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Posts Tagged ‘California rattlesnakes’

I know there are plenty of signs warning of the dangers of the wild but, when you see them every hike and never see a mountain lion or snake, it’s easy to get complacent.  This weekend we had a reminder to take those warnings seriously.  We were hiking our favourite route up to the top of Windy Hill to enjoy the sensational views on a clear, sunny, spring morning.  Part of the ascent requires some rock scrambling.  As we trod the narrow path between the rocks we were suddenly aware of a loud rattle in the bushes to our left.  We froze and peered into the undergrowth only to see two large rattle snakes, tails beating frantically, staring at us and tasting the air.  We backed slowly away down the hill and left the snakes well alone.  On one hand, as no-one was hurt, it was awesome to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.  On the other, it was a little disturbing just how close we had been to them without realising they were there.

Would you have noticed the two rattlers at the side of this trail?

Experienced local hikers tell me this is the season in which rattlesnakes are especially active as they come out of hibernation and onto the trails to bask in the spring sun.  So be careful out there!  Always watch where you’re walking and climbing.  Along with Windy Hill, I’m told one is also especially likely to encounter a rattlesnake in Arastradero Preserve and Rancho San Antonio at this time of year.  But be wary wherever you hike and don’t let little ones scramble too far ahead of you into long grass or over rocks.

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