Bruce was the lead hiker early this afternoon as we crossed a sunny, dry ridge.  Suddenly he lurched backwards saying “Whoa” and pointed at the trail just ahead of him.  I leaned forward and examined the magnificent snake stretched across the trail.  It was about 4 feet long and as thick as a commercial garden hose.
“I think it’s a rattler,” I said.
“Nah, I almost stepped on it.  It would have rattled if it it was a rattlesnake,” replied Bruce.
“Isn’t that a rattle on its tail?” I asked.
“Mmm, yes, I guess it is a rattler” he conceded.
We and the rattler admired each other from a respectful distance for more than 10 minutes.  We finally did a detour around the snake and left him to his sunbathing.

The experience did give us the opportunity to consider what we would have done if Bruce had been bitten 5 miles from any road.  It involves me jumping up and down and singing “better you than me”, but there would also be a telephone call or a jog to where there was cell coverage.

Less threatening wildlife sightings today included a deer, a grouse or turkey, and many chipmunks and squirrels.

We only met three other hikers today and it appears that we are the only guests at the Blue Mountain shelter tonight.

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