbor's yard. There on the ground stood a blue wire cage for dogs, containing not a poodle, but one of the oddest creatures I have ever had the pleasure to lay eyes on.As a long-time resident of Taiwan, I actually knew quite a bit about Chinese pangolins and had seen countless pictures, but never the animal itself. Until 1990, when Manis p. pentadactyla was put under strict protection, the natives used to catch these animals to use their scales in Chinese medicine and their meat in Chinese cuisine. All pangolin species are reportedly very tasty; and the African pangolins are very popular bushmeat. The "Armor that Burrows Through The Mountain" (穿山甲), as the Chinese call the animal, still falls prey to poachers here in Taiwan, but nowadays Taiwanese pangolins don't end up in local woks anymore, but are instead smuggled to Mainland China where they command top dollar.Chinese pangolins spend their nights prowling lowland forests for ants and termites, and their days sleeping in self-dug underground burrows. Legend has it that they roll around in ant nests, trapping the insects under their movable armor scales. They then find a creek or pond, submerge and relax their scales. This forces the ants to the surface where the pangolin's tongue laps them up. Wikipedia has more:Pangolins have large keratin scales covering their skin and are the only mammals with this adaptation. They are found in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The name "pangolin" derives from the Malay word pengguling ("something that rolls up"). Pangolins lack teeth and the ability to chew. Instead, they tear open anthills or termite mounds with their powerful front claws and probe deep into them with their very long tongues. Pangolins have glands in their chests to lubricate the tongue with sticky, ant-catching saliva.In case you're wondering where they put all that tongue - it retracts right down into the abdominal cavity, at or near the pelvis (no uncouth jokes, please.) Thanks to an anal gland similar to the model found in skunks, pangolins can give off a monstrously hideous stink, but this little guy, a rather young individual, just smelled of earth and dirt. Picking him up did not always cause him to roll up into a ball, whereas touching his surprisingly soft and hairy belly and palms did so without fai[...]



New FHF Posts So Far

2011-07-01T20:59:33.251+08:00

Here are the links to all the photo threads I've started so far on the NEW fieldherpforum.comSparkling HabuRed Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)Enhydris chinensis - Chinese Water SnakeKraitZilla, Part OneTaiwan Trash Snakes, Part 1: Dinodon rufozonatumHabu & Owl - A Taiwan AdventureThe Curious False ViperMinimalist KraitGreen Day VipersSleeping Greater GreenDinodon eating BufoBig Fat Chinese Cobra - AT LAST!!!Stinky Kings and Herping ClownsSnakes On A Plate, Part II: Ptyas dhumnadesRussell's Viper (warning, crappy pix!)Chinese Cobra & Little TwotonsEndemic Taiwan Elapid - Sinomicrurus hatoriAn Indian Cobra in the Taiwanese WoodsSnakes On A Plate III: World's Most Beautiful Snake Belly?Large Ptyas dhumnadesTwo Greater Green Snakes (Cyclophiops major)Rain KraitOne Man's Trash (Boiga kraepelini)MacClelland's Coral Snake - Ecstasy & TragedyThe Cobra That Hijacked The Camera BagItsy Bitsy Baby CobraPtyas dhumnades - Educating The MassesTwo Blackheads, One OrangeMad Cobra At Night, Herper's DelightUnruly Many-Banded Baby KraitPsammodynastes pulverulentus - (Wannabe) Badass Ruler of the SandsGreen is Good; Greater Green is BetterFBK (Frickin' Big Krait)Hello Kitty CobraDonald,the Chinese Pearl Snake Orange-Red Bamboo RatsnakeScavenging Bamboo ViperHorrible Habu, Heroically Hooked!Pangolin - "The Armor That Burrows Through The Mountain"Dark Mock ViperSeriously Overfed Taiwan Pitviper BabyTaiwan Gringo Herping, Part 1: Taiwan Beauty SnakeTaiwan Gringo Herping, Part 2: The Other SnakesBig Fat Taiwan Herping Vacation!Habu Baby - Baby HabuBitten By A DinosaurGreening The Planet, One Snake at A TimeDiurnal Pitviper SurpriseExtra-Cool Bamboo Viper Mimic!Super Mom Pit Viper (Protobothrops)[...]



