Rattlesnake Bite & Wilderness Rescue

So here’s a quick story… my friend Julie and I were hiking to a peak we’d both seen off the highway and wanted to hike. To us, it had no name and possibly no man had ever peaked it. We found the “trailhead” which lead to a single track trail which eventually led us away from the mountain we sought to climb – it was then we decided to venture into the bush where we spent 2 hours crawling and walking through what was at times – head high chaparral. Image

We kept the spirits high and would rest when we reached boulders that took us out of the bushy bush. We were very pleased when we finally reached the rocky peak. We spent some time up there discussing our route down the mountain while having lunch. Image

When we headed down, the vegetation was a lot denser than we both expected. In the beginning of our descent I spotted a baby rattlesnake sunning in a coiled position on a rock, we carefully made our way around the little guy. We hiked through the rocks as long as we could until we reached a point where there was no way to get down but through the bush, where we moaned and yelled to release the tension and to make each other laugh. At one point, it was no longer funny when I felt the two sharp fangs of a snake enter my ankle. I screamed to Julie and ran from that location. I turned back around to look and see if I could identify the snake that bit me to be sure if it was a rattler or not, though deep down I knew it was, the snake was gone. There was a short time of panic between both of us when I addressed it immediately saying that we just had to get back and we couldn’t panic in a situation like this. So we started hiking, Julie taking the lead so that I could follow without too much more work than necessary. I was in a lot of pain, trying to keep the weight off of my swelling foot and ankle. After a little while Julie screamed and I looked ahead of her to find a racer snake eating a rattlesnake (pretty cool) and only a few minutes after that saw a very long racer snake in the trees we had to go through, so I poked at it with my stick – it darted away like lightening! I started thinking about Brian and my family. I wondered if this would kill me or leave me without a leg in the end. I had no idea, but I prayed that the snake was just a garter or something harmless, though I knew it wasn’t due to how much pain I was experiencing….. We walked like this for about 45 minutes until we came to a point where we expected to find the trail and did not, we walked to a vantage point where we could reset our navigation plans and it was that point I sat down and called 911 because I couldn’t go any further. I got to use my whistle for the first time, while Julie climbed higher and yelled at a place where she would be visible to the people coming to find us on foot. I stayed on the phone with the dispatcher for about an hour until I heard the voice of the fireman who had heard my whistle and used the GPS coordinates that I provided the dispatcher over the phone to find us. They checked me out to see if I was okay and soon the helicopter came and lowered another man down, who also checked my vitals and marked where my swelling was when he found me. He put a big harness on me and hooked me to him saying he was going to give me a big bear hug and it was going to be a fun ride. I watched my friend Julie as I was lifted into the sky, at this point I was very thrilled to be rescued via helicopter. I got inside where a woman grabbed me around the waist and held onto me until we landed at Pine Valley park where there was a bunch of kids watching as they transferred me into another helicopter. The 2nd helicopter flew me to Grossmont Hospital where I was given antivenin and lots of pain meds. The hospital experience was interesting but pretty damn crappy so I’ll leave that outta the story. I was interviewed there by 10News and on the 11 o’clock news that evening. Pretty cool!ImageImage

Here are some progress photo’s from hospital to couch to yoga mat, with a cool scar 🙂