Encounters While Trail Running

It was another fun filled weekend for me: BBQs, hiking, farmer’s market, and trail running. There’s much to talk about, but I’ll start with the trail run.

I had a long run of 8 miles on the calendar for the weekend. After a busy Saturday and a lazy Sunday morning, I headed to my favorite flat running trail around noon on Sunday. About half a mile into my run, I heard what sounded like a loud rattle on my left. I looked down and saw a pissed off rattlesnake just two steps away. Luckily I reacted quickly enough to stop and take a few steps back. This guy was coiled up, and I’m pretty sure when I first saw him, he was bearing his fangs at me (If you can trust the memory of one very startled trail runner). I have heard many stories of rattlesnakes on the Utah trails, but had never seen one myself, so I watched this guy for a while. He had the typical diamondback pattern, and he kept rattling at me while I kept my distance. I didn’t get a picture of him, but he looked like this:

adamanteus (1)


My initial reaction was to watch him and wait for him to get off the trail, I still had 7.5 miles of running left, after all. He moved away slowly, but then started making his way up the trail instead of away from it. A few people came by, and I warned them about the rattlesnake. They made their way carefully around him as he rattled at them. I thought about doing the same, but then it crossed my mind that if it’s a good time of day for one rattlesnake to be out, then it’s probably a good time of day for other rattlesnakes to be out. I decided then and there that my run was done. As I started to run back, I couldn’t stop thinking about snakes on the trail and my almost running into them, so I slowed to a walk and carefully made my way back to my car.

So, no long run for me this past weekend. The logistics of driving to a different place to run, getting my errands done, and getting home in time to host a BBQ made things too tight on time. I figure my hip could still be eased into longer and more frequent running, so I was mostly okay with the change of plans. If you’re curious, as I most definitely was, here’s what you’re supposed to do if you get bit by a rattlesnake.

The rest of the weekend was less dramatic. On Saturday Troy and I went on a short hike to Summit Park Peak. Yep, my neighborhood has its own peak! Here are some snapshots from the hike:

Our adventure dog, Rafa
Our adventure dog, Rafa
On the trail to the summit.
On the trail to the summit.
Rock chairs at the summit, can't beat this view!
Rock chairs at the summit, can’t beat this view!

I rounded out the rest of the weekend with a visit to the first Farmer’s Market of the year, and two BBQs. It was a Summer weekend well spent. Then today there was this:


I call this Winter’s last (hopefully) gasp. This high today at my house was 45F, the high on Friday will be 76F. This is just typical crazy Utah weather!


10 thoughts on “Encounters While Trail Running

  1. That’s so scary! Good reason to never run with music… Wow. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m jealous of your 45 degrees, so humid and gross out and now I kind of miss the endless winter we had.

  2. Thank goodness you are ok! I don’t do snakes. I’ve had too many near close encounters (and we”ve had some dogs get bitten), so i don’t play. I’m glad that you were able to get some other trails in, though!

  3. That is some seriously crazy weather!
    I am SO glad you called off your run. I would have done the exact same thing. Where there was one there could have been many more over that distance you had to travel so better safe than sorry. I’m not generally afraid of snakes, but I certainly wouldn’t mess with a rattlesnake! Good on you for warning those other people too. 🙂

  4. That is so scary! I just can’t deal with snakes – and think now it’s just a matter of time before I come across one on the trails. I would also have noped right out of there and called it a day.

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