Our First Ever Rattlesnake Encounter
June 19th, 2018 - Pennsylvania - Appalachian Trail
It was this day that we experienced the true adrenaline feeling of being next to a wild venomous snake, and sadly it wouldn’t be our last.
We knew by hiking the Appalachian Trail we were bound to encounter snakes along the way. But up until this point we had gotten lucky and had only seen nonvenomous black rat snakes.
We were minding our own business walking the trail like normal when Caveman spotted movement on the right side of the trail. Our friend Stretch was ahead of Caveman and never noticed the snake. But when Caveman (second in line) got closer to the snake, it moved. Caveman froze, then backed away from the snake to reevaluate the situation.
Typically the first person to pass the snake usually spooks them, and the second person is more likely to be bit. This came as a big concern and Caveman wanted to make sure we knew what this snake was planning before he and I got too close.
The first thing we noticed about the situation was that the snake never rattled at us. We found this quite obscure because this is normally the first warning sign of an upset rattlesnake. Then when we observed more it was evident that he was sunbathing after his meal and didn’t seem to mind our company. This snake had probably watched multiple hikers walk right past, but he must have felt threatened by our larger group and therefore moved when Caveman approached him.
So we were then left with a decision; to wait for the snake to move, or to walk around.
This was difficult, because our friend was already on the other side waiting, and trying to convince the snake to move was something it clearly didn’t want to do. Our only solution left was to walk around him and leave him be.
So after what felt like hours of nerves, we kept our sticks as close to our legs as possible (peace of mind; snake defense) and walked past.
So naturally you might ask if we carry anti venom, or snake guards for our feet; yes both exist. However, the chances of getting bit by a snake is quite rare, and the most important thing you can do is stay calm, and get medical help. So no, we choose not to carry anti venom, or snake guards, but another great tool to have in a situation like this is a GPS device that would allow you to call for help if you don’t have cell reception during an event like this.
Whenever we tell this story we always try to explain just how close the snake was to the trail and how sometimes it can be hard to walk around obstacles because of a cliff or wall you can’t get up or around without truly backtracking, but today I found the video which is why we wanted to share this story with you