Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meeting the Rattlesnake: What Happened Next

The "park" part makes it sound so tame, doesn't it?

Yesterday I was telling you about my son Ben and his first ever meeting with a rattlesnake. In the wild. On a trail.

Beez and Ben: Ready for anything

When he heard the rattling and saw the coiled snake a couple of feet in front of him, Ben's first reaction was to back away quietly. His second was to trot back down the trail to get Beez and me so we could come and take pictures.

After we took a bunch of photos, we continued carefully past the snake and on up the rocky trail to finish our walk. Thinking about the possibility of that rattlesnake having a few relatives in the vicinity, and realizing now just how hard those well-camouflaged guys are to spot, we walked loudly and clunked our walking sticks ahead of us, every step of the way.

Such a rocky trail. So many possibilities.

And then I remembered that in all the excitement of getting a photo of a for-real wild rattlesnake, I had left my bottle of water behind on the trail.

On the trail on the other side of the rattlesnake.

You must realize that we were out hiking in the desert in the summer. It was early in the morning, but the sun was getting hotter with every step. I needed that water. So, my good son Ben volunteered to go back through the snake's territory for the third time to get my water and meet us back at the beginning of the trail.

Third time's the charm. As Ben told us later, he cautiously approached the spot where the rattlesnake had last been seen resting in the shade of some sage. He was tiptoeing along, hoping to get by without disturbing the heretofore patient snake. Just as he came up to the very spot where the snake had first rattled at him, four things happened simultaneously:

1. His cell phone vibrated in his pocket

2. A disembodied robotic voice said (also from his pocket), "You have now walked three miles"

3. Ben's body rose several feet up into the air, and...

4. He involuntarily shouted out with the shock of all these things happening.

He tells us that while he was still airborne, he realized that the snake might be startled by all these goings-on. Why, that snake might even have lost patience, what with all the recent disturbances in his quiet desert home.

Here's my favorite part: With admirable understatement, Ben said when he landed that "he decided to run a little bit."

We don't know what the snake thought, but here is his picture again.

One of the heroes of this tale
(remember, click any photo twice to enlarge it)

By the way, if you are in the mood for more snake adventures, you just might want to read Mr. Zee Goes Up, which appeared on this blog way back in 2008.


EG CameraGirl said...

Oh my goodness! I would have jumped out of my skin for sure when the s=cell phone vibrated and also spoke to him.

Beth said...

Oh my goodness, Clair, what a story! I both shuddered and laughed out loud when I read your post.

That was a BIG snake! I've never noticed that rattlers had stripes on their rattles. Ben is a good son to brave the rattlesnake trail again to get your water.

becky said...

Just read your other post- sounds like "like father like son!" if my cell phone had vibrated like that near the "snake intersection," I'd have likely jumped, too & don a little jig down the trail in the opposite direction!
ps- on your water comment on my blog... i was likewise entranced. having come from drought & fires to see all that gorgeous, cooling, running, life giving water... i was in awe.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

ROFLMBO! Sounds like Ben matched the photo on the Nature Park sign perfectly.
But instead of the two little people running away from a scorpion, they should replace it with a rattlesnake. lol!

Yeah...why didn't they have any pictures of rattlesnakes on that sign anyway? lol!


Ms. Becky said...

what a great story, and storyteller you are Clair. and far off the ground did Ben jump? I glad there were no more encounters with snakes. thanks for the laughs.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh my gosh you tell a great story! I'm sure glad everybody, including apparently the snake, came out in one piece. I'm glad the snake was a modern one, who didn't let a cell phone bother him!

Cheryl Ann said...

Great story! I'm sure I'd go straight up if my cell phone rang and I was near a rattlesnake!