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Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

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Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:16 pm

I've heard about the rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley. Does anyone actually know of anyone who has been bite by a rattlesnake there?



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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby maverick » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:18 pm

I have seen them there, and have read about close encounters, but no actual bits.
Maybe one of our rangers here might be able to chime in on actual reports about
any rattler/human interactions, that may have needed SAR to get involved.
Sent you a PM.
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:33 pm

I look forward to hearing from people who know.
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby BrianF » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:47 am

The one time I was Tehipite Valley, there were quite a few, but they were all polite encounters. Here in the chapparral country I see several rattlesnakes a year along the trails and have had encounters that were too close for comfort, but there are very few bites that you hear about, way less than one a year, and most of those are ranch workers or idiots who pick one up. In my years on SAR we never heard of one bite on the trails. Later I did come across a group with a child who had been bitten on the hand trying to pick one up.
That is not to say they are not a hazard, but they are not aggressive and will give you a wide berth if you give them the chance. Keep your eyes open and pay particular attention to brush adjacent to the trail and under rocks.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby oldranger » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:01 am

Back in the 80's an NPS horse got bit by a rattler in Tehipite. Don't remember the outcome. Lucky to remember the event! I kind of view rattlesnakes like black bears--I feel fortunate when I get to see one. But honestly since I have had only 2 encounters with rattlesnakes and can't count the number of encounters with bears, I feel much more comfortable around bears.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:14 am

I have seen rattlesnakes all over California. You will sometimes even find them above 10,000 feet. Most of them seem to go low, however, and the biggest concentrations seem to be places like Hetch Hetchy, Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, or any low river canyon. There's an annual spring event in San Joaquin River Gorge where they go out on the trails and catch as many as they can.... I don't doubt there are lots in Tehipite, folks I know who have gone report similar numbers to what I've seen in Hetch Hetchy (one guy counted 14 just going down the last switchbacks near the bottom of Tehipite) but I personally have no problem with that - never been bitten, and I've lived/played in foothills all my life. My first rattler was at the bottom of my slide in the back yard, as I was coming down - age 9, happily playing, with my baby brother and our little Pekinese not 15 feet away. I jumped off the slide before reaching the bottom and ran for mom. She killed it and draped it over the fence. We saw 3-5 footers around the property for years and we kids knew what to do - don't touch, don't go close. Give the snake room to escape.

Recently read Death in Yosemite. I think there was one snakebite incident, no fatalities. And there have been a LOT of deaths in the park.

There are eight species in California - only ones I've ever seen are the Mojave green and the Northern Pacific.

And that would be the sum of my experience with rattlers... :)
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby richlong8 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:59 am

Phil Arnot has a great chapter in his book, "High Sierra, John Muir's Range of Light", about Tehipite Valley, and writes about the abundant rattlesnakes present there. I have not been there, but I would like to, and there is no reason to think his account is not accurate. I have been in some other wild, trailless river areas of California, and I have seen and heard some rattlesnakes,especially in the 4000-7000' elevations.When I am fishing, I try to be really careful. It is easy to get focused on fishing, busting through brush,tired, and stumble upon a snake, and the snakes don't always give you a warning rattle. Some of the best fishing, and true wilderness is where only "fools" dare to tread! There are probably some areas that Snake gaiters are worth carrying and wearing. I have never been bit, but I have had a couple of close calls.
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby lambertiana » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:01 pm

Although I encounter rattlesnakes regularly in the lower and middle elevations, the one time I was in Tehipite I did not see a single one.

After all the reports of bears and rattlesnakes there, I was expecting some encounters, but none (bear or rattlesnake) obliged. I did see bear scat all over the place, though.

Maybe George will have some better rattlesnake info. It seems that the vast majority of snakebites in this country are the result of young foolish males doing stupid things, often with alcoholic encouragement.
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:06 pm

Been to Tehipite twice, never seen a rattler there...but by all accounts my experience is unusual. Had quite a few rattlesnake encounters elsewhere; oddly enough, my closest encounter was at a campsite in the sprawling megalopolis of Little Yosemite:

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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:05 pm

I never went to Tehipite because of it's snake rep. I BP'd and fished below 6000 feet on the Kern River at least 35 days of my life and never once saw one and I've seen lots of rattlesnakes in the Sierra.
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby gcj » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:55 pm

Hi
On trips from the mid-seventies through the eighties I encountered approx 1 per year. My record for a single trip was 4 encounters. (It did make up for a couple of dry years.) That trip was up the trail from Road's End through Paradise Valley and Woods Creek. Two were below Mist Falls and two were near Woods Creek. I was a little surprised to see so many along such a popular trail. Especially since I have been up the notorious Middle Fork Canyon from Tehipite to beyond Simpson Mdws and didn't see a single one. During that Middle Fork trip, there had been some unseasonably heavy storms that caused the river to flood much of the trail forcing me to travel a significant distance X-country with much bush-whacking and boulder hopping. I expected to see a snake at any moment, but didn't see a single one! I did see one on a subsequent trip down Goddard Creek just before the final drop to the Simpson Mdw area. I guess my experience has been that if I'm expecting to encounter them, I usually don't. However, if I let my guard down and don't really expect to see any, well, I have had more than a few surprises. I love snakes, though, and if you give them enough space, they will nearly always back off.
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Re: Rattlesnakes in Tehipite Valley

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:00 pm

I had similar experiences with the Roads End, PV, WC area. That trail is where I saw several snakes on several trips.
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