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  1. #1
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Snake encounters on the Front Range.

    Anybody hear of a rider getting bit by a rattlesnake at the Devils Backbone recently? I don't have the full details but this is what I heard. I heard the hospital bill was upwards of $300K / holy crap I don't know if he had insurance,but if not that could put a crimp in your wallet. I just hope he is physically okay and had insurance.
    UPDATE:Thanks to MtbRN who provided this link to this story 3 days after my initial post. Mountain Biker Tells Of Surviving Rattlesnake Bite - Denver News Story - KMGH Denver
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 06-24-2015 at 10:22 AM.
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    I have not heard about that one, but my friend's daughter was bitten about 3 weeks ago down near the water at Horsetooth Reservoir. She is fine, but he said the anti-venom was not cheap. I never heard a total cost of her hospital visit.

    Our group saw a pretty good-sized one in Lory on the East Valley trail last Wednesday evening. Fortunately the guy in front saw it in time to stop and warn the rest of us so we could get a bunch of photos (and then go around the snake).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rattlesnake bite at the Backbone...-snakehunters.jpg  


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    I was in the blue sky lot yesterday when a guy pulled in to tell us his brother had been bitten the day before. Apparently he was bitten on the fly and didn't realize it until it hurt severely and he turned around to see the snake in the trail. His brother said the rider was okay, but was still in the ICU.

  4. #4
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    I am going back to riding before the 7:00am snake wake up call.

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    Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf@&king snakes on these motherf@&king trails!
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    Yikers!!

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    Think I'll keep riding above 9000 ft until the colder weather comes in. My friend from Texas lost his hand after getting bitten by a rattler. Can't stand the bastuds!

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    Here's a rattlesnake I saw at the top of Tower at HTMP on July 2:



    And if you hang out strictly above 9000 feet, you'll have to deal with what I encountered today at the Montgomery Ditch:



    That's four of the eight moose I saw today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerglen View Post
    Here's a rattlesnake I saw at the top of Tower at HTMP on July

    And if you hang out strictly above 9000 feet, you'll have to deal with what I encountered today at

    That's four of the eight moose I saw today.
    Ha,ha great shot although it's a bit scary having a mother Moose with her calves trotting towards you. Those creatures are bit unpredictable.
    My sister was up in Walden this morning helping with a race. She has a photo of 4 HUGE Bull Moose hanging together. A pretty awesome sight for sure. And I would take those sightings ten fold over a Rattler.
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 08-04-2012 at 10:47 PM.
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    I would much rather encounter a rattler than moose. Moose scare the hell out of me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by literocola View Post
    I would much rather encounter a rattler than moose. Moose scare the hell out of me.
    A Moose isin't too hard to spot compared to a Rattler blending into it's surroundings. It's like stepping on a land mine, by the time you see him it may be too late.
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    I've never had the privilidge of encountering a rattler, which amazes me for how much time I ride and the times I choose to ride. I hear a lot about rattlers here in Pueblo at Red Gate, but never seen one, I have even tried looking for one, just out of curiosity.

    If your hauling arse down the trail, and one is in the way, what do you do? I dont know the right way to handle the situation, and if that situation occurs whats the best action? I would imagine stop and let him do his thing? What if you just hop over him? Bad idea? This is where I feel like a blond, which I am.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by literocola View Post
    I've never had the privilidge of encountering a rattler, which amazes me for how much time I ride and the times I choose to ride. I hear a lot about rattlers here in Pueblo at Red Gate, but never seen one, I have even tried looking for one, just out of curiosity.

    If your hauling arse down the trail, and one is in the way, what do you do? I dont know the right way to handle the situation, and if that situation occurs whats the best action? I would imagine stop and let him do his thing? What if you just hop over him? Bad idea? This is where I feel like a blond, which I am.....
    If you see one they are very easy to avoid. They can only strike half of thier body length which is 2'. Just ride around them or at high speed bunny hop them. It's the ones you don't see that will get ya. When you stop for a break one could be hidden right where you step or sit down.
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 08-04-2012 at 11:39 PM.
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    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by literocola View Post
    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it!
    No problem and seeing how you ride mainly around Pueblo you are garunteed to see one eventually.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    A Moose isin't too hard to spot compared to a Rattler blending into it's surroundings. It's like stepping on a land mine, by the time you see him it may be too late.
    The Moose might decide to chase you down and stomp on you. Rattlers are just trying to get away, unless you do step on/near them.

    I'm way more cautious of a Moose. Huge body, small brains, and they like to be alone, sometimes forcing the point. Albiet my Dad is from Finland so I grew up hearing some crazy moose stories.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokefork View Post
    Think I'll keep riding above 9000 ft until the colder weather comes in. My friend from Texas lost his hand after getting bitten by a rattler. Can't stand the bastuds!
    So rattlers don't hang out above 9000 ft? I'm headed to Breck for vacation tomorrow, so this is good news!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaj View Post
    The Moose might decide to chase you down and stomp on you. Rattlers are just trying to get away, unless you do step on/near them.