Herper's Ball, Taiwan Style

2010-03-12T10:45:24.287+08:00

Mr. Onionsack, the man in these images, was so nice as to put this together....

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SNAKESOFTAIWAN.COM finally ONLINE!

2010-02-28T23:16:07.230+08:00

(image) Ladies and gentlefolk,

I'm proud to announce that after six months of gruesome toil, our long-awaited website SNAKES OF TAIWAN has finally gone online.

This website was conceived out of a need for complete, one-stop information on the snakes of Taiwan. Before we created this site, the only comparable resources were a number of field guides in Chinese, most of them outdated. Similar material in English did not exist at all.

With this site we hope to provide exhaustive and current knowledge in both languages: tons of photos and videos from the field, taxonomic descriptions, info on biology, ecology, distribution, etymology, toxicology and more - and if that's not enough, there are copious links to even more information on the Web.

The site is organized like a field guide, i.e., all species on the main menu are arranged by colors and patterns rather than in alphabetical order. This facilitates quick identification of any snakes you might encounter in the wilds of Taiwan.

Mr. Onionsack and I, the authors of this site, are not professional herpetologists, just two average guys with a strong infatuation for Taiwan's serpentofauna. We have researched and now present the information on this site to the best of our knowledge and abilities. If you spot any mistakes, errors, blunders, bloopers, typos, or maybe just have a comment or two, or want to link to your site with our banner, we would love to hear from you - please drop me a note!

Thank you very much in advance for your help and your patronage!

Cheers

Hans
PS: The Chinese part is still being translated and will go online in March - we'll let you know when it's done :-)
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Mammals Suck At Ambush Hunting?

2010-02-13T10:52:39.892+08:00

Guess the sit-and-wait approach just doesn't work for endotherms, as these two images prove.

(image) (Pearls Before Swine, 2/9/10; copyright Stephen Pastis)


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Flickr: Snakes Eating in the Wild

2010-01-01T11:21:20.694+08:00

Twelve pages of images of one of the Holy Grails of field herping.....there's videos, too.



Snake Talks in Schools: Media Update

2009-12-26T10:56:36.913+08:00

The media are taking note. Two cable news stations have reported so far, one more to come tomorrow, and the second-largest newspaper ran a piece on my snake classes today.

Here's one of the TV news reports online:

Part One

Part Two

Happy Christmas from (relatively) Christmas-free Taiwan!



An Approach to Fear of Snakes

2009-12-20T11:56:04.155+08:00

I talk about ophidiophobia during my snake lectures in elementary schools (there are always some kids who display it). I tell them I know some of them fear snakes, and that it's OK, because phobias are normal. I tell them I'm not afraid of having any "disgusting" animal walk all over my body, including tarantulas, cockroaches and millipedes. I ramp up the excitement listing these eeew-y animals that I don't fear at all, eeeew-ing the students out to the max....and then I put the needle to the balloon: "But you know what I really AM afraid of? Flying. I become a pant-wetting wreck as soon as the plane takes off." (Well, it's not THAT bad, but "Chief Whiteknuckle" is one of my nicknames). That results in much head-shaking and giggling, because for most kids, sitting in an airplane is boring at best, not a cause for utter terror. Then I continue "And you know why? No? Me neither. It's all in the head, and it's something you need to identify as irrational and then fight it, because phobias mess up your lives"

That usually makes them think . "Wow, that big man with the six-foot snake around his neck, the guy who seeks out kraits and pitvipers in the dark of night, and takes close-up photos of them.....he actually FEARS something, and something that silly at that?"
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FHF Posts so Far

