Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Snakes...Why did it have to be Snakes?

As the Dakotas trip has gotten closer, I have gone back to skimming some of the guide books and trail guides I have purchased. This has been both informative and fun, as I am one of those people who can be transported by nothing more than a map and a book. Having spent a number of evenings recently with my before-bed reading being about the Badlands in general and Teddy Roosevelt National Park in specific, I am struck by the consistency of the reports on the three most notable types of wildlife we will very likely see. Prairie dogs. Cool. Bison. Very cool. Prairie rattlesnakes. Catastrophically uncool.

Crotalus viridis
There aren't many things that I have a very definite fear of, or a phobia about, but snakes are my thing. Me and Indiana Jones. I think I have gotten a little better over the last year or so due to the amount of time I have spent out in the woods looking for caches, and the number of snakes I have seen while doing so, but I still don't like them. Not one bit. So I am concerned to say the least.

Snakes seek warmth. I run warm. Very warm. Snakes will seek me out while I sleep. I just know it. Which leads me to the conclusion that the other guys should probably plan on splitting the driving to Minneapolis on that last day because I will at that point not have slept in two days. Should we happen to see a snake of any size or variety early in the trip, it is possible that I may not sleep for a week, or more likely, will not leave the car. Ever.

According to Wikipedia, prairie rattlers routinely grow to an adult size of over 100cm. In real measurement, that's over 3 feet. Or 120cm. Which is 4 feet. It wouldn't take one that big to do me in. I have a vision of the Last Moments of Eric going something like this...

A hiker, having the time of his life, is bopping along the trail when he rounds a sharp bend and sees a couple of little rattlesnakes on the trail mere feet in front of him. One of the cute little snakes shakes its rattle at the hiker. The hiker's eyes roll back in his head, he clutches his chest, and flops to the ground like a dead fish. The little rattlesnake turns and looks at his buddy, smiles, and says "wow! that was the easiest one ever!"

So in the immortal words of Sallah: "Snakes. Very Dangerous. You go first."

1 comment:

  1. No worries. John will be happy to go first. :-)