Really across the trail -- I didn't see it and might have stepped on it, but luck was with both of us. Dave spotted it after I passed. We stopped to admire, handle and photograph it, then set it gently off the trail so it could continue to struggle its way up the hill.
(Then rinsed our hands thoroughly -- rough-skinned newts and their cousins the California newts secrete a strong neurotoxin through their skin. It's only dangerous if you eat it. They have an interesting defensive posture -- which I've only seen in books and on the web -- showing bright colors to let an attacker know they're poisonous. Garter snakes are the only predator resistant to the toxin.)
I don't know what's at the top of the hill that's so attractive for a young newt, but evidently it's worth some effort. I hope this little one makes it there.
[ 16:03 Nov 17, 2007 More nature | permalink to this entry | comments ]