Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Running Through Mud, Possums and Copperhead Snakes


I've been remiss in writing about any of our regular group trail runs, of late; (we have 4 or 5 per week).
We had an exciting and fun group trail run, last night. Ten Trail Nerds showed up for our regular Tuesday night jaunt through the woods (after dark). It had rained about 4 inches since last week, so the trails were fairly muddy in some areas. It was warm, and the humidity was at about 80%. The foliage here is now totally fleshed-out, so it's just like we're running through a lush jungle. This jungle will be with us through the Spring & Summer months. Our trail loop has gotten a little longer, because of a local MTB club's trail-building efforts. We run about 5 miles per loop now, instead of 4.6.

On the first loop, I led for about 1/2 of the loop. We wanted to keep a steady and slower pace for some of the newbies that just run one loop. On the second half of the loop we were led by Good Ben. Within about a half-mile of the end of the first loop, we encountered one of nature's most beautiful creatures...a copperhead snake. In fact, one of us may have stepped on it, because it was in the middle of the trail (but we didn't see it at first), and it struck at Greg. It missed biting Greg, but scared the crap out of the last 3 runners in our group. The rest of us went back to check it out. The poor, scared creature moved off-trail and found a nice rock to crawl under and hide. (Not Greg...the snake).

We finished the first 5-mile loop soon after the incident. One of the newbies decided not to run a 2nd loop, (and may never be back again). A couple of others had to leave, also. So six of us stayed to run a 2nd loop. We traditionally run the 2nd loop in reverse direction, so we had to run by the snake area within a half mile of the start of the loop. (We didn't encounter the snake again). We did encounter a lot of deer, a rabbit, and one possum that wouldn't move off-trail, though. The final count: 20 mud-covered legs, no snake bites or any other nastiness' with animals, no ticks, no poison ivy, and no spider webs encountered (yet). I've found one safety tip that applies to living here and running on trails: Don't get in the way of the Food Chain!

Special Note: Copperhead snakes don't normally strike unless stepped upon, (like we did). In the past, we encounter (or jump over) a couple of copperheads per warm season, with no aggressive action taken by the snakes. They aren't as poisonous as rattlesnakes, (which we have plenty of in this area, also), but their bite can make you sick and lead to "complications." That's why running with a group on trails can be much safer than running by yourself.

15 comments:

Donald said...

Copperheads are almost more dangerous because they don't warn you that they are there. Luckily both times I've encountered a rattler on the trail, it made so much noise that I almost had cardiac arrest - but I was able to avoid an attack.

Ben, aka BadBen said...

The rattler's around here (that I've encountered) don't usually make any noise unless I stick around. When trailrunning (as you know), I'm just a transient person running through the snake's habitat. That's why I don't hear a rattle from my brief encounters, I guess.
My point was that the Rattlesnake's bite is more dangerous than the Copperhead's bite.
Either way, I don't want to get bit by either rascal.

D said...

I have yet to see a snake while running - obviously I am not hitting the same trails as you are.....this is a good thing. I love the deer and the other critters....but the snakes....ugh.

Ben, aka BadBen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ben, aka BadBen said...

I actually saw more snakes when I ran on paved trails, in years past. The snakes like the warmth of the pavement around dusk or dawn, (when I was running).

Lora said...

Do you chose who will get to suck the venom before each run? A designated venom sucker????

Love the Trail Porn!! We need more!!!

running42k said...

You are hard core my man. I would have bailed on the first snake encounter. Would have lead to some great speed work though.

Ben aka "Good Ben" said...

We actually saw three snakes on the trails Tues nite. We just kept running after James and I saw the other two. I stepped on a small black snake and the other was green. All were on the trail and were probably pissed off at having been stepped on already!

Ben, aka BadBen said...

It was interesting that Greg, the guy that had the Copperhead strike at him, continued onto a 2nd loop, without any fuss. Now that's hard core!

Tonight, we will attempt to run on the Blue River trails without anyone drowning during the river crossings.

shliknik said...

I've jumped over a few rattlesnakes on that same trail as well. Luckily I've been running during the day lately and saw them shining on the trail. Either way, it makes your heart skip a beat when you run upon them.

D said...

I think you're trying to scare me off from running w/the trail nerds with your stories of snake encounters "shining on the trail" ugh and people throwing beer bottles at you...........

Ben, aka BadBen said...

DGC,
I haven't had a beer bottle thrown at me since I quit running on the streets. Trailrunning may have animal rascals, but you don't have cars or rascally people.
Bad Ben

angie's pink fuzzy said...

sounds fun!!! Johnny and I were out running at dusk at the end of last summer, and I stepped on a rattlesnake, oops. Johnny jumped and screamed and managed to avoid getting bit. I thought, "Man, what a squishy snake!"

Susan said...

OMG- I'm seriously reconsidering my trail runs. I am terribly afraid of snakes. I'm with DGC - no snakes for me.

E-Speed said...

wow, glad no one got bit!