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middle ring single track
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A reminder to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes:

Plant community Snake Soil Reptile Scaled reptile


We came across this fellow at Coe on Wed. the 28th. With my son in the lead, we were heading to Kelly Lake on Cross Canyon Trail on the section alongside Kelly Cabin Creek.

This is the closest either of us have ever been to being bit---Jonathan hit the brakes and was able to avoid hitting the snake but as the photo shows stopped with his front wheel past the snake's head. The rattler struck towards Jonathan's right foot simultaneously as he unclipped and laid the bike over. Another 4" and this could be a "film at 11:00" story!

Only after striking did the snake begin to rattle. It was using the trail just like we were, except it was westbound. This portion of the trail was in the creek bed; fairly flat but narrow with largish rocks on either side. Avoiding the snake by riding off-trail wouldn't have been a good choice! (Can you imagine crashing and then falling on a rattler!?!?)

It'll be interesting to see who posts comments "I would have bunny-hopped..."!

The camera angle in this picture doesn't do justice to the snake's size, it was at least 3' long and one gopher in diameter! The wheel is a 29" (on a Trek 69er) and makes the snake look smaller by proportion. I tried to get another photo but when I moved alongside to position myself for a better view the snake took off "like a bat out of hell" to hide in an adjacent rockpile. I've never seen a rattler move so quick, Coe's summer heat had it fully warmed up!

Ironically, just 5 minutes earlier we had stopped to admire a bunch of "water" snakes in one of the few remaining waterholes in the creek. So we did have "snakes on our minds" but this encounter with a rattler really woke us up!

Here's our gratuitous "Swimming at Coe" pix:

Wheel Tire Nature Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle tire
 

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I'm a "she".
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936 Posts
Thanks for sharing the photos and the story! It's so cool that you and your son got to enjoy Coe together! As for that rattler, I guess when it does not hurt anybody, it sure is a thing of beauty. I hope I never get to see one in person though.
 

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Life is strange
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1,991 Posts
Mmmm Rattlesnakes.

My wife and I were hiking a week ago and I almost stepped on the little guy.
So glad your son didn't get bit!
 

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just another bleepin SSer
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Info on the rattlesnake we have around the bay area - the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake:
http://www.calpoison.com/public/rattler.html

The studies I have read say that only 20-25% of the bites on people from Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes have enough venom to kill a person. The theory on why this is is that rattlesnakes don't make venom quickly, and need it to eat, so won't waste it on a defensive strike.
 
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