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Careful Out There

By Tony Hicks
Sunday, April 13th, 2008 at 2:41 pm in Uncategorized.

I went hiking with my daughter Saturday morning up Shell Ridge in Walnut Creek, mostly to nab some tadpoles in one of the ponds. Within just a few minutes of walking on the trail, I happened to look up in my daughter’s path.

Ten yards away was the biggest rattlesnake I’ve ever seen, coiled and not about to budge.

Usually you think snakes stay off the trails, especially since so many people were out with dogs and on bikes Saturday morning. But we apparently met the boss-rattlesnake of Shell Ridge who wasn’t in a good mood. We stopped a safe distance away and waited for him to slither back into the weeds. Which he did. I kept my daughter on the other side of the trail and leaned over to see how big he was uncoiled (big), Mr. Snake saw me and started coming back toward the trail, rattling.

As I realized it was his trail, we left. Quickly.

On a side note, I saw at least eight dogs in an hour-long hike. I don’t think any of them were on leashes. Which wouldn’t be the case had their owners ever heard a colleague of mine tell the story of seeing a hiker let his rottweiler chase a coyote … which promptly led the dog around a bend to where two other coyotes were waiting. It was all over by the time the guy got there to rescue his dog.

It’s bad enough worrying about snakes and coyotes; having to pick my 6-year-old up every time a dog came flying down the trail toward us was simply annoying. This is what dog parks are for.

Picture of rattlesnake sign by Flickr user Mykl Roventine under Creative Commons license

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