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Snakes on the AT
More precisely, poisonous snakes on the AT. This past year, many
thru-hikers reported rattlesnakes out in March, even though the weather
was sometimes bitter, but on a sunny daym there they were, soaking up the
rays. It seems that the critters will make an appearance anytime after
March 1st (perhaps sooner). As for how late in the year, most
northbounders are into Vermont or above by the time snakes head for winter
quarters, and rarely are poisonous snakes seen on the AT north of the
MA-VT line, although it is possible.
One note about late summer hiking in the South. This year a hiker was
bitten by a copperhead just south of Erwin, TN The snake struck from
beside the Trail (the hiker never saw it before or after the strike). He
thought he had a bee sting and hiked on into Erwin. The next day he was
still having pain and sought treatment at the local emergency room, where
they identified four puncture wounds from a copperhead that struck twice.
Obviously, it was a "dry" strike, or the hiker would never have been able
to hike four miles into town. He suffered only pain for a day or two after
being given antivenom and antibiotics, then headed north to complete his
hike. This is the first verified account of Trailside snakebite that I
have heard in recent years. Any others that you know of?
Hope everyone on the east coast is riding out the storm with no major
problems. We had none of it here in Hot Springs, partly cloudy with
sunshine. Very pleasant here.