Thursday, June 10, 2010
Snakes On A Trail
Besides being a Jedi Knight, Samuel L Jackson has something else on me. There is no way that if I was on a plane full of snakes I would have the courage (under extreme duress) to yell "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherf**king snakes on this motherf**king plane!" Me? I'd be hiding in the galley, curled up in the fetal position and drooling.
I'm deathly afraid of snakes. So having the displeasure of running into 3 of them in the last month while running in Bolsa Chica has been quite the bum out.
Snake sighting 1 was about a month ago. I was running along the trail, came around a little bend, and there it was. The snake was slithering off the trail, no doubt due to my foot falls. But it wasn't moving fast enough. If I didn't know any better I would swear it was defying me and daring me to take a step closer. I couldn't of course, because I was standing ramrod straight frozen in fear. I'm pretty sure this one was a gopher snake. But a snake is a snake. I was not stoked.
Snake sighting 2 happened about 2 weeks ago while crossing a drainage culvert. It was coiled up about 15 feet to my right warming itself on the concrete. I have no doubt this was a rattle snake. Again I was freaked out but kept running - much faster. And every stick I encountered for the rest of my run was a potential threat.
Snake sighting 3, which was last Sunday, was perhaps the worst. I was just about to turn off the trail and back onto a street. So my guard was down. I didn't see it until it was shooting off into the brush. I only saw it for a second, so I don't have any idea what kind it was. But just a glimpse of the snake was all it took for me to do the "stupid dance" for at least a minute. If you saw my heart rate data from that day, you'd see exactly where I saw it - at 4.6 miles.
You'll note that I've deemed certain places as "forbidden zones" and "areas of a high level of acceptable wildlife". The forbidden zones I will not even enter - because I've heard stories. The areas of a high level of acceptable wildlife are fine. But in the end, so what? Does a high population of rabbits and other rodents keep the snakes away? I doubt it. It's probably worse.
There is plenty of trail currently rated "safe" left, at least for now. But unfortunately they are covered in gravel. I've been trying to use the trail runs to work into my Vibram 5 Fingers. But running on the gravel hurts - a lot.
So either I have to get over the fear or hang up the trails until winter. Neither option is appealing - how would one go about "getting over" a fear of snakes, anyway? I have no idea. But I doubt you just hit a switch. And staying away until winter? Nah, I'd rather not. Dilemma.
Tonight was the weekly swim down at Corona Del Mar. Everything was going great until somebody saw a huge jelly fish. There is only one thing worse than jelly fish - snakes.