This is how I am introduced to people, one year later.
I was contemplating a title for this article. My girlfriend came up with “The Girl Who Stepped on a Rattlesnake.” We nixed it because, in her words, “It makes you sound too stupid.” So I went with our second choice.
For my snakebite anniversary I decided to go back to the scene of the crime and do what I was so rudely interrupted doing last year.
That was—taking a picture of wild lupins in the exact spot where, while I was adjusting my camera lens, I stepped on a Northern Pacific rattlesnake. This time, of course I would be oh-so-much-more-careful and watch where I place my giant size 9 ½ gunboats.
I brought my dog along. My dog was also bitten by a rattlesnake the year before I was. She was also with me the day of my snakebite. I went to my girlfriend Jacqueline’s house at the trailhead: She’s the same friend who called 9-1-1. She came along with her dog.
The day was very much like the day that I was bitten, same type of weather, same time of day. We walked and talked about the day I was bitten and how nervous I sometimes feel and how silly it is to be nervous because we both know that I am a member of an elite club. I mean, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than bitten by a venomous snake.
Besides, I’m much more careful now. It is about this point that Jacqueline puts her hand on my arm. I stop in my tracks. She points at the ground I have almost stepped on a small snake with brown markings laying across the trail—I freeze.
I missed it! I completely didn’t see it. My heart is thumping. I’m mildly confused. This small snake is doing what snakes do when they’re scared. It is still and trying to blend in with it’s surrounding and doing a great job. Jacqueline says, ”I don’t think it’s a rattler. Look at the shape of its head.” I take a closer look and breath a sigh of relief. It’s a baby gopher snake.
Jacqueline looks at me and says ”You should never walk down this trail alone.”
Translation: You need a keeper, Idiot Girl.
It was a young gopher snake, maybe a year old. Gopher snakes don’t discharge a foul-smelling liquid all over you when you pick them up like garter snakes do, and the young ones tend to be very docile. I touched it first and then picked it up gently.
Picking up the baby gropher snake
So there I was on my snakebite anniversary holding a snake.
Snake in hand.
I felt like I had sort of come full circle.
Stay tuned for “What I’ve Learned About Rattlesnakes.”