It seems that I have seen quite a few snakes recently: a snake on the Aspen View Trail onSangre De Cristo Mountains, a snake on the trail at Tent Rocks National Monument, a rattlesnake on the road at the Bosque yesterday, today another rattlesnake on the Mogollon Trail at Leasburg Dam State Park.
In the late afternoon today, as I was walking on the trail towards the bridge, I noticed a plastic bag hanging on the bush at the turn of trail to the bridge. I vaguely heard a mono sound came from the bush. My attention was drawn to the bag suspecting the sound was coming from something inside it. The mono sound became louder when I got closer to the bush. “Is it a cicada?” I thought. But it didn’t have the melody of the cicada’s songs. The tall bushes blocked my view of the bridge but I heard somebody was talking on the phone or something. I was getting closer to the turn of the trail, a woman wearing a hat and sunglasses with a dog on the leash emerged behind the bush, saying, “Keep back! Keep back!” I was startled and bewildered. “Move!!!” She raised her arm and shouted at me. I immediately turned around and started walking back. “Thank you!” I heard she said that when I turned around. I looked back from time to time trying to see what happened there. But I didn’t see anything. “Why did she ask me to move? What did she try to hide? Was it a rattlesnake? Did somebody get hurt?” Lots of questions went through my mind.
I told Stephen about the incident. Later when I came back from the shower, Stephen told me that the lady who shouted at me came to apologize. She said there was a rattlesnake in the bush by the step near the bridge. And she showed Stephen the photo of the snake. Oh my God! I almost stepped on the rattlesnake without any knowledge if that lady was not there. I think I’d better stay away from the rocky trail until the snakes go into hibernation.
Here is a link for rattlesnake safety at www.wta.org. When encountering a rattlesnake, follow these three steps: freeze, listen, and retreat. If one is bitten by a rattlesnake, keep calm and call 911 immediately, wash the wound with soapy water or an antiseptic wipe. Do not elevate the wounds above heart level, do not apply bandages or ice, do not cut the wound, do not suck the venom from the wound.