Tis the season


Judith Kuse

Spring has sprung here in Arizona, and summer is fast approaching. It’s rattlesnake season. Hikers, be on the lookout. Snakes are out of their winter haunts enjoying the sun’s warmth.

As you hike during the next months, keep this information in mind.

Thirteen species of rattlesnakes reside in Arizona. Rattlesnakes are identified by their triangular heads and instantly-recognizable rattling/hissing warning sound. Rattlers move at a pace of 2-3 mph; humans move at a pace of 28 mph, especially after seeing a rattlesnake! Young rattlesnakes may not yet have rattles but are dangerous from birth and more pugnacious than adults.

Take these precautionary steps. Don’t wear flip-flops or sandals on the trail. Look to the sides of the trail while hiking, as rattlesnakes may rest underneath brush/bushes. Don’t put your hands on surfaces above your head where snakes may sun. Check for snakes before you sit down to rest.

If you spot a rattlesnake, don’t make sudden movements. Back away slowly 8-10 feet. If you see one rattlesnake, others may be nearby. Never try to kill a rattlesnake.

Eight thousand venomous snakebites are reported in the U.S. annually. Of those, 8-15 result in death. Toss out what you thought you knew about treating a rattlesnake bite. Don’t apply a tourniquet to the victim or suction the venom or ice the wound. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Don’t try to capture the snake. The best defense is car keys and a cell phone. Get to a medical facility as quickly as possible. Time is critical. Call 800-222-1222 from anywhere in the U.S. to connect to the local poison control center. Armed with this knowledge, you will be ready to hike in Arizona’s warmer months!

The SLHC’s April hikes follow. Except as noted, meet at the Cottonwood parking lot at 6:45 a.m. to carpool. Updated information and complete descriptions of the hikes are on the club’s website at http://www.meetup.com/Sun-Lakes-Hiking-Club.

Monday Hikes:

April 2 Moderate +: Alamo Springs and Wild Burro Loop in the Tortolita Mountains near Tucson. Leader – Marilyn Harkins 253-389-2101

Mellow: Lost Goldmine Out and Back from Lost Goldmine Trailhead on the Peralta Road in the Superstition Mountains. Leaders — Rick and Penny Urwiler 402-450-9168

April 9 Motivated: Bug Springs in the Catalina Mountains near Tucson. Leader — Marilyn Harkins 253-389-2101

Mellow: TBD

April 16 Motivated: Six Shooter Trail at Pinal Peak near Globe. Leader – Marilyn Harkins 253-389-2101

Moderate: Deer Creek Trail #45 in the Mazatazal Mountains near Payson. Leader – Vicki Deken 480-688-1771

Mellow: TBD

April 23: Motivated: Wilderness of Rocks to Mt. Kimball Overlook at Mt. Lemmon near Tucson. Leader – Mei Ahlskog 480-883-2013

Moderate: Bear Canyon and Seven Falls at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, Tucson. Leader – DeEtte Faith 480-895-8397

Mellow: TBD

Wednesday Hikes:

April 4: Moderate: Bell Trail #13 in Coconino Mountains near Sedona. Leader — Judy Mical 480-883-8686

April 11: Moderate: Horton Creek in the Tonto National Forest out of Payson. Leader — Greg Jewell 480-282-0061

April 18: Moderate: Wolf Creek Loop #384 in Prescott National Forest. Leader — Stu Frost 602-332-5676

April 25: Moderate: Turnbuckle, Granite Falls, and Chuckwalla Trails at Skyline Regional Park near Buckeye. Leaders — Al and Ginny Metz 480-895-1868