Wilder State Park, Wilder Ridge via "Lookout," easy dayhike/horseback ride/bike
I distinctly remember my first encounter with a rattler. I puzzled over the sound of the rattles...and thought I would never hear another school sprinkler without thinking of a rattler as that is precisely what the rattles sounded like. (Say Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch very rapidly.) I also won't forget the look of abject terror in the little guy's eyes as he looked up at me after I threw water on him and came ever so close to stepping on him. We both jumped away from each other, then stopped to look....then both went our own separate ways. I gained a very different perspective that day about snakes. I learned they feared. I learned they really weren't aggressive. I learned you could be safe if you stopped threatening.
I think all these thoughts crossed through my mind in a second on a ride last week when I was trapped on one side of the trail with my friend on the other side of a rattler who had his rattles sticking straight up in the air warning us with all his might that we'd just better not mess with him.
We were just moseying down the trail on this particular day enjoying some sun we hadn't seen much of lately. Suddenly there was a scurrying underneath my friend's horse's legs and a big commotion that took me a second to puzzle out. I saw her look down from her horse just as the rattler stuck his tail in the air and started warning her in no uncertain terms to move on! She did! She kept riding and didn't stop til she was 20 feet or so away....meanwhile, being in the back, I had stopped dead in my tracks a safe distance back on the trail. Discussing what to do, finally our rattling friend solved the issue by lowering his noisy flag and moving off. I practiced a very nice gait transition...a standstill to a fast trot moving past his last resting spot post haste!
We were all none the less for wear including the snake, and oddly enough, neither of our horses could have cared less! So much for all those horses rearing up and stomping on those evil snakes in the movies!:)