Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Once upon a time in a land far away, (read: North Carolina), my family was out camping and hiking around at Mount Mitchell. We were part of a group hiking with a guide. Anna and i had been fascinated by the little tree frogs and other such creepy crawlies. We were younger...i think like 6 and 8 at the time?  As we rounded a bend the guide had just concluded a schpeal about how (famous last words coming up) "in all his years he had has never seen a rattlesnake" when lo and behold the tell tale noise like a mini maraca started up. There, sitting just off the edge of the trail was a HUGE Eastern Diamondback rattler.

Another day, i was up in the treehouse we built in the back yard that wrapped around two pine trees, contemplating getting down to go in search of ice cream when i realized the lovely critter in the picture above was hanging out at the base of the ladder. Yeah, fun, you try waiting out a snake.

And then there was summer camp--usually some kind of aquatic girl scout camp where i spent endless hours in a lake getting Red Cross certified to sail, canoe, whatever. Well, about once every few days you'd be diving off some dock in the middle of the lake when the whistle would blow and snake would be yelled and everyone would get the heck out of the water because there was a water moccasin swimming around with us.

Lesson learned....poisonous snakes are everywhere in Carolina. There are 6 kinds (3 are rattlers and all are on the most poisonous in N. America list). In fact if you click the link under the snake you will see you are more likely to get bit in NC than anywhere else in the country. Personally, i believe this to be one part snake and three parts the stupidity of the general folk, who do things like (on the same trip to Mt. Mitchell) stick their hand inside a hole to pull out the snake. At any rate, it meant i was always on the look out hiking or doing anything else for snakes.

A couple months ago, Laila and i went on a mini-hike. About 1/2 way through a garter snake slide across the path in front of us....send both Laila and I leaping backwards until we could identify it....NC trained us girls...assume poisonous until proven otherwise. A little research later it turns out that poisonous snakes are basically no where out here in Western WA (there is one type of rattler in eastern WA) and NO snakes at all in AK unless a garter snake gets lost and comes over the Canadian border.

The point is, i'm going to have to learn a new way to put the fear of teach my kids to respect snakes into my kids than without actually letting them almost step on one.


  1. Don't put the fear of snakes into your kids at all!! Educate the kids about snakes, their role in this world and how they aren't going to bother you unless you do something stupid to them!! DON'T BE THE PARENT THAT EVERY INSTRUCTOR IN MY FIELD HATES!!!!

  2. I think the snakes were actually at Hanging Rock. (The guy who stuck his hand in the rock hole got bitten by a copperhead.) It was on Mount Mitchell where we were camping in 30-degree temperatures in July...we got heavier weight sleeping bags after that.