Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hiking among the rattlers

We had our first Arizona rattlesnake encounter last week.

We were on a trail in Saguaro National Forest East.  I was ahead of Jim when I heard that distinctive papery rattling sound; my first thought was that Jim was playing a joke.  A nano second later my brain and my eyes told me a rattler was crossing the hiking path about a yard in front of me.

My daughter and I saw a coiled rattler once on a Mt. Olympus trail near our Salt Lake City home, but Jim says he’s never seen a rattler that wasn’t moving away from him -- just like this one was.  That’s a good thing about rattlers -- they don't want to stick around and get to know you.  

It was a diamondback rattler between 2 and 3 feet long and his rattle was about an inch long. No photos of the snake because he quickly slid under a bush, but some other hiking pics are below. 

Jim on the Douglas Spring trail at Saguaro National Forest just east of Tucson. This is the trail where we saw the rattle snake.
Another shot at Saguaro National Forest.
Bev near an ocotillo plant.  Ocotillo can look like dead sticks, but after a rain the plants grow small green leaves that last weeks or months. Tucson's had rain and snow lately, and you can see the leaves coming out on this plant.  Bright red flowers will bloom at the tips of the sticks. 
The Douglas Springs trail included a very thin waterfall, which you may be able to see here if you double click on this photo.  The stream is to the left of us as you look at the photo.  I soaked my white hiking shirt in the water before we started back down the trail, which really helped me deal with the 90 degree plus heat.
This photo was taken at Catalina State Park about 15 miles north of Tucson.  We've hiked there several times because a very nice trail allows dogs.
A cardinal at Catalina State Park.

The trail we take at Catalina State Park crosses a stream about five times, which is one of the reasons we like it.  Here Cooper takes advantage.
Jim at Catalina State Park.


  1. And you couldn't crawl under that bush to get a photo? Other than that, Great Pix!

  2. We thought about throwing a rock at it to get it to come out from under the bush so I could get a pic. But that seemed mean. And we were, after all, in his house.