Monday, May 07, 2012

Gnats and rattle snakes

I was planning to hike up the side of a mountain in Bulldog Canyon on Sunday. I hadn't been up there for a while and I knew it would be pretty and I wanted to try to get to some places I hadn't been before up there. Before I even left the truck, though, the gnats were being very annoying. They were so bad that I wore my sun glasses just to keep them out of my eyes.

I was planning to go up there.

By the time I had gone 200 yards, my arms were tired from swatting at gnats. I had actually caught and killed 3 in my hands (which is unusual) and had smashed another 40 or 50 on my arms, but they weren't discouraged. I was, though. It was difficult to take pictures with gnats crawling up my nose and into my ears. That's very distracting, you know. It looks like it's going to be a bad year for gnats, so I'm going to have to find a solution. I'm hoping that the sunscreen my sister gave me will keep them away. I've used it twice (to prevent sunburn) and wasn't bothered by gnats at all on those hikes. I don't want to use insect repellent because I just don't like that stuff.

So I headed back to the truck and started driving slowly home. Just a little way down the road there was a snake stretched across the road. It rattled and got ready to strike when I got too close for it's comfort while taking pictures. Then it slithered away.

A little bit further and I came across another one. I'm pretty sure they are in the road to warm up (it was only about 89 out there), but this one was in the shade of a palo verde. As you can see in the video I made with my phone camera, it also started rattling before I was very close.

Western diamondback rattlesnake

The same snake on the side of the road, taken from the safety of my truck.

Then not too much further along the road, I came across a third snake. I got out of the truck to take some pictures and to shoo it away because I didn't think I could drive around it without possibly squashing it.

The third snake. This one's dangerous.

The third one never moved as I got as close as I dared to a rattlesnake. Not even the slightest rattle. As I moved around to it's other side to get more pictures the head followed me, but that was the only movement. It wasn't going to move, so I looked around for a nice, long stick. Longs sticks can be hard to find sometimes but there was a half dead palo verde nearby. I nudged the snake with the stick. It did nothing. I moved it a few inches toward the side of the road. I moved just a little. I started to wonder if it had already been run over. I was sliding it to the side when it decided that enough was enough and it gave its rattle a couple of feeble shakes and slowly slowly slithered away. I don't think it was injured after all. If I had stumbled on those first two snakes without seeing them (while hiking), they would have given me plenty of warning to avoid them. That last snake would have done nothing until I stepped on it. Then it probably would have bitten me. That would spoil the whole hike. It would probably be worse than hundreds of gnats.

I think I've come across 4 rattlesnakes while hiking (that I know of). Two rattled like crazy. Two sat there like rocks. I prefer the ones that rattle. Click below to see all of the pictures.


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