I love that spot. My parents hiked there when my dad was doing his master's in Tucson...and my mom lost all her toenails. So, when I shared that Jon and I had hiked it sometime while I was in the Basic Course, my mom promptly asked if I still had all my toenails. Jon's response was to congratulate me for making generational progress.
I'm a little worried what another generation of "progress" would look like if Anna made the trek...hunting venomous snakes comes to mind. It's a good thing she doesn't really read AP. With all your awesome tales and pictures, I think she'd add begging to drive to Arizona to her list of hopeful dreams that she pulls out whenever the day's activities don't suit. ;-)
Anna should definitely be encouraged to drive to Arizona and run long and find critters. She would probably be able to post a particularly high "critter count". Tucson trail runners keep a running tally of how many venomous snakes/gila monsters/desert tortoises they see in a year and often post their current tally with a picture of their latest critter. I can just imagine Anna posting a "73/5/7" with a roll of snake photos.
"Let's go!" she says. Luckily she still has only a permit...heaven help us when it's a full-blown license.
Love the critter count. Maybe Anna should start that, now that the snakes are out!
Australia may have the reputation for snakes, but I've only seen three in competition (and a few more in training) in over 40 years of orienteering. To my knowledge there have only been three snakebites (none with serious injury) in the whole history of the sport in Australia.
Does that count the American who got bitten in a Rogaine there?
I saw one (small and green) in two events we ran while visiting. Anna was disappointed not to see any while orienteering, although she did observe a snake in a lake while camping outside of Sydney.
I've only seen venomous snakes in Arizona (the only ones that count) on trail runs and never while orienteering. Probably has a bit to do with the fact that we don't orienteer as much in the lower, hotter places when the snakes are more likely to be out. I guess Anna would want to change that.
I think I've seen 4 rattlesnakes while orienteering/rogaining. 3 of them in the scablands here in WA in April-June, in places where you'd expect: sunny, rocky areas.
The 4th encounter is the one that seriously freaked me out, because it was in the shady forest in interior BC, and it rattled right as I was about to run over it, and I literally jumped over the damn thing. I'm not easily shaken, but after that, I couldn't concentrate on anything other than "Where's another snake? Is this a snake? Is that a snake?"
After a bit, I decided that I was not having fun, and orienteering should be fun, so I aborted my course and walked back on a road. The snakes won. :-(
My most discouraging rattlesnake encounter was up on a trail in the Rincon Mountains above 5000'. We passed it on the way up, seemed like it was asleep. Came back down a few minutes later and pass it again, this time definitely awake. Before seeing that snake (probably an Arizona Black Rattlesnake) I had considered higher elevations to be Safe Spaces. No I know that nowhere is safe.
I've never seen a wild rattlesnake (though I have seen other snakes, including while orienteering). Maybe I'm just not observant enough.
Snakes don't want to bite you. It's not a good day for a snake if it bites a person. It's not like it can eat you or anything, so it's just a risky waste of venom.
Trail runners here see rattlesnakes fairly frequently, though I've never heard of anyone having any issues other than temporarily elevated heart rate. Most snake bites in Arizona are of the hand and the victims tend to be young men, often with a non-zero blood alcohol content. Seems like they probably mostly got what they deserved.
I think another significant source of snakebite is religious people who think God will protect them because it says so in the Bible, who try to prove it by passing snakes around, and when somebody gets bitten they just write it off to that person not having strong enough faith. Sometimes it's the pastor who gets bitten, and there are documented cases of fatalities in such circumstances.
Didn't include rogaines in my number - I know of a couple of serious incidents in these.
Read somewhere that 70% of crocodile attack victims in the Northern Territory were under the influence of alcohol at the time.
A runner I know just excitedly posted a photo of a snake claiming to finally be on the board (1/0/0) only to be informed that his snake was definitely a bull snake and thus does not count. When running in AZ it’s important to have critter knowledge for smack talk. Anna would presumably approve.
I saw four eastern timber rattlers on the AT. They're pretty benign and gorgeous. Certainly don't want to bite, and you can observe them from a few feet away and they're chill.
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