Rattle Snakes at Yosemite

Sunday 2 am….spring forward; fall back….

This is the time of the year that momma rattlesnakes give birth to a bevy of little guys. The warmer weather spurs them out get out and about. Odds are low that you will see one on your Half Dome hike. Check out this fellow I ran into just feet off the trail at about 6000 feet.  He was movin’ and a goovin’.  Keep this in mind if you need to make your bladder gladder as you do your business 100 feet away from the trail and any water. The highest chance of meeting a snake is while scrambling up wooded talus fields. For example Sierra Point is an old trail that is now closed. But years ago people went up to the left on the Happy Isles – Mist Footbridge. Up to a railing the allowed views of 4 waterfalls. Can you name them? (Read the next blog for the answer.) If ou attempt to get up ther now, because of rockfalls, the trail is a mess and not maintained by the NPS. Stick your hand into rocks is like ringing the dinner bell. You pays your money and takes your chances!

If you hear a rattle and you don’t have a child in your backpack, it’s probably a rattlesnake. Move away. Snake are more afraid of you then you are of them. They can coil up and spring towards you. If you are in their territory and one had a bad night you might be vulnerable. I religiously use hiking poles and the offer a modicum of protection. Long pants can help, but they can inject venom right thru most fabrics.

Usually, if you’re going to find snakes, just after dusk is prime time. Because they’re cold blooded, they like to get out to warm themselves up. About 50% of all fatalities (in the U.S.) from snake bites are from rattlers, so they’re very dangerous when they bite. While adult snakes will bite and release, the baby snakes will continue to much. Maybe they are teething.

What to do if you do get bit?  Seek help NOW – give 9-1-1 a call and get to the Yosemite Medical Center (on the way to the Ahwahnee). While hiking, turn OFF your cell . Otherwise it will go into ROAM mode and suck you battery dry. There is a limited amount of anti-venom.

Besides that – have a nice day.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You can observe a lot by watching “ – Yogi Berra

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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4 Responses to Rattle Snakes at Yosemite

  1. Bryan Hughes says:

    Hi, a couple of corrections, if I may:

    “They can coil up and spring towards you. ”
    – Not much – they don’t exactly leap at you. They can strike about a half to 2/3 of their body length, and that’s it. It’s more of a straightening of the coil than a leap.

    The babies will release just as quickly as the adults. There are a lot of myths and half truths that circulate about how babies are more dangerous than adults, none of which are true. The truth is that adults will inject more venom, and are therefore more dangerous. They’re also larger and have a longer strike range, while a baby is more likely to be crushed unknowingly being stepped on.

    If you have any questions about them, please let me know.

  2. Maureen L says:

    waterfalls from Sierra Point.

    I haven’t been there, but I’m guessing Vernal, Nevada, Illouette (a hard fall to get to see) and Upper Yosemite Fall (can you see the Lower too?)

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