Friday, May 21, 2010
Snakes and Lizards on Cinco de Mayo
Charmin, it turns out, is from Switzerland and speaks with a German accent, I guess it is, and I'm not sure how I didn't pick up on the accent before. We spoke a little bit, then she headed on.
I finally got my stuff together and started hiking, and I didn't go more than a mile or two before I found Gandolf and Radar camped, quite literally, directly on the trail. They had continued past the road thinking there would be places to set up camp, but they didn't find any and camp on the trail instead. They seemed surprised at all the people tromping through their camp so early in the morning. "We thought we'd already be hiking before anyone arrived," they explained.
And just as I finished uttering those words, she yells, "Ack! Snake!" pointing to the side of the trail I had just walked past. Sure enough, there was a rattlesnake, resting only an inch or two off the side of the trail. I practically stepped on the thing and didn't even realize it. Charmin said her adrenaline was really pumping, and somehow I found myself impressed that someone who didn't speak English as a native language would know the word adrenaline. She was still ten feet back from the snake, never close enough to be bitten by it. I, who passed within mere inches of it's head, didn't realize the danger until I was ten feet beyond it.
I hiked faster than Charmin, though, and eventually left her in the dust. I caught up with two other hikers, Vicki and Dennis, and accidentally scared Vicki half to death when she thought the noise behind her was a GIGANTIC rattlesnake chasing after her.
Those two were hiking pretty slow as well, though, and I eventually left them in the dust as well. Not even a half hour after the first rattlesnake, I darned near stepped on a second one. There were a bunch of sticks in the trail, and it was in a nice, sunny spot, and I thought, "If I were a rattlesnake, I'd hang out here." So I stepped into the area slowly, looking around for lurking snakes. None on my left, none of my right, none ahead of me. Then I looked down, and there was one, not two inches from my shoe.
Now THAT scared the crap out of me. I yelled, jumped what seemed like 20 feet high, and quickly got away from it. Okay, my adrenaline was pumping now! Stupid snake blended in so perfectly with the sticks on the ground that I totally didn't see it even when I was looking for one! At least Charmin wasn't around for that incident. I've probably done enough damage to her regarding snakes as it was.
Turns out, there was another water source a couple of miles up the trail, nicknamed "the guzzler", which I didn't even know existed. Charmin was already there, filling up, as was Hiker 816. It was Hiker 816 who peeked into the water--it was a tank covered by a plastic and cement shell, so thin it was breaking, and found a dead lizard floating in the bottom of it. Yum. =)
Charmin is a vegetarian, and we asked her about if the dead lizard in the water was a problem, and she explained that she doesn't really have a problem with the eating of animals, but rather the conditions that they are harvested in. If she raised her own animals humanely, she'd be perfectly happy to eat them.
"So free-roaming lizards are okay to consume?" I asked.
"Yes," she answered.
That really amused me. =)
Further down the trail, I met Alex, a Scottish man, and finally Sam and Ryan, who were hiking southbound. They told me that the next two water caches had plenty of water, and I joyfully poured out half the water I was carrying. Two reliable water sources up ahead! Woo-who! They also said some trail angels had set up a grill and were cooking hot dogs and all sorts of wonderful things at Highway 74. Maybe if we were lucky, they'd still be there the next day. *fingers crossed* One can hope!
Posted by Ryan at 12:56 PM