Monday, June 09, 2008

Snake, a Snake! Oh, it's a Snake!

On our trip down Virginny way for Ben's baptism (a dunking he took like a man, by the way), Kathy and I decided to go hiking in a heat wave. Why swim in a hotel pool when you can tromp around in 90-plus-degree heat? (Do I love this crazy woman? Oh yes I do.)

Kathy picked out the McKeldin section of Patapsco Valley State Park in Maryland, and off we went, hoofing it over a 2.5 mile route. (Not too long, but, y'know—90-plus degrees.) Somewhere along the first trail, I was in the lead, and suddenly noticed something moving that I would have put my foot down on in about two steps. It was a big black snake, about three feet long, and about as thick as a bicycle tire. It slithered off the trail in a hurry as I fumbled for my camera. By the time I could get a shot, it was no longer discernible from the rocks and leaves surrounding the trail, so no go. I didn't think it was poisonous—poison snakes are usually colorful–but man, it was spooky. Looking it up this morning, I think it was a black rat snake, a constrictor that takes down rats, chipmunks, baby squirrels and small rabbits, but are harmless to humans. That is, if you consider a pantsload of crap harmless.

Later on, we decided to extend the trek for another mile; we'd hiked mostly in the shade, and it had been easy going so far. So we branched off onto another trail, taking us close to the Patapsco River. And, unbeknownst to us, the Ancient Temple of T'zz'zzt, the Mosquito God. After traveling next to the river for a stretch, we followed the trail uphill with uncharacteristic speed.

We were no longer hiking. We were fleeing.

After that narrow escape, we soon found ourselves eating giant crabs out on my brother and sister-in-law's deck. Then, the heat broke a little, as it started to rain and lightning. If you've ever wondered whether I would stay outside eating crabs under a metal umbrella during a thunderstorm, the hypothetical is now an emperical. Yes, yes, yes.

(Thanks to Terrierman for the pic!)


Andy said...

Did you get a shot or a shit?

Rob S. said...

neither, actually -- but I sure as hell jumped!

Rob S. said...

oops -- finally saw (and fixed) that typo.