Thinking about…fauna on the Appalachian Trail. What about…snakes?!? (Part I)


Lots of posts from hikers on the AT who have had rattler encounters merits revisiting this subject.

Write in Front of Me

Rattlesnake Rattlesnake (Photo credit: Mauro Luna)

When you announce to friends you’re backpacking the Appalachian Trail the first response is: “What about bears and snakes?”  When and how this became a worry for hikers and backpackers is a riddle.  But, if snakes were a significant risk along the Appalachian Trail I never would have hiked it, seeing that my first encounter with reptiles was unsettling.

While hiking the Uwharrie National Forest on a clear April Sunday I bushwhacked off-trail to explore.  Using compass bearings I reached a squat rocky outcrop and poked around a bit.  I sat, snacked on a granola bar and drank some water.  Then I stood up.  Three feet to the right of where I stood lay a rattlesnake.  Adding to the joy, a copperhead lay a foot further on.  Though my comprehension of snakes was limited I knew one thing; when copperheads and rattlesnakes are found…

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