Hell’s Canyon Snakes


I have to say that this is my first time with so many snakes about. I mean rattle snakes, as in poisonous, as in can kill me with their bite. These little fuckers are all over the place! The first one I found by the rest rooms while I had a tour boat on land. My job, as I interpret it, is to keep these folks safe, so I made it point to keep it at bay with noise and racket and such. No harm, just enough upset to keep it away from primary traffic. Scare it away, as it moves pretty slow. Thank God for that. 

The second snake I did not see but I heard was larger than the first. Also by the bathrooms. The third snake was harmless, as in “cannot kill me”. This one was meandering its way over the lawn I so diligently cut and watered. It was going about its way, intent on getting to taller grass. I pointed it out to the visitors as we followed its path across the lush, green grass. No harm, no foul, no poison, no upset, just a little excitement brought on by a new creature. 

This last snake was outside the back area of my living quarters in front of the doorway I wanted to use to put my garbage away. Not! It was a rattler, and fortunately for me, they take a lot to piss them off. This little guy was resting comfortably until I came along. I did not want this snake anywhere near anywhere I may go now or in the future. I managed to scare it into another spot. This spot was behind a wood pile. Out of site is NOT out of mind in this scenario. I would rather know where this little bugger is than not know. I would rather these dudes stay outside than inside. What a nightmare that would be.

This is my fist time living with so may slithering friends. This is my first time living in real rattle snake country. Sparky warned me, told me what to do if I got bit and I have no idea what that is. I have since forgotten whatever first aid he told me or I read or I knew. Honestly, I would be fucked in no uncertain terms if I got bit. I was pleased to see that, despite my upset to the little guy on the back porch, I did not see or hear it rattle. It is pretty small, only about three or four rattles in all, but still….

Every now and again, a boating visitor asks me if I have found a snake out on the dock. Excuse me? On the DOCK??  Amidst the ropes that all look like snakes anyway? What in the name of all that is Holy would a snake be doing out on the dock? I was then informed that they swim out and get under the dock. Apparently, there is some sort of shelf between the wood I walk on and the water below. Then, to warm up, they come out and sun themselves on the dock. Hell to the no on all of that!! Thankfully, I never saw a snake on the dock. Nor did I want to. I mean, even if I was to jump in, was there a snake swimming over to see it’s friend? Is nowhere safe?? Sheesh. 

I feel like I am surrounded by wildlife. There are regular deer and turkeys and I hear coyotes and quail. Then, of course, there are the snakes. This is also a hot spot for fishing sturgeon, which are prehistoric and gross and no thank you to that. I mean, I lived out in the sticks a bit, but not like this. This feels way more like I am on and in their turf. This feels like I am the one who is invading, not the other way around. When I lived out of town we got our fair share of deer and coyote and moose and quail and owls and other birds. We did not get the snakes like this. I am not sure what has changed, but I feel so much more vulnerable here than at my other house. Maybe it is the isolation, maybe it is the rustic nature of this house compared to a new build on a few acres. Perhaps it is the presence of the river and the canyon and the lack of roads and cars. 

The only thing I know for sure is that these snakes scare the living shit out of me each and every time I see one. I am getting accustomed to spider webs and bugs crawling on me and the feeling of something on my skin. Never would have thought that would become my new normal. I am a little overwhelmed by the abundant wildlife that lives here, and yet, this is what I have always thought as my possible future normal. Me, the wilderness, the fruit trees, hills, the body of water and the birds and the animals. Oh, and the snakes. Let us not forget the fucking snakes. Then again, there is the vast expanse of solitude, the wind and the ability to say and be and move how and when and in whatever manner suits me. Total and unabated freedom. Fucking hell, who has that? That is something most folks do not ever experience. Ever. 

Snakes be damned, I’ve got my freedom! 


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