    I'm way more cautious of a Moose. Huge body, small brains, and they like to be alone, sometimes forcing the point. Albiet my Dad is from Finland so I grew up hearing some crazy moose stories.
    Totally agree Moose are very unpredictable and dangerous. I was just saying if I had a choice of sightings between a Moose a Rattler the Moose wins hands down. A much more majestic sighting than a Rattler. I've seen many a Rattler in my day but rarely a Moose.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwcet8k View Post
    So rattlers don't hang out above 9000 ft?...
    Back when I moved to the area in '82, Laramie, WY, the conventional wisdom I heard was that there pretty much were no rattlers above about 6,000 feet. That may be true up north of the CO border, but I know better in terms of down here.

    They are pretty common right around Salida, 7,000 feet. I see them on our local trail system up to about 7,500 ft. I once saw one on the way up to the Rainbow Trail, a little over 7,500 on a dirt road that winds along between arid pinon/juniper and irrigated hay fields.

    I can't say I've ever seen one much above 7,500. Buena Vista is super arid, and has the same kind of ecosystem along the river we have. Never heard of one being seen up there. It's right at around 8,000 feet.

    So, yeah, 9,000 is way beyond where they would be seen, unless they hitched a ride on a hay truck or something.
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  20. #20
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    I wouldn't count on a rattler-free high country see:

    Rattlers in the High Country :: SuperTopo Rock Climbing Discussion Topic

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    Maybe today while a shred some of the 2013 Specialized demo bikes!

    Why do I get this feeling I'm gonna be one of the only people there.......
    Last edited by literocola; 08-05-2012 at 05:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwcet8k View Post
    So rattlers don't hang out above 9000 ft? I'm headed to Breck for vacation tomorrow, so this is good news!
    I saw a few at about 8900 feet in Happy Jack a few weeks ago, which is just east of Laramie, WY, sunning on some rocks. I was always told they don't live above 6000 feet as well, but I have countless friends that have had their horses, dogs, etc bite by them above those elevations. I guess it's been a bad year for them up here in Wyoming (guessing Colorado too) since the winter was so mild and dry.

    Personally, I'm scared to death to come across them, but the good thing is that the national anti-venom distribution center is in Denver, so we are "lucky" in the sense that we have pretty quick access to the stuff if needed. It is insanely expensive, as was discussed!

  23. #23
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    Some misconceptions on Rattlesnake behavior in this thread. They are commonly seen above 9000 feet elevation.
    Also during hot summer months they are more active hunting at night. So don't think an early morning ride you are safe from any encounters. In fact I failed to mention in my initial post that this bite happened on a night ride.
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    VICTORY!!!!!

    Got to see one at Red Gate today! You wernt joking about land mines, my buddy passed him and didnt see him, I was like- Rattler right there! We were on foot too, walking up the trail.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    Some misconceptions on Rattlesnake behavior in this thread. They are commonly seen above 9000 feet elevation.
    Also during hot summer months they are more active hunting at night. So don't think an early morning ride you are safe from any encounters. In fact I failed to mention in my initial post that this bite happened on a night ride.
    Rattlesnakes (DesertUSA)
    The night rides I do usually occur shortly after dusk when the temps are still pretty warm, so I could understand snake events on a night ride. I choose early morning rides for the cool temps and thought rattlers were less active in those cooler (60's) temps.

    On the other hand, I do worry about mountain lion encounters during the same early morning hours. I guess you can't avoid all dangers, so you choose the lesser of the evils.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwcet8k View Post
    So rattlers don't hang out above 9000 ft? I'm headed to Breck for vacation tomorrow, so this is good news!
    I've lived in Breckenridge for almost 30 years and have never seen a snake, let alone a rattlesnake in the area. Maybe down in Silverthorne or the lower Blue, but not here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by literocola View Post
    VICTORY!!!!!

    Got to see one at Red Gate today! You wernt joking about land mines, my buddy passed him and didnt see him, I was like- Rattler right there! We were on foot too, walking up the trail.
    Congrats and great shot! Beautiful and amazing creatures.

  28. #28
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    Saw four moose on Georgia Pass rd tonight. My wife was learning to dirt bike and I was following her in the truck. We came around a corner and there was a bull in the middle of the road. Apparently they are not afraid of petite ladies revving a little 4 stroke. He made eye contact and gave her the 'seriously?' look.

    I pulled ahead and he moved off the road, so we used the truck as a shield just in case.

    We've seen a few in the distance before, but they are HUGE up close. It would be very intimidating to meet one on the MTB.

