A few days back, I hiked a few hundred yards off trail to answer natures call. I took my toiletries bag and my trekking pole which doubles as my trowel. After four seasons of trail work during my college summers, I have become an expert at finding excellent locations to dig cat holes. After finding my location I started digging my hole, but I was interrupted by the rustling in the bush that was just up hill from my hole. In the spattering of light and shadow I could see the tail of a rattle snake! I took a swift step back and waited as the snake began to slither slowly out of the bush in the opposite direction. After the snake disappeared into the brush I hit the bush with my trekking pole to assure myself that there wasn't as second snake in the bush located no more than three feet from my cat hole. After I took care of business, I headed back to the trail, but I strategically navigated through the brush avoiding any bush large enough to hide a rattler. I imagined I was in the mist of a mine field and I gracefully returned to the familiar trail.
I realize in life I often fear things I don't understand. Living in the mountains of Colorado I rarely interact with the desert and all of the potential hazards of the desert. I dread any time I have to leave the trail because I don't know what I may stubble upon. I'm sure I'll learn to enjoy the harsh desert in the next 600 miles in southern California, and I hope I will become more comfortable in this parched land.