I was o.k. with it at first, this turning tail and running back down the mountain from a rather large rattlesnake that blocked the trail. But then the cute college girls in the tie-dye t-shirts showed up in the parking lot. When I told them to watch out for the rattler about a mile up the trail they didn’t seem perturbed in the slightest. I tried to make them understand that she was big, aggressive and probably guarding a nearby nest. They thanked me for the information and headed off up the trail. Made me rethink my decision to traipse back down the trail.

But here’s the story. There’s not much to it but I’ll tell it to you anyway. It took me some time to find the trailhead. Many trails in the Southeastern U.S. are poorly marked. After three stops at local establishments I finally found the way up Mt. Yonah.

The ascent was nice,
with boulders poking up from beneath the fallen foliage and undergrowth. Squirrels did their thing (you know, their “squeak, squeakum” thing) as I hiked past their nests. I found a small purple flower that gave off the most beautiful scent. The kind of scent that wasn’t overpowering, the kind of scent you had to lean in close to experience.

Then up, up, up the trail I climbed, past more purple flowers and a rather large Oak tree. And then, rather abruptly, it all came to a halt. I was just walking over a rock on the trail when my eyes registered a rather straight looking stick lying horizontally across the length of the rock. After another millisecond my brain registered what my eyes had just seen and I jumped back. She did the same, slithering her scaly body into a defensive coil.

Next came her unmistakable rattle and my unexpected adrenaline rush. I'm sure she was just as afraid as I was (if not more). I weighed my options. I could a) blaze my own trail around her, hiking through the abundant poison oak all around (after more research I learned that the plants I thought were poison oak were actually Virginia Creepers. An apparently common mistake.), b) jump off of the rock she was coiled at the base of and possibly risk her striking at me and not missing or c) simply turn around and head back down the mountain.

As you already know, I chose c. But not before I snapped a few shots of this venomous creature that had altered the direction of my day. Snakes have my utmost respect. I am no Steve Irwin (man I miss that guy).

Hope the ladies had a better go at reaching the top then I did.




Blogger Stu Bish said...

I hate snakes, and probably would have done the same thing.

4:03 PM  
Blogger reapingtruth said...


12:36 PM  

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