2011-08-01T18:38:39.586+08:00

Here are the links to all the photo threads I've started so far on fieldherpforum.comHowdy from TaiwanFirst Photo Encounter with a Bamboo ViperHerping Taiwan on Jason Voorhees Night (DUW)Daytime Chinese Soft-shell Turtle Taiwan Slug Snake (Pareas formosensis)Taiwan Habu, Chinese Tree Toad, and other ugly pix Thar's Snakes In Them Thar Sakuras! (Pareas formosensis) Bankoro Toad and Swinhoe's FrogBugs & Flowers More crawlies from the Taiwanese woods Tree Snake Babies, Walking Sticks and Fishing Spiders TwoTon's Terror Tooth, Tree Toad & Takydromus Trifecta JACKPOT - Taiwan's prettiest and rarest pitviper! Snakes on a Scooter, or Boigas on a Bike My First Live Krait! CruisinArt....or is it? The Hundred-Pacer That Wasn't - A Tale from Taiwan Formosan Dino Sex Show Beautiful Taiwan Kukri Snake MacClelland’s (Asian) Coral Snake Two Taiwan Habus Bamboo Viper vs. Tree Frog Finally, an adult Habu in the open Dinodon eating Toad Water Wall Krait DOR Chinese Cobra Another Day, Another Green Tree Viper Lots of Sundry Taiwan Snakes & Frogs & Stuff & Such High Noon at the (Asian) Rat Snake Corral Red Bamboo Rat Snakes Big Habu Nother Krait and a few photo tech questions Whole Bunch of Taiwan Herps & Inverts Big Fat Stinking Goddess (Elaphe carinata) Another Stinking Goddess…in my backpack! Green Tree Viper Potpourri THE PEASANTS ARE REVOLTING! and other Taiwan Snake Sightings Snake & Turtle Temple Tree viper – actually IN A TREE this time!Bunker-Guarding PitviperClose Encounter of the Third KraitWhite Plum Blossom SnakeFalse Taiwan HabuTwo more False Taiwan HabusMock Viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus)King of the Ditch - Sauter's Water/Grass SnakeAsiatic Many-toothed Snake (Sybinophis chinensis chinensis)Northern Taiwan - Huge Habitat PostWhere's Waldo (the Pitviper)?The Fastest Snake in the East (Zaocys dhumnades)Green Tree Viper Potpourri, Part DeuxWild Taiwan - Herps, Inverts and Monkeys, oh my!Taiwan's Prettiest Pitviper - The Second Coming!Monster Taiwan Beauty SnakeSaturday Night KraitapaloozaTaiwan Habitat, Part TwoBoiga kraepelini - Rare Coloration PatternTaiwan Herpers Association - 2009 Meeting & ShowFULL REPORT: Taiwan Herpers Association - 2009 Meeting & ShowSnakes of Borneo - need material for new website!Record Hundred Pacer (graphic images!)King of Taiwan's Aboriginal Culture - The Hundred-Pace ViperWinter's here! All snakes are gone! (just kidding, see post)Fighting KraitsFastest Snake in Asia - FINALLY BAGGED!Snake Shows in Taiwan Grade Schools - a few photosTaiwan TurtlesTaiwan Red Bamboo Ratsnake (O. p. kawakamii)Juvenile Sinonatrix percarinata surikiThe Viper and the WalrusLarge Taiwan Beauty Snakes doing the NastySunday Night in the Taiwan Mountains - more pixTaiwan (Herpeto)Fauna PotpourriHuge Knife Crossing The MountainThree-Ring King Rat CircusViridovipera stejnegeri - a selectionBorneo Dispatches - The Inaugural Issue[...]



Family Outing

2009-08-06T20:13:35.711+08:00

For the first time I've been able to see and observe wild monkeys in Yangmingshan National Park behind our house: Formosa macaques (Macaca cyclopis), the only monkey species on the island. The group consisted of one boss male, an adult female, a younger male and two kids. All of them were just as curious about me as I was about them, in particular the juvies, who kept trying to intimidate me with furious branch-shaking. They often came closer to get a better look at me, but never closer than six, seven meters. Of course, the light was completely useless - I was standing on the road in the blazing midday sun, and the monkeys were sitting under the murky light of the roadside canopy. Still, a very impressive encounter - at least half an hour went by before they took their show back on the road....[...]



Graveyard Cobra

2009-03-19T19:35:38.093+08:00

This morning I searched a dilapidated and heavily overgrown cemetery for basking reptiles. The individual plots in Chinese graveyards are often quite large, covered with bricks or concrete and surrounded by low walls. I was sitting on one of those low walls eating a rice dumpling when I noticed a faint rustling behind the tombstone three feet away, and got to witness an almost seven foot long Chinese cobra (Naja naja atra) slinking off into the undergrowth without much apparent haste. I was too gobsmacked to take a picture (never saw his head anyway), and kept sitting there for at least another twenty minutes, savoring the privileged experience of having lunch at arm's length from one of the most awe-inspiring predators on this island.



