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View Full Version : Hiker bit by rattlesnake on AZT



Storm27m
04-05-2019, 11:00
Keep your eyes open out there...

https://www.azfamily.com/news/hiker-survives-rattlesnake-bite-on-remote-arizona-trail/article_2770180a-574a-11e9-b92a-1723eab59859.html

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AllDownhillFromHere
04-05-2019, 11:12
There are snakes in Arizona ?!

Tipi Walter
04-05-2019, 11:29
You've got one half of my Hiking Mantra---"Keep Your Eyeballs Open and Your Butt Cheeks Clenched."

This sage advice has gotten me thru dozens of rattlesnake encounters.

Relevant Thread Drift---
One of my best encounters was backpacking up the Nutbuster trail in NC and going thru a war zone of giant fallen hemlock trees. I placed my left hand on a trunk to scoot across and Mr Happy was sunning himself just above my hand. Luckily my butt cheeks were suitably clenched and my eyeballs were sufficiently open so I prevented envenomation.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/17-Days-In-Rattlerville/i-zgjJDwS/0/09ca1bfc/XL/Trip%20165%20323-XL.jpg

tommaloney
04-05-2019, 13:13
The 2 comments on the article are worse than any non-empathetic responses to topics I've read on here. And I've read a LOT of cold comments on here.

CalebJ
04-05-2019, 13:14
The 2 comments on the article are worse than any non-empathetic responses to topics I've read on here. And I've read a LOT of cold comments on here.
Yep. I read those earlier and immediately remembered that I should have known better...

TNhiker
04-05-2019, 14:02
Yep. I read those earlier and immediately remembered that I should have known better...



y'all made me read those comments....

keyboard warrior wannabees....

MuddyWaters
04-05-2019, 14:26
26 vials antivenin and air ambulance

If she doesnt have good insurance....really good.....she may owe well over $100,000. If she had none....she will wish they left her out there

Anti venin that costs $100 elsewhere in world can be $2000-$10,000 here.

Traveler
04-05-2019, 16:17
Just an FYI - Its copperhead mating season currently in the Carolina's (and perhaps elsewhere nearby), not a great time to be thrashing about in places they like to lay about.

stephanD
04-05-2019, 17:36
Lesson learned is that not all rattlesnakes rattle.

4eyedbuzzard
04-05-2019, 17:52
26 vials antivenin and air ambulance

If she doesnt have good insurance....really good.....she may owe well over $100,000. If she had none....she will wish they left her out there

Anti venin that costs $100 elsewhere in world can be $2000-$10,000 here.

My wife got stung by a scorpion last fall. A striped bark scorpion common to TX that is a close relative of the more lethal Arizona striped bark scorpion. She had a severe allergic reaction - airway started closing, slurred speech, dizziness, etc.. Rushed her to the ER (with a crushed to death by frying pan scorpion) where they ID'ed the critter and treated her with fluids and high doses of antihistamines. Kept her for 22 hours for observation (so they didn't have to "admit" her). They weren't sure if she would need anti-venom if her condition worsened. And there was no scorpion anti-venom available anywhere in the DFW area, because the US manufacturer (ASU Labratory) no longer makes it. It would have to be flown in from leftover stock in AZ. The price? $6000 per dose plus shipping (aka expensive transport). Typically 3 doses are considered normal/average. The price in Mexico (where US providers now actually get the anti-venom from when needed)? <$100.

Total cost of the sting? Around $6000. Thankfully, insurance covered all but a small deductible. If anti-venom had been required? A couple days in the hospital + $20K in antivenom = easily $40 - $50K. Just absurd... It would be cheaper to charter a plane and fly across the border to get treatment.

Tipi Walter
04-05-2019, 17:55
Lesson learned is that not all rattlesnakes rattle.

Some rattlers are docile and others are very pissed off. You'll know very quickly which is which.

My weirdest encounter was backpacking on the BMT on State Line Ridge and dumping my pack on the ridge to go on a short water run a hundred feet down the ridge to a spring.

I pulled out my pump filter and my left arm was pumping away as I was crouched down next to this pool---below. I didn't even see Mr Jimmy coiled up nearby until I stood up to put the filter away. That pulled me out of my usual hippie bubble for about a day. I broke my main Mantra of summer hiking---as my eyeballs were half closed and my butt cheeks weren't clenched.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/20-Days-on-Medicare/i-g49K7Cv/0/002f453e/XL/TRIP%20166%20149-XL.jpg

blue indian
04-05-2019, 18:14
I love reptiles and amphibians (herpetology). I especially love anything with venom. Although Uncle Fungus' photos of the hidden pit vipers puts a little hair oh your chest.

