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UK_Ian
2008-02-29, 07:36
Having only one snake in the UK to avoid what dangerous creatures (except Bears) am I likely to bump into on the John Muir Trail? :afraid:

Do I need to carry anit-venom :nurse: or a rusty swiss army knife to amputate?:stickyman

Thudley
2008-02-29, 12:38
Western rattlesnakes are present in the Sierras, but the JM trail is wide enough, or high enough in most places that snakes are generally not a problem.

That said, I carry this all the time: http://www.wisementrading.com/firstaid/snake_bite.htm

Much better than a rusty Swiss Army knife :biggrin:

At the lower altitudes, black widow spiders can be a nusiance in hot weather. Just keep on the lookout when you make camp not to set up right in a web.

Onkel Bob
2008-02-29, 18:38
Those are the three species I've encountered in the Sierra Nevada and adjacent areas. However, I've always encountered them below 8000'. The one spot where you might see one on your itinerary is at the confluence of Palisade Creek and Middle Fork Kings River. I never saw them there but I have seen them on the other side of Palisade Creek. (Simpson Meadow) I've camped at the confluence 4 times, it's a good site. I've hiked the JMT (N>S) 3 times and saw a rattlesnake on the trail once, by Mono Creek. I've seen rattlers maybe 5-6 times on the other 30 or so other trips I've hiked in the Sierra. Now if you were going to Zion or Grand Canyon NP, I'd almost guarantee you would see one.
Nevertheless, you need to be stupid beyond stupid to get hit by a rattlesnake. Most people in the US that are bit are sticking their hands into places where rattlers hide; e.g., wood piles, stone crevices, and other dark places. Every time I saw a rattler on the trail it made enough noise to warn me so I either gave it a wide berth waited for it to move on. You recognize the sound if / when you hear it, high pitched buzz. Although they are active at night, temperatures need to be above 15 C, and you'll be lucky if it reaches that high.
You want to know what you really need to watch out for (other than Ursus Americanus) those g*dd*mnn*d marmots! Little bastards are bold beyond belief. You'll take off the pack, lean it up against a tree or rock and go off to get water or just to take a break. Next thing you know one of them is gnawing on your pack, hip belt, or even your boots. They are salt starved so they will chew on anything soaked in sweat. I leaned my hiking staff against a tree and one of the buggers chewed the handle. I know of hikers who sat down with their pack still on their back and had a marmot start chewing on it.
Also, hang you boots - packs - clothes off the ground at night. Mice and wood rats will also chew on your salt soaked goods. Marmots are diurnal, other rodents are nocturnal. Bears are active day and night.

Thudley
2008-02-29, 19:45
LMAO> Oncle Bob got it right!

I forgot to mention those little buggers. It's true...they are bold as brass and will walk right up and forage through your pack until they find something to eat. If you take a whack at them, or throw something at them, they just give you a look of total disdain (Hey, Mack...I'm eatin' here!").

I finally took to leaving some trail mix in a plastic bag in an open pocket for easy access. Kinda like paying the toll.

Amigi
2008-02-29, 19:57
Just look over the log before stepping and you'll never have an issue. There are no aggressive snakes at all where you are going. Have British spirit wanker! Lol. NO worries seriously. Please keep us informed of this trip. I for one, check for your messages every time I log on Ian. Good luck, amigo.

Geo.
2008-03-01, 16:29
Good advice there.
I didn't spot any snakes above 7000ft in the Sierra Nevada. Just look where you're putting your bits, and rattlers will give you a fair warning anyhow.
Say hullo to the marmots for me - keep an eye out for the bugger that's wearing gloves. They're mine.

UK_Ian
2008-03-02, 14:42
So all I have to worry about is Glove wearing Marmots! Rattlesnakes hiding behind logs and bears looking for someone to cuddle up with for the winter.

Now I know why some of you want to carry guns.

I've been told if I attach a muggers alarm cord to my bag it will scare off the Marmots or Bears. Is this true?

dropkick
2008-03-03, 01:49
So all I have to worry about is Glove wearing Marmots! Rattlesnakes hiding behind logs and bears looking for someone to cuddle up with for the winter.

Now I know why some of you want to carry guns.

I've been told if I attach a muggers alarm cord to my bag it will scare off the Marmots or Bears. Is this true?
It would probably scare off a marmot, bears are a different story.
Bears are like dogs, what scares one makes another attack.
The majority of bears would run away or at least back away from it for awhile.

Best idea is to put anything that might attract bears - antiperspirant, toothpaste, liquor, candy, old food wrappers, etc in a bear can and tie it to a tree away from your camp.

Or you could put it in a bear bag (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/bear_bag_hanging_technique.html) .
But as you'll already have the cans and they'll be easier to use.....

One hint: if you tie your cans out, tie them well. The can's not going to do you much good if a bear carries it away.