Yeah, well, maybe snakes don't have ears but they can hear. The "how" of "how" they hear is best left to researchers with big budgets. Maybe they "hear" the vibrations of the earth under their snake bellies. Maybe they "feel" air pressure from an oncoming presence. Who knows?
Old wives tales aside, snakes KNOW when you are coming. Factiod.
It's part and parcel of how they make a living. By eating things. Mice, small rabbits, sometimes birds. Whatever. These things just don't fall into the snake's lap. The snake has to "WORK" for it's living, just like the rest of us.
OK, I've been lately writing various and assorted BS about snakes. So, we are out hiking today on a "recon" hike to the Old Soda Springs. I had a talk with our hiking partners about snakes and how none of us had yet seen snakes this spring.
We're hiking a wide wash. It had been scoured by the winter rains. Clean as a whistle. No obvious snake habitat. We get "down-wash" to our destination and do our "recon" and what not, take our lunch break. You know, all the usual hiker activities.
Then, we start hiking back "up-wash." Life is going along splendidly.
Me and my male buddy are merrily chatting about this and that--to be specific--the "railroad cards" in a Monopoly Game. Susun and Jodi are behind us.
Suddenly, I hear this voice behind me. Stop, the voice says. At first it didn't register. Stop, the voice said louder. Finally the voice behind me is screaming, STOP!!!!
Instinctively, I had a muscular reaction that made me literally jump backwards without really trying. Kinda like invisible springs were suddenly discovered in these aging legs. It was kinda like a pogo-stick trick.
And there was this HUGE western diamond back rattler--the locals call 'em "coon tails" where my next step would have been. The snake was at least four inches in diameter at its widest point. It was a very old snake and a very long snake, pushing six feet.
I felt like it was my karma for all the things I have been saying about snakes lately. No kidding.
Anyway, my friend saved this old guy a lot of hassle today. This snake was clearly prepared to nail somebody and I was preparing to be that body.
Looking back on today, it was clearly a case of complacency. None of us had seen any snakes yet this year. We'd all four of us walked this wash going down to our destination. Life was good.
So, the whole thing was a typical "wake up" call for me and my 3 hiking companions. Don't get complacent. Don't take things for granted. Don't assume anything. Expect the unexpected. Continue to look ahead of your footsteps. Think like a snake. Think snakes.
You know, all that "desert awareness" stuff that we are supposed to have ingrained in your numbskull brains!
Anyway, after what I have been saying lately about snakes, I feel like an idiot. Justifiably so.
I got a "lesson" today. And somehow came out OK. I am humbled.
PS--And so there was another "coon tail" in the middle of the road on FS 618 heading back from the hike, too. I almost felt like those snakes had been reading my HAZ posts and were out to teach me a lesson. I think they succeeded!