Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013 - celebration and excitement on the trail (snakes!)

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake
the whole rattlesnake
 Earth Day 2013. Southern California.

Major excitement, celebration, and I got  some great photos, too.

 I walk for weight maintenance, almost most everyday at lunch. Luckily, I was looking ahead on the trail when I spotted this beautiful, yet somewhat scary looking snake.

I was able to back up and warn my walking partner quickly. As I was backing up, dust blew in the air, and I could see that this was indeed a Southern Pacific rattlesnake (poisonous). I was able to get a safe distance away from the snake and take a few photos with my zoom lens. The rattlesnake was about 2 feet long.
As I was photographing the rattlesnake, my walking buddy warned me of a second snake. Holy Smokes! About 10 feet away, there was a 4 foot gopher snake (not poisonous) even further out on the trail. I was able to safely scoot around the snake on the trail and get even more photos.
Gopher snake

Gopher Snake close up

Two snakes, ten feet apart, gopher snake in the foreground
 What works:

1. Walking at lunch time helps me maintain my weight
2. Keeping a sharp eye out for shape, movement, and color kept me from stepping on this snake
3. Walking with a buddy keeps me a little safer.
4. Keeping cool and calm helped in assessing the situation and staying safe, and getting these awesome photos. Safety first!

What does not work:
1. Not walking enough, I'll gain some weight back.
2. Not paying attention to surroundings.
3. Walking by myself is not as safe.
4. Loosing your cool and getting into more trail trouble.

We did  a little bit of excited screaming (like school girls!) at a twig that looked like a third snake further down the trail. I hope I don't loose my walking buddy! What a day to remember. Awesome, scary, fun! Wow. Totally Southern California style celebration of Earth Day 2013. Love it.


  1. Yikes, I couldn't imagine seeing a snake!! We don't have snakes in New Zealand and long may that last :)

  2. I remember that about NZ when I went there in 1999. No snakes! Usually no problem, unless you step on one in the trail, or put your hand down on one while taking a break. Some dogs also get snake bites if they happen upon one in the shrubs and the snake strikes. Most hospitals carry anti-venom and the best place for treatment is in nearby Loma Linda.

  3. Oh my! I would have been so scared. Great photos, Karen. I've only encountered a milk snake while hiking and I hope to never see a rattlesnake.

  4. WOW scary! Great photos though!

    When I was running in Tucson a few years ago I came across a snake that was later identified as a diamond back rattler. YIKES

  5. I just started Willa Cather's My Antonia today. They have to carry a cane and a knife with them because of the rattlers (Nebraska, 1880-1910). You are a pioneer girl at lunch.

  6. Too much excitement for me! :-P There was a sign warning about snakes in the vet's office today - I don't think of there being as many where you are - glad you were careful and alert!

  7. Great photos! I have almost stepped on both, and this reminds me that this is the season to be more careful.

  8. Great to see your photo's. I think I too would have done a "little bit of excited screaming".
    I've seen a grass snake here in the UK and apparently we can get adders but I've been fortunate not to see one.
    Have to say I love your idea of a walk at lunch time, great if you can do this and are in a suitable environment.

    Keep showing your great photo's

    All the best Jan

  9. Cool! I love to see and photograph critters (even if they are poisonous). Here in Texas, we call them critters :) So glad you were alert and didn't step on him! Right now, we have a Mallard nest in our front flower bed with 12 eggs! I am looking forward to seeing the babies waddle. Walking is my favorite way to exercise, too. It's the only thing that I seem to be able to stick with.

  10. Thanks for stopping by on the snake post. I was so happy I did not step on it. I like the stick idea and the pioneer story (Vickie). Love reading about pioneer women and all the courageous things they faced coming to the West. I can't imagine it. I think of the wagon trains while I walk.