It was a really weird weird day. We started out by driving over to the other side of Roosevelt Lake to check it out and maybe find a hike. We saw so many amazing geological formations. Huge mesas that were the tops of enormous canyons. You could look straight down hundreds of feet into red rock caverns.
Then I saw an unofficial trail heading up into the woods and figured something interesting much be up there. I, of course, was hoping for a hot spring! So we trudged up the hill and soon the trail petered out. While standing around looking for why the trail existed I looked up and could see an ancient cliff dwelling….very subtle and built into the side of the red rock hill. We were both in shorts and couldn’t bush whack our way down into a canyon to get to the other side of the mountain to climb up the rocks. So I had to be content with just taking pictures of it.
Then we drove over a real rocky and bumpy dirt road, about 12 miles, and were shocked to see a fairly large river crossing the road and cascading over rocks on its way to the lake. We can’t pass up a dip in a river and decided we would find a place to get into it. While deciding where to get into the river we ran into a man who was looking for his young daughters, age 8 and 10. They had wandered off and he couldn’t find them. Mike and I offered to help him look for them so Mike headed up river and I went and took off my sandals and put on my hiking boots. I was trying to catch up with Mike-walking next to this fairly large river bubbling over rocks and I heard him holler that he found the girls.
That’s when I heard hissing and saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked down at my feet just in time to see a rattlesnake’s head darting away from my boot and coil up inches away from my feet. I jumped four feet straight into the air and screamed, “Mike! Snake! I think I just peeed myself!” Mike came running over and wanted to see the snake. So did the Dad. (Never mind the shrieking middle-aged woman with wet-ish pants hyped up on adrenalin.) The conclusion was that the snake was molting and probably felt very vulnerable. Which is why he either struck without rattling or I couldn’t hear the rattling because of the river. Nonetheless I was shaking. The snake had a fairly large rattle and the tail was black and white striped. Someone said it was probably a coon-tail rattler.
But I wasn’t too terrified, I guess, because I continued to the swimming hole in the river and got a swim in. Naked. Without my hiking boots. But I was sure watchful for snakes in and out of the water.
So I am alive and none the worse for wear. But I will, hopefully, remember to watch carefully in rocky areas. My Mom asked if we killed the snake…but we didn’t. He was just doing what snakes do. He eventually slithered off to where he belonged.