My most recent brush with death

     A few weeks ago, I went on a camping trip with some friends. We camped out in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The weather was great. The bugs were minimal. Nature was fairly cooperative sans those damn birds who were chirping outside our tent at 6 a.m. I will have the image of King B outside the tent shirtless, wearing green long underwear & throwing rocks at these birds forever burned into my mind.

    We went hiking on our 2nd day & decided to hit some generic area just west of Elk Mountain. We were hiking through an area that was quite rugged & full of boulders. Depending on the geography, we could only hike vertically in spurts, having to stop frequently in order to determine which boulder to scale next. During the hike, I came to a point where I could scale a narrow ledge, but would have to stop after about 20 feet as this ledge dead ended between 2 large boulders, 1 of which I would have to climb to continue the hike.

     Instead of taking this leg of the hike slow & facing the threat of wearing myself out, I decided to make a quick jaunt of it. I scurried up the ledge & slapped my hand on the ground at the top of the ledge, marking my completion of this leg of the journey similar to the way lumberjacks swat the bell after racing up a a tree in the ESPN Great Outdoor Games. As soon as I placed my hand on the ground, I heard the tell-tale sound of a rattle. Reasoning that it could not be the keys or spare change that I was not carrying, I deduced that it was a rattlesnake. I had enough time to blaspheme, turn & sprint away.

     I’ve been told that I ran full speed down a ledge that had a 30+ foot drop on one side. Frankly, I have no memory of this. All I remember is swearing & streaking. No doubt my management of this terrain would have made Spidey proud.

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3 Comments on “My most recent brush with death”

  1. Replicant Says:

    Ha ha. I’ve done those hikes there and the whole time I kept thinking about rattlers. Didn’t come across any of them myself.

    Did you go eat at Meer’s?

  2. JCH Says:

    I was hoping to hear the story of a lightning survival!

  3. St.Fiacre Says:

    The same thing happened to me in reverse. I was hiking Elk Mountain and turned a corner to find a huge buffalo who appeared unwilling to yield the trail. So, I thought I would try and sidestep him. Bad, bad move. He started acting like a the victim in every bullfight movie i’ve ever seen and started to charge. I momentarily forgot about rattlesnakes on sunny rocks as I scaled at least 30 feet of boulders, not striaght up of course, to get out of his way.


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