A rattlesnake! A big one. See... This is pretty much at the beginning of the trail head. The kids were so excited to go on an "adventure hike" and see the forts and the swinging wood bridges. Sam and Ethan were just a few steps ahead of me. Then I saw this. The black circle represents where Ethan was standing.
I grabbed Ethan and I feel like I threw him to Kevin. I hope I handed him over but with the rush of adrenaline I had...I can't really tell you what I did. I just know I grabbed him and got him away as quick as I could. Sam was already a few steps ahead so I told him to keep going - to walk another 10 feet up the path and wait. Jen took Ethan, Kalie and Elise back down the hill. I somehow stayed calm enough to take a quick picture and we all just stood still, including the snake. We were just waiting each other out. Sam was so brave and calm. There was my boy, looking back at me with a large rattlesnake between us. Sam said in a very calm and quiet voice, "Mommy, I'm scared." I handed Kevin my camera and my bag and was about to walk past the snake up to Sam. I couldn't take seeing him standing there alone. When I turned back to start up the hill, the snake also started to move. He turned around and disappeared back into the brush. Sam came back down and we all decided that was it for the hike.
I did not have time to get a great picture of the snake but in the photo above, where the arrow is, you can kind of see the rattle. Thankfully, the rattle was not rattled. I think the silence helped keep us all calm. I would have been much more freaked out if he was more upright and rattling.
It was the favorite topic of conversation for the rest of the week. The little people in our group had lots and lots of questions. One afternoon, I think Kevin and I fielded questions for about 25 minutes. The kids wanted to know how the snake can have poison in his mouth but not get poisoned by it. And why was he out at this time of year? And how quickly can a snake move? And why didn't we still go on our hike? And what about the other people on the hiking trail that didn't know about the snake, will they be okay?
Did I mention Kevin was worried about lightning on this trip as well? Jen and I laughed. I told Kevin I had only witnessed lightning once in the three + years we have been down here. He warned the kids before getting in the pool that swim time would be over if we saw any lightning.
Later on Thursday evening, a bright flash in the window followed by roaring thunder.
We told Kevin to start thinking about lottery winnings.