I had read that the Owyhees was rattlesnake country. One of the hunters I talked with didn’t bring his hunting dog with him because of the snakes. Another group had all their dogs given the rattlesnake vaccine. I took this chatter as a serious warning. Rocket would have to stay on a leash.
On our walk up Juniper Gulch we fortunately saw no snakes. The next day I walked up the Sage Creek track.
I thought of how much I enjoyed the outdoors. How did we every come to accept that working in a climate control high-rise building was ok? The first couple of years that I worked in a high-rise, each morning as I stood in the lobby waiting for an elevator I had a sense that things were wrong. Unsettled. A bit off kilter. I mentioned my thoughts once to a fellow worker and got a look that expressed that they had no concept what I was talking about and my thoughts were bizarre. I never mention my thoughts again to anyone else.
Such were my rambling thoughts as I wandered along until… I almost stepped on a snake. Yikes. A big brownish snake in the middle of the track. It didn’t rattle or move much since it was a brisk day but that didn’t stop it from scaring me. I didn’t stop to look at it and kept moving away. From then on I kept my eyes searching the track for snakes. And somehow I missed seeing another snake. I only saw it after my dog turned around pulling on the leash to go back. This one I stopped to take a photo of. It was a small snake and didn’t rattle but back at the campground it was identified as a rattler.
- Sage Creek is a hike about 4 miles north of the Succor Creek campground on the west side of the road (by the lone cottonwood tree). I walked the track (the track is driveable in a truck) to the end. The rest of the trail is a scramble up the canyon. With a dog on a leash it didn’t look like my kind of hike. We turned around.
- I found the Sage Creek hike in the book The Owyhee Canyonlands, An Outdoor Adventure by Steve Stuebner/ Mark Lisk. It is the only book I know of that covers the Owyhees.