    I've had close encounters with rattlers (may have been bull snakes though) at centennial cone, white ranch and hewletts gulch . Feeling good that my new sidi's come up to my knees and the new bike can outrun anything with legs.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    I am going back to riding before the 7:00am snake wake up call.
    The best time to ride a mountain bicycle between May-October!
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    I've lived in Breckenridge for almost 30 years and have never seen a snake, let alone a rattlesnake in the area. Maybe down in Silverthorne or the lower Blue, but not here.
    I was up just outside Estes Park a few weekends ago camping and overheard a couple of park rangers saying there are no Rattlesnakes (or snakes for that matter with exception of Garter snakes) up there even at 7,500 feet. The low pressure of oxygen is believed to affect egg embryos from developing once you get above 7000 feet or so apparently.

    I've found two dead snakes on my property in the last 48 hours down here in Fort Collins. Lots dead on the road as well this year. The high heat in June sure seems to have hatched every single egg this year I bet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Back when I moved to the area in '82, Laramie, WY, the conventional wisdom I heard was that there pretty much were no rattlers above about 6,000 feet.
    When I lived in Laramie I was told the same thing! Probably sheer luck that I didn't get bit, since I was a pretty avid hiker at that time. Never saw a rattler that I know of, so maybe they are just "uncommon" at those altitudes. Good thing, as we all had a false sense of security.
    Probably the same "conventional wisdom" that used to say coyotes never hunt in packs.
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    Would not be a bad idea to have a wise trail etiquette doggy on the trail to lead the way. That way you can be warned ahead of the trail.

    Just make sure the dog is faster than you.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbRN View Post
    When I lived in Laramie I was told the same thing! Probably sheer luck that I didn't get bit, since I was a pretty avid hiker at that time. Never saw a rattler that I know of, so maybe they are just "uncommon" at those altitudes. Good thing, as we all had a false sense of security.
    Probably the same "conventional wisdom" that used to say coyotes never hunt in packs.
    Laramie is really kind of its own thing. It's a really harsh cold place. Even though it's about 7,000, it's just gnarly with short summers. Even if rattlesnakes can live there, they aren't going to thrive.

    I remember talking to people when I visited Northern Wyo where my ex wife is from. Tell them you were from Laramie and they'd say, "Dang it's cold down there!" Sheridan/Buffalo wasn't exactly a warm place, but Laramie was a special gnarly micro-climate.

    I hear people in this thread saying rattlers can be found lots higher than 7,500. I don't know enough to say anybody is wrong about that, but it does make sense that elevation is not the only determinant of climate. Where it's cold and the summers are short, they aren't likely to thrive.

    I worked for the Molecular Biology department at CSU for a while in the mid-90s when I was in grad school. There was a lab the floor below my office where they kept poisonous snakes and harvested venom to make anti-venom. I think I remember hearing that the only way to make anti-venom was with real snake venom. Can't be synthesized. Pretty expensive, having to feed and care for captive snakes so that you can harvest a few ccs of venom every month or so...
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    I ran over one of these King Snakes while walking my bike on Marshall Mesa during a night ride. I was trying to shoo a coyote off the trail and rolled my bike tire right over his tail. He was completely laid out, chilling right in the middle of Community Ditch trail. He wasn't happy and snapped at me. Not venomous, but didn't know it at the time, so booked it. Rare to see one of these in Colorado.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MtbRN View Post
    When I lived in Laramie I was told the same thing! Probably sheer luck that I didn't get bit, since I was a pretty avid hiker at that time. Never saw a rattler that I know of, so maybe they are just "uncommon" at those altitudes. Good thing, as we all had a false sense of security.
    Probably the same "conventional wisdom" that used to say coyotes never hunt in packs.
    Having grown up in Laramie/Centennial, I've never seen a rattlesnake until a few weeks ago up in some rocks in Happy Jack. I really think this year has to do with having a very "short" winter and stupidly hot (for Laramie) spring/summer. Now in Cheyenne, they're a lot more common, and of course that is a lot lower in elevation as well.

    I definitely agree with the false sense of security thing, though! I never thought they lived up here...

  36. #36
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    His name is Rattles.

    My wife rode right past him, nearly ran him over. I didn't see him until I was next to him. I stopped to take a picture. By that point he was fed up with our shenanigans.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rattlesnake bite at the Backbone...-8-6-2012-4-07-57-pm.jpg  


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    I live at 7400 ft (west of Monument) and see rattlesnakes on a fairly regular basis. My dog has been bitten twice and the treatment is not cheap (even with my wife being a vet). The snakes didn't scare me too much until I had kids. Now, I'm constantly worried one of them will be bitten when playing outside.

    BTW, I live right next to the Monument Preserve, so keep that in mind when riding the trails there :-)
    (although, I have to admit that I've never seen a rattler on the trails, just at my house and on the roads).

    Here are a couple shots from my house...


