“Hey, Mommy! Look at me!!” my son cheerily yelled as he hopped onto some rocks off the side of the trail. Before I could say a word, I heard the unmistakable rattle and saw the quick movement of a snake jumping (luckily) away from my son. We were deep in the heart of Capitol Reef National Park’s Spring Canyon, and this was my first up close and personal encounter with a rattlesnake.
As an East Coast suburban girl who had recently moved out West, I knew I needed to learn more about how to avoid rattlesnakes (other than hopes and prayers) and what to do if and when I encountered them again. Now, I’ve lived for several years in Colorado’s front range, where rattlesnakes thrive. I know snakes strike fear in the heart of many hikers, but they don’t have to ruin your fun.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY TOP DO’S AND DON’TS FOR HIKING IN RATTLESNAKE COUNTRY. HOPEFULLY THEY WILL HELP YOU AS YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN ENJOY YOUR OWN TRAILS.
DON’T: STRESS TOO MUCH
According to the U.S. Department of Wildlife and Ecology, your chances of dying from a venomous snake bite in the US is basically zero (1 in 50 million). You are more likely to be struck by lightning, in fact. Fewer than one in 37,500 people are even bitten by venomous snakes in the US. So, be smart, be educated, and make good choices, but understand that you are pretty unlikely to be harmed by a snake.