Friday, August 05, 2005
Went hiking with a group of guys from work up Shinglestown Gap yesterday afternoon. I was walking up front when I had a fairly-close encounter with a rattlesnake. It was the first time I'd seen one in the wild in Pennsylvania, although I had heard that there were rattlesnakes on Tussey Mountain. We noticed each other at a distance of about seven feet or so, and I never got any closer than that to this little sucker - two and a half feet at the most. The rest of the group was still pretty freaked out, and Ben ("Chromal") was yelling at me to get away from the snake. We all got off the trail to go around it, and at this point a family with a little kid and a dog off of its leash came down the opposite direction on the trail. It turned into a big production, and meanwhile Ben was taking pictures of the rattler, defensively curled up in a little coil. Ironically enough, Ben kept creeping closer, and probably *was* in striking range before we got him to get back. I tried tossing a stick at the snake to get it off the trail, but all that did was get it madder. We just gave up at that point, and by the time we came back on the return leg of the hike, it had slithered off to it's night-time burrow, whereever that was.