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Re: Snake Bite Kits

Illinois Flatlander writes:

>After 475 miles of AT under my hipbelt, I haven't seen a poisonous snake yet,
>but I know they are there.  So...who am I to talk?  Anyone else have any

Having section hiked the 166 miles from Springer to Fontana, I've encountered
two timber rattlers. One posed no problem.  The other . . . my hiking partner
and I came within inches of stepping on a large one (probably 5-6 feet) north of
Wesser and south of Cheoah Bald.  He was one mad snake and was still rattling
when we left the area 10-15 minutes later.  

An MD friend whose up on wilderness medicine says the most important piece of
equipment you can have in the event of snake bite is the car keys.  However, she
recommends the Sawyer Extractor which can remove a significant amount of venom
if used within a couple of minutes of the bite.  She adds that the old style
kits with the razor blade and suction cups do more damage than good.

I carry the extractor, more for peace of mind after my too-close-for-comfort
encounter, not because I think I'm really going to need it.  

Happy trails,