I really enjoy your in-situ photos of these snakes. It helps me (and hopefully others) get a better understanding of how these creatures live their lives so we can co-exists

Tipi Walter
04-06-2019, 10:15
I love reptiles and amphibians (herpetology). I especially love anything with venom. Although Uncle Fungus' photos of the hidden pit vipers puts a little hair oh your chest.

I really enjoy your in-situ photos of these snakes. It helps me (and hopefully others) get a better understanding of how these creatures live their lives so we can co-exists

When I was a kid I also wanted to be a herpetologist---cuz I loved reptiles and frogs and turtles and toads. Even snakes.

MIRACLE SNAKE
I have one more snake encounter to share---and I call it The Miracle Snake. I was nearing the end of a 20 day backpacking trip in July 2012 and had a camp set up on Bald River in the wilderness. In the morning I started packing up and decided to go on a short dayhike down the trail to stretch and hang out.

As I was walking away from my camp I expressed a crazy wish: "Please let me see a copperhead before my trip ends." I was thinking this as I was walking and got about 200 yards from camp and stopped at a blowdown log across the trail and just stood there for several minutes looking down the trail.

I turned around to go back to camp and Dangit my miracle copperhead was at my feet behind me and how it got there is a MIRACLE because I just walked where it sat a moment before.

Here's Johnny, my buddy snake---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2012/20-Days-to-Panther-Branch-and/i-jfwGFw9/0/01e0aa69/XL/TRIP%20136%20382-XL.jpg

Better pic---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2012/20-Days-to-Panther-Branch-and/i-Vx8jzHW/0/1cc5fe9d/L/TRIP%20136%20384-L.jpg

TexasBob
04-06-2019, 10:34
[QUOTE=Tipi Walter;2243332
I have one more snake encounter to share---and I call it The Miracle Snake. .........[/QUOTE]

Here is a story you might like. I was camping in a national forest campground in east Texas in the spring prior to starting a backpacking trip the next day. I decided to hit the restroom one last time before hitting the hay and was walking along an asphalt walk way in the dark enjoying the stars. I thought to myself, "I better turn on my flashlight because this warm sidewalk after dark is probably a good place for a snake to hang out." I turned on the flashlight and a big ole copperhead was lying across the trail about 6 feet in front of me. Luckily, both of us went our separate ways without incident. I thought "Man, am I glad I turned on that flashlight when I did".

PennyPincher
04-06-2019, 10:58
snakes scare the crap out of me!

Tipi Walter
04-06-2019, 11:07
Here is a story you might like. I was camping in a national forest campground in east Texas in the spring prior to starting a backpacking trip the next day. I decided to hit the restroom one last time before hitting the hay and was walking along an asphalt walk way in the dark enjoying the stars. I thought to myself, "I better turn on my flashlight because this warm sidewalk after dark is probably a good place for a snake to hang out." I turned on the flashlight and a big ole copperhead was lying across the trail about 6 feet in front of me. Luckily, both of us went our separate ways without incident. I thought "Man, am I glad I turned on that flashlight when I did".

That's a good story. Moral of the story? If you're nighthiking---carry a bright headlamp.


snakes scare the crap out of me!

They put the "wild" in "wilderness". I call pit vipers the Grizzlies of the Southeast Mts---one of the few animals that can actually kill me.

OwenM
04-07-2019, 06:58
Hope she recovers quickly, like they expect.


My "Miracle Snake" was also a copperhead, and it dry bit me.
Yes, you CAN levitate and make forward progress without touching the ground, regardless of what those physical laws say.
About had a freaking heart attack...

TexasBob, I put this in a headlamp thread awhile back. Was in the trail otw to an outhouse at Savage Gulf in TN. Lots of rattlers near there, too. Definitely pro a "real" headlamp vs keychain lights some use. I'd have stepped on this one, too.
45052

RangerZ
04-07-2019, 08:34
I don’t have Tipi’s experience, but I saw this guy on the AT just north of Curley Maple shelter. He was right in the middle of the trail. He gave just a little buzz, not the ominous rattle of the old cowboy movies. I would not have heard him if I had ear buds in.

