We arrived in the area of our campsite a lot earlier than usual and expected. We took to killing time by kicking up some sand, and slamming down beers, and favoring shade from the hot desert sun.
While we awaited our 3rd comrade, Craig(Dubby), Max managed to dig his rear tire down into the earth fairly deep. Deep enough that both us couldn’t lift to out. With the help of (mostly)Dubby, we pulled it out and Max decided to take a victory lap as the sun was just about to go down over the horizon. As he rode around back to the campsite, I heard a strange and very particular noise, that was either what we feared or Max’s bike was not in good shape. It was, of course, the sound that has haunted man for centuries. As myself and Dubby look down, and let our eyes adjust to the dusk lighting, about a foot in front of us we spot it. Hissing and ringing out a death rattle that we will never forget. A 2 foot long rattlesnake looking us dead in the eyes, in striking pose, ready to release its deadly venom on anything that comes in its reach. We did what any rightful minded person would do, we ran as fast and as far as we could. As we turn around we realized that it quickly scurried away into the ground under the prickly desert vegetation. Thankfully saving us a trip to the nearest hospital, or worse.
Remembering the sound of its rattle still makes our bones chill and skin crawl, and for the remainder of the night, we were more on edge than ever. The fact that we practically escaped a slow, and tortuous death, is beside me. No sound I’ve ever heard has been so defining. I’ve only heard, and seen stories about hikers and even experts coming across these dangerous creatures and what they are capable of, but they never really do it justice. Nothing can describe the sound of that rattle grabbing a hold of your heart and triggering your brain that death could be very near.
-Sean Reilly | 30on2