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Scary Trail Tale: Rattlesnakes and Buffalo

Carol Mortier | Oboz Ambassador

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No, That's Not A Twig

Some of the scariest moments for me on the trails have been encounters with those who live there. 

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What lurks beyond the bend?

On a run in the Santa Monica mountains near my home in Venice, California I came across a VERY BIG rattlesnake (10 rattles) coiled up and sunning itself on the singletrack trail I was on. There was no way to get by him and when I threw a rock to coax him off the trail, he didn’t budge. Since the trail hugged a steep hillside, there was nowhere to go but back which meant adding another two miles to my 18-mile run. Better than risking a rattler bite.

Another time, also in the same mountain range but that time on a bike, a rattlesnake I was passing by, what I thought was a wide margin, reared up and almost bite my foot/leg. I’m always looking out for those snakes and never thinking “it’s just a twig”.

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Where The Buffalo Roam

I often visit Catalina Island where Buffalo encounters are common. One evening in the dark on my way back to my evening abode, I didn’t see the Buffalo on the edge of the trail until I was close enough to touch him - only his eyes were visible! I backed off but couldn’t resist taking a photo. 

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Another time on the island at a race, an old Buffalo was standing in the trail and when anyone made a move to pass him he’d charge. One runner did pass and was knocked down, her shorts were torn but she got up and finished the race!

Carol Mortier

NAME: Carol Mortier

HOMETOWN: Venice California

WHERE I’VE BEEN: I love to be active when I travel and just returned from a three-week trip to Nepal. For two weeks I trained nurses at the Transplant Hospital in Bhaktupor (near Kathmandu), and I spent my last week trekking around the Kathmandu Valley. Being 70 and retired I can volunteer my time and knowledge, get to know the local people, and enjoy some extra time in the country I’m visiting. I love to trail run, hike, ski, snow shoe and bike so wherever I am I stay active. At home in California I have twice hiked Mount Whitney in a day, run trail races such as Catalina Island, and skied the Sierras.

WHY I HIKE: I enjoy being out in nature, away from the big city noise and traffic, and can hike in the local mountains that are 30-90 minutes from my home. It’s a great way to see areas that are “off the beaten path.” I like that I can visit a far away place and pack a pair of hiking boots, a few items of clothing and a backpack and explore, minimal equipment required.

LEAD THE WAY: My 2019 plan is to hike coast to coast in England. The hike will cover 193 miles over 16 days with a few days in London at the start.

Instagram: @mortiercarol

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