Wild taro seed pod

2009-03-14T22:16:05.785+08:00

(Colocasia esculenta)

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Fencin'

2009-03-16T09:58:15.893+08:00

I've been meaning to post this since I took it last July....Japalura polygonata xanthostoma is one of the more common lizards in Taiwan. He didn't mind me getting as close as two feet, not even when I set up the tripod and took a huge series of shots from various positions (there was also a baby mantis next to him on the fence)

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Mossy Dragon

2009-03-14T21:50:56.491+08:00

A stone dragon guarding a small pond that's part of a luxuriously designed, but now dilapidated private grave in the Sanchih hills.

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Bamboo Viper, Update

2009-03-14T21:40:28.284+08:00

The night of Friday the 13th (always my lucky day!) of February I went herping with a few friends, and on the way home I decided to show them the spot where I had discovered the wee tree viper in January - and would you believe our luck!?! Not only did we find it again, but it was actually perching on the very same twig as four weeks before!! Dig the infrared sensor pits between eyes and nostrils...

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Buffalo at Work

2009-03-14T21:24:17.795+08:00

This is one of the last working water buffaloes in Taipei County (and Taipei City, I would presume). The gentleman behind the harrow (if that's what it is) was quite aware and proud of this fact, too: "Bet you haven't seen one of these in a long time, eh?" he beamed.

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Fern Frond

2009-03-14T21:15:06.441+08:00

Late Thursday afternoon, in a neighboring forest.

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Tree. Doves. Mountain.

2009-03-14T21:01:09.259+08:00

Not necessarily in that order. Red-collared Doves (Streptopelia tranquebarica ), Guandu Nature Park, early February.

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Adieu, cherry season

2009-03-14T20:51:31.915+08:00

The red cherry blossom season is drawing to an end here in North Taiwan, the blossoms are littering the ground, and the canopy's hot pink is slowly being replaced by the tender green of the new leaves. These trees nicely represent the time before and after the change.

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(Biological) Treasure Island

2009-03-02T15:27:25.961+08:00

I found these four signs at the Taipei Zoo's Taiwan Animal Area. They show in nice detail the wondrous biodiversity and immense endemism this little island has to offer.

The foremost reason for such bounty is the Central Mountain Range which, topping out at almost 4000 meters (13000+ ft), provides La Ilha Formosa with a large variety of biotopes at various elevations, from tropical beaches to alpine meadows. Being an island, endemism just thrives in such surroundings.

Out of every 120 known animal, plant, fungus etc. species in Taiwan, one is endemic: 12333 out of 1450832.

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One in forty known animal, plant etc. etc. species on the planet lives in Taiwan - 36880 out of 1450832.

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For a better understanding of the next two signs, which elaborate on the numbers for various plant and animal groups, check out this chart.

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Misty Hills

2009-02-25T20:28:35.395+08:00

Sanchih County's Longyan Columbarium, nestled in the surrounding hills. The tall ridge in the back is Little Guanyinshan, the northernmost finger of the Yangmingshan range.

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Cherry Blossom Season 09, Part 1

2009-02-25T20:14:42.614+08:00

Cherry blossom season is again upon us in Sanchih County, home of the finest sakura trees in all of Taiwan, so here's a selection of the hot pink ones adorning the countryside around these parts. The soft pink and white ones to follow soon (usually about a month later)

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Getting Lost in the Woods

2009-02-04T12:17:10.178+08:00

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During a recent hike, I got lost in a dense, pathless jungle. It was an unsettling experience, but this is what my good friend Chris Logan had to say about it:

"It seems dreadfully serious when you're tired and scratched up, watching the sun drop. But when you get home it has invigorated you by insisting that there really is a mysterious forest out there with no taxis, signs or crazy humans to draw you into the machine. It's a great luxury to get lost in the woods. Most people will never enjoy that."

Couldn't agree more.