Between the creek and the wetlands, there is a washed-out section of the disused rail gradually falling apart as the winters take their toll. I get it, in the autumn afternoon I did not even make it to the willows by the last bridge before the grade takes a walker behind the hills to harvested hills. I ran out of steam.
I did blunder into a garter snake, yellow and black line slithering under the iron and into some rocky burrow under the rails. It was probably as thick as my thumb. I am not much good at moving targets these days.
I was looking for a bit of zeolite or fire opal that is sometimes mixed in with the basalt gravel filler. I have a nice hard zeolite cabochon that is about 45 x 26 mm and weighs about 10 carats, it has nice milky cream swirls in it. It came out of the same stretch of right of way. I do not think the fire opal is totally out of the realm of possibility. They are both hydrous silicates, and I have found common opal in the same stuff. It is just a matter of if it has dried out too much.