Friday, July 10, 2009

Just A Little Rattled


I had planned to go and hike in Palm Desert after work. That way I could get some shade and I'd hike a little loop I haven't done in a couple of months. Two things conspired against me, though. First, I forgot my camera at home when I left for work and I wanted to go home and get it. Then, when I left work I saw the clouds and the position of the sun, I thought this is going to be a nice sunset and I won't be able to see it from Palm Desert. So after getting my camera I decided to head over to the Indio Hills and see if I could get some pictures near Biskra Palms.

I get to Biskra Palms and the sun is getting real low on the horizon and I have to run to get to a viewpoint where I can get some pictures.

I'm hoping to get up this hill before the sun totally disappears.

Before I get to the hill I turn and get a shot of the sun as it disappears.

I get to the base of the hill and take this shot before I start climbing.

As I climb I continually turn around and take pictures along the way.

The footing is precarious with loose rocks and dirt. It is not fun stuff to climb but the view is worth the effort.

There is very little vegetation on these hills other than a few creosote bushes.

I figure I can hike up this trail a way and come down a different direction closer to the palms. I brought a flashlight in case it gets to dark to see and the hike is going pretty well although the trail is a bit eroded in a few places.

I get to a section where the trail is a bit washed out and I have to jump down a couple of feet to get to a stable section. As soon as my feet hit the ground I hear the unmistakable buzz of a rattlesnake. I look to see where he is and he's about four feet from me and headed in my direction. The reason he's coming toward me is so he can escape below the big rock. That's where he is right now. Trust me.

I wait from a safe location to see if he'll make an appearance and, sure enough, he does. He moves very quickly and while I try to get a close up picture it comes out blurry so this is as good as it gets.

He moves pretty fast along the rocks right where I was standing. I figure he's probably about two and a half feet long.

He heads down into this hole where he'll be safe and so will I. I decide that maybe I don't want to hike the rest of this trail and hike back through the palm oasis in the dark. I don't want to stumble into one of this guy's relatives.

The hill that leads back is like walking down an ice slope covered with ball bearings. But I take it slow and keep my eyes peeled for snakes. One thing about seeing a snake on a hike is that it makes you just a bit paranoid for the rest of the day.

I get back to the Jeep before I really need the flashlight. I check under my door to make sure there are no snakes and climb in. I really thought it would have been too hot today to have a rattler out and about but I guess they can venture out in the shade of the afternoon just like I can. I guess I'll have to start remembering to bring my snake stick along from now on.

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