Note:  Further along where I mention the matter of "life and death"  I'll insert a link our friend Dean Michell from the Division of Wildlife Resources sent to give us more information on this important subject of "Rattlesnakes"

In my last post I suggested you get a friend or your kids and go on a hike in the foothills of the Wasatch and observe with awe the evolution of Spring.  Let me add ONE WORD OF CAUTION!
 All of us should remember that with the warming of Spring snakes awaken and come out of their winter hibernation--including RATTLESNAKES.  This is a time when they also begin shedding their old skin and it is a time when they are basically blind, and their rattlers are ineffective.  They are covered by their shedding skin, and are soft and don't produce the usual rattle or buzz.  Yet they know when there is danger and sense the presence of YOU, or ONE OF YOUR KIDS and will blindly strike assuming they are in danger.

It is perhaps rare to have such an encounter, and I haven't experienced it this year, but I did once and have been cautious over all these years.  Let me tell you that story.

It was back in the 80's on May 15th when I decided to climb Little Squaw Peak (north of Squaw Peak and Rock Canyon east of Provo, Utah).  Just as I approached the peak I stepped between two bushes and luckily saw just in time a rattler that awkwardly tried to strike at me--"awkwardly" as his shedding skin slowed him down.  I took another couple of steps towards the peak, covered with leafing out brush and there was another rattler--so I actually can't say I climbed Little Squaw Peak.  I headed down with a lot of care and twice more  jumped just in time, once as a rattler on each side of me tried unsuccessfully to get me.  Enough said that I went down the mountain a lot more carefully than I had gone up, and I've been careful since.  Five rattle snakes in a matter of just a few minutes will have you watch out from then on.  None of them were capable of producing the warning buzz.
Only one other time in our foothills have I encountered a rattle snake and that was on the Y Trail. It was later in the season and he used his rattle.  I actually captured him and had him in a cage for a while, as I had also done when working on a Wildlife Project in the West Utah Desert where many times rattle snakes were encountered.

So be careful, and tell your kids about the danger.  It's not likely kids will pay attention, but it is also a good idea in the Spring to wear long pants, like Levis thick enough to give you some protection.

DON'T LET MY WORD OF CAUTION SCARE YOU INTO STAYING HOME AND WATCHING TV.  JUST BE CAREFUL!  It is also a great idea for you and your kids to learn about rattle snakes, and what to do if you do have an encounter.  Remember Google is a great tool.

Dean Mitchell from the DWR sent the following:
Hi Cordell,
Glad to hear that you're healing nicely and getting in shape for the High Uintas.  I really enjoy reading your posts!
Your last post contained a great reminder for hikers and backpackers about rattlesnakes.  Thanks for reminding people about being aware while enjoying Utah's landscapes.
Here's a link to some information about living with rattlesnakes and other snakes in Utah:
This information, as well as a lot of other information about wildlife awareness and safety, has been compiled by a program called Wild Aware Utah.  Check out the website at:
The website contains information about living with cougars, bears, moose and many other species.  More information is being added regularly.
Hope to see you on the trail this summer!
Dean Mitchell 
Conservation Outreach Section Chief
Inline image 1
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
1594 West North Temple
Suite 2110, Box 146301
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6301
Office: (801) 538-4816
Fax: (801) 538-4709

NOTE:  For the first time in a long time I'm actually jogging every day, then hiking in the afternoons.  THIS IS ALL AN INCREDIBLE MIRACLE FOR WHICH I'M VERY GRATEFUL TO THE DR. AND TO THE LORD!
Another parking spot along the foothills for my tiny "CABIN" with interesting neighbors who must wonder about this eccentric old guy, on this hike heading for Little Rock Canyon and the Crags of the Wasatch.  I won't say much, but just show you some of the beauties I was blessed with seeing.
 ONE SUGGESTION:  Get your kids a little point-and-shoot camera and help them make a collection of the flowers, the rocks and minerals, and more.  When you purposely look for the beauties of nature you will be amazed at how our world is full of wonder and awe and strong testimonies for many of us of our Creator and how He has blessed us.
 I stopped to take  better photos of this shrub.  Note:  I have stopped using my Bose headphones in the outdoors as they block out the sounds of nature.

Meadow Salsify began blossoming just after my last post.  

Now heading up the Little Rock Canyon trail where I got stimmied last Fall.
 Heading for what I have called "The CRAGS OF THE WASATCH"

It's all steeper than these photos show.  The wide-angle lens flattens some the image.

The first SEGO LILY of Spring.  This is the Utah State Flower.

 Game trails crisscrossing everywhere.

 Keep a close eye on this one as it develops into an incredible blossom.

 .....and what grows on them.
The powder blue one is new for us.  What are they?
LICHENS.  Do you remember what two life forms partner up for each other's survival?
It is FUNGUS and ALGAE that have a symbiotic relationship, each helping the other to survive.
Back to the "CABIN" to put on the computer the photrographs, enhance them, discard some, and get them ready to share.  Then compose a newsletter for the Guatemalan Foundation and send via email to our list, and then print for those we don't have emails for and have it ready to send tomorrow.  The Foundation's projects among needy Mayans are managed by native volunteers who do a tremendous amount of good, but need our support.  I have done this volunteer work for 50 years and now do it from my Cabin and from Pulbic Libraries where we get free internet access.  Check it out at:     
A handful of our "High Uintas Friends" make important contributions and repeat them several times each year.
 Parked at Walmarts in Springville, using the Honda generator to run the printer.  Our first electricity on our plantation in a remote area of Guatemala in 1968 was also provided by a small Honda generator.  Looks like we have come FULL CIRCLE!

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