I gave him Stick to look at on the left side of the trail and scooted around the right side. (Stick did not like that idea.)

45053

Coffee
04-07-2019, 09:38
I had a few encounters with rattlesnakes on the PCT in Southern California. The most memoriable was when I was getting water at a spring and stood up to put my pack back on and noticed a rattlesnake was not three feet away from where I was getting water. It was awake and looking at me but never rattled. Snakes have personalities and a lot of this boils down to luck IMO.

TexasBob
04-07-2019, 10:10
........ It was awake and looking at me but never rattled. Snakes have personalities and a lot of this boils down to luck IMO.

I think you are right. I was hiking the AT just outside Caledonia SP when I look down and a timber rattler was about 8 feet away curled up right on the side of the trail. After I calmed down, I skirted around the snake but I thought "I can't leave him there to bite somebody" so I lobbed small stones near him until he crawled away. Never rattled once even when one stone bounced off him. I guess he was a pretty laid back snake.

MuddyWaters
04-07-2019, 10:20
I think you are right. I was hiking the AT just outside Caledonia SP when I look down and a timber rattler was about 8 feet away curled up right on the side of the trail. After I calmed down, I skirted around the snake but I thought "I can't leave him there to bite somebody" so I lobbed small stones near him until he crawled away. Never rattled once even when one stone bounced off him. I guess he was a pretty laid back snake.
Timber rattlers are known for being very laid back most of time.

Ive had several close encounters with no rattle.

An article appeared a few yrs ago about snakes that rattle getting killed.....so the non rattling ones are more prone to survive

Snakes dont hunt people, or take one on willingly. Nor can they strike from more than half body length away....about 2.5 ' for large snake.

Watch where put hands and feet and they arent a concern.

Tipi Walter
04-07-2019, 11:52
Watch where put hands and feet and they arent a concern.

And that's the whole problem---watch were I put my feet . . . uh . . .cuz I'm backpacking all day and my feet are . . . uh . . . at ground level all day. Which means I'm hiking in a mine field and the extra caution needed on a daily basis is wearing me out. Solution?? Back to my old mantra---Keep My Eyeballs Open . . . etc.

Stepping on a pit viper is not an option. Yellow jackets chase me down on occasion and sting the crap out of me. Pit vipers do not chase me down but one moment of blissful unawareness and I've got a bad story to tell and a $180,000 hospital bill---if I'm lucky and can get out.

Therefore the only option for me is to GO SLOW . . . LOOK WHERE I PUT MY FEET . . . Slow down, stop, reassess, OR GET SNAKE GAITERS IF REALLY PARANOID.

MuddyWaters
04-07-2019, 12:02
Therefore the only option for me is to GO SLOW . . . LOOK WHERE I PUT MY FEET . . . Slow down, stop, reassess, OR GET SNAKE GAITERS IF REALLY PARANOID.

I wouldnt go in woods to bowhunt without snake chaps, but thats traipsing around where often in brush and weeds and cant see feet. Not a problem on most well maintained trails but a few overgrown ones could require caution.

On trail.....dont blindly step over logs that are on ground . Ill run my pole down other side before step over. Or off overhanging rocks.
Look around before sit, etc.

Coffee
04-07-2019, 12:09
I have insurance (ACA) but keep reading about how anti-venom can be horribly expensive if you don't have "good insurance". I'll have to look into this prior to my AZT section in May ... Anyone know if there is reason to believe anti venom isn't covered under the basic benefits of an ACA policy (after deductible)?

Tipi Walter
04-07-2019, 13:18
I wouldnt go in woods to bowhunt without snake chaps, but thats traipsing around where often in brush and weeds and cant see feet. Not a problem on most well maintained trails but a few overgrown ones could require caution.

On trail.....dont blindly step over logs that are on ground . Ill run my pole down other side before step over. Or off overhanging rocks.
Look around before sit, etc.

Most of the trails I backpack here in the Southeast are terribly overgrown and weedy---including our famous Doghobble. The trail is faintly visible but it's mostly a thicket.

One time I sat resting by South Fork Creek on a fallen log and looked underneath and saw Johnny with his head poking out---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2016-Trips-171/19-Days-in-a-Rattlesnake/i-N69rhV2/0/cfea9d66/XL/Trip%20175%20334-XL.jpg