    DSCF4167.JPG by bbaker22, on Flickr


    Rattlesnake by bbaker22, on Flickr
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    [QUOTE=BaeckerX1;9567833]I ran over one of these King Snakes while walking my bike on Marshall Mesa during a night ride. I was trying to shoo a coyote off the trail and rolled my bike tire right over his tail. He was completely laid out, chilling right in the middle of Community Ditch trail. He wasn't happy and snapped at me. Not venomous, but didn't know it at the time, so booked it. Rare to see one of these in Colorado.




    Great photo and yes that is a California King snake. I used to see them all the time in the mountains east of San Diego. I was surprised when you posted this as seen in Colorado. So I googled it only to find they are rarely found in South West Colorado. You saw it in Marshall Mesa in Boulder correct? You should let Fish and Game know where it was sighted. They study all critters and thier movements.
    Are king snakes found in Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooshee View Post
    Having grown up in Laramie/Centennial, I've never seen a rattlesnake until a few weeks ago up in some rocks in Happy Jack. I really think this year has to do with having a very "short" winter and stupidly hot (for Laramie) spring/summer.
    If you don't mind, we'll keep sending them up from Fort Collins.

    Pretty sure EVERY egg hatched and the next several years will be rattlesnake plentiful.

    Ironically there are a lot of bunnies this year and the Coyote population seems to be thriving as well. Go figure. Love mother nature.
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    [QUOTE=baker;9568495]I live at 7400 ft (west of Monument) and see rattlesnakes on a fairly regular basis. My dog has been bitten twice and the treatment is not cheap (even with my wife being a vet). The snakes didn't scare me too much until I had kids. Now, I'm constantly worried one of them will be bitten when playing outside.

    BTW, I live right next to the Monument Preserve, so keep that in mind when riding the trails there :-)
    (although, I have to admit that I've never seen a rattler on
    [url=htt


    Proof positive of high altitude sightings.
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    I've seen rattlesnakes at Coyote Ridge, Indian Summer, Maxwell and Devils Backbone. The largest was at Indian summer. The most aggressive rattlesnake I've ever encountered was at Devil's backbone right before what use to be known as heart attack hill. I've never seen any rattlesnakes at Ginny Trail/Bobcat Ridge and I probably ride there more than the others. I also haven't seen any this summer so far.. and hopefully I won't.

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    My wife and I saw a rattlesnake sprawled across the entire trail sunning itself in late June this year right at the upper White Ranch parking lot. We were headed out for a hike with our daughter, I saw the snake probably about ten feet away and stopped my wife who thought it was just a stick. This was pretty early at around 7:00 am so it was probably still lethargic.
    According to the net that lot is at 7,650', so they certainly range to that elevation.

    I was high alert for that entire hike and spent those two hours actively scanning the trail and trail side. I was exhausted afterward.

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    Am I safe riding 14'ers, or has anyone seen them up that high?

  44. #44
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    I think you might need to head to the Himalaya.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    Great photo and yes that is a California King snake. I used to see them all the time in the mountains east of San Diego. I was surprised when you posted this as seen in Colorado. So I googled it only to find they are rarely found in South West Colorado. You saw it in Marshall Mesa in Boulder correct? You should let Fish and Game know where it was sighted. They study all critters and thier movements.
    Are king snakes found in Colorado
    Thanks, but not my photo, just got that on a Google image search when I was trying to find out what type of snake it was. It looked just like that. I'd never seen any like it before here in CO so I was really curious. It could have escaped from a snake owner too I imagine.
    Gotta get up to get down.
    LMB

  46. #46
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    Speaking of other snakes, I saw one of these guys a couple years back on a trail in Superior

    Milk Snake



    Scared the crap out of me as it slithered right across the trail as I was climbing up. Nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get when a see a snake moving.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crit Rat View Post
    Milk Snake
    I saw one of those on Coyote Ridge a couple of years back and was really surprised, thinking it was a coral snake and that those are not supposed to be around here. Had to Google it when I got home and found it was not a coral snake.

  48. #48
    Team Velveeta™
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    I saw one of those on Coyote Ridge a couple of years back and was really surprised, thinking it was a coral snake and that those are not supposed to be around here. Had to Google it when I got home and found it was not a coral snake.
    I believe the saying for telling a coral snake from a milk snake is

    Red touch yellow, kill a fellow
    Red touch black, fellow should smoke a hit of crack.


    Could come in handy if you're out in the desert southwest. But the crack could be hard to find out there.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  49. #49
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    I also saw the same snake on Coyote a few years back (along the first ridge). I was surprised since I also thought it was a corral snake but I never found out (until now) that it is a milk snake. Didn't think those type of snakes were around here.

  50. #50
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    note to self:

    Only thing at HTMP are mtn lions and rattlesnakes...
    -Santa Cruz TBLTc
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down... all for the sake of a race on the internet.

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