Close encounters in B.C.’s forest recreation sites

Noble Horvath

Article content continued Mid-summer, Colleen and I stayed at a forest rec site on Ashnola River south of Keremeos. Gorgeous sites, well separated and few people.  We spent hours by the river reading. I came back by myself a few weeks later.  Every day I did something different. One day I […]

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Mid-summer, Colleen and I stayed at a forest rec site on Ashnola River south of Keremeos. Gorgeous sites, well separated and few people.  We spent hours by the river reading.

I came back by myself a few weeks later.  Every day I did something different. One day I hiked along the riverside rocks, the next day I drove 37 km very slowly down the logging road to see where it went. It went very rough and one lane in places and finally into a beautiful valley but no lake like I’d been hoping. With absolutely no one around, I’m in doo-doo if I blow a tire or bottom out in a pothole. So, I turned back, never reaching the very end.

The next day the fairly steep mountain across the logging road from the campsite beckoned.  I took all my gear plus a sturdy wooden-hiking pole.

There was a big rock the size of a SUV just up the hill, so decided to hike there to start. While climbing up I suddenly heard a low vibrating hiss.

A road sign near Ashnola warns of snakes. Photo by Photos by Colleen Reichgeld & Neil Kyle

A 5 metres ahead I saw the source –a large rattlesnake curling into its den under a big rock.  I froze. My heart rate went through the roof! I might even have said a few favourite words.  Carefully I backed away.

It still makes the hair on the back of my neck tingle just to think about it. I thought that rattlesnake meant something loud like a baby rattle – NOT.

I continued up the mountain, hiking through patchy grass. Anytime I came around rocks or holes I’d thump my pole on the ground since snakes pick up on the vibrations. In fact, I banged the ground and rocks so hard, so often that my watch strap broke.

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