Another hike from the bottom of the Grand Canyon, on the Colorado River that I was a part of, was a hair-raiser. These hikes were typically a 5 to 10-mile round trip and this particular one was no exception. It was designed to enable us to get the view you see in the picture above.
One of the guides would not allow me to use my trekking poles which I liked, because my knees were much worse in 1998 than they are now. As it turned out, it was probably a good idea.
The hike began as a medium grade climb. Everyone lined up behind the guide. Part of me does not even like the idea of a “guide,” but in the Grand Canyon, you need one. They know the trails and dangers. Soon we came to a flatter area with low, dry bushes. We were just enjoying the desert scenery when the guide yells, “snake to your left.” Then he says, “Move slow but keep moving.” Nothing connects to your primal sense of survival as hearing that word. I looked to my left and just in front of me was the biggest rattlesnake I had ever seen. It was curled up and in the striking position, but it was asleep! Whew! So we all moved right on by with no problems.
The snake is not the only danger you face in this area. We were told at the very beginning of the trip to be sure to keep your boots inside your tent overnight. Otherwise, you might get a real surprise when you put them on the next morning. There is a clear or pale scorpion called centruroides that crawls around looking for shoes I guess. They only bite when defending themselves, but I guess if you try to crush them in your boot they might take that as an attack.
These pale scorpions are deadly. Here is a quote for you, “The estimated annual number of scorpion stings is 1.2 million leading to 3250 deaths (0.27%). For every person killed by a venomous snake, 10 are killed by a venomous scorpion.” However, I also read that these deaths have declined over the years.
So if you are climbing in the desert you need to be cautious. Still, don’t let them stop you! Go hiking!