Asheviller: Ron and Valerie Move to Asheville…

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Sep '11


We decided to hike today because Friday is supposed to be rainy. That means we were on our own with no ranger to guide us….ooohhh. I decided to head north to the Laurel River trail near Hot Springs, NC, about 45 minutes from Asheville. It’s a relatively flat seven mile out-and-back hike along the Laurel River. Two great things about hiking along a river — since Serena LOVES to swim she has a blast and we don’t have to carry water for her!

Lots of late summer/fall flowers were in bloom. Check out the gorgeous pictures, below. The river was low but there were still several white-water areas. Supposedly in the spring this can be a class IV river and there are several outfitters that will take you rafting and kayaking. Hmmm.

The highlight of the day was that we saw our first, in-the-wild, rattlesnake. On our way in we passed a couple hikers who told us where it was sitting. Good thing, because I’m not sure I would have seen it and we had Serena off leash! About three miles in the trail goes through the old logging ghost town of Runion. As the trail passes through the ruins there’s a large tree that has been cut through to make way for the trail. Just after that tree the trail narrows to an overgrown footpath. On the left, at shoulder height about 3′ into the brush, was a timber rattler. There were berries on the bushes and we assume it was waiting for a bird to fly in for lunch — lunch for the bird and then for the snake!

He didn’t seem to care about us and never shook his rattle, even when Valerie leaned in to get pictures. He did occasionally stick out his tongue to smell us.  We continued on to the end of the trail but didn’t see any more snakes. The rattler was still there when we passed by an hour later on our way back. I took a couple pictures and, again, only got a little tongue and no tail…

We were a little worried for Serena and I had visions of me carrying a snake-bit 60lb dog on my shoulders for three miles but she’s pretty good about staying with us and coming back when called. She knows the command “LEAVE IT!” but there’s always that risk when hiking in the woods. Come to think of it, in this case, with the snake being at shoulder height in a bush we were the ones who needed to be careful! Yikes.






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