Encountering the Unexpected

 One thing that we always consider prior to taking out on a trail here in South Georgia is the possibility that we will encounter a snake along the way.  We had even talked about this possibility while trekking along in North Georgia.  Even so, I narrowly avoided stepping on the head of a three foot long Copperhead while hiking along Hemlock Falls Trail just outside of North Georgia's Moccasin Creek State Park.  Just prior to taking a step down upon his head, I noticed him sprawled out along my path and I was able to twist in a manner that allowed my foot to fall about two feet away from him.  I then instructed my family to back up and give him space.  We were able to pass by with no further incident to continue our trek.  Thankfully, due to the Copperhead's non-aggressive nature, he simply let me be, perhaps he sensed my unwillingness to cause him purposeful harm.

This near misfortune has certainly caused me to think about the ways in which I can sometimes be careless while out on the trail.  And though the results of this encounter turned out fine, I understand that future encounters may not have such a happy ending.

1.  Looking while walking can sometimes be hazardous.  My case is a prime example.  If you must, be sure to stop and take the necessary time to observe, then resume your hike.
2.  Regardless of the length of hike planned, you should always carry a first aid kit.
3.  Know how to treat a snake bit.  I learned that you are supposed to try and stay calm.  Never attempt to suck the venom out.

While there are many other lessons to be learned, I'm curious as to what lessons you have learned?  Any suggestions or comments?

For more on snake bites, please follow this link:  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000031.htm


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