Close Call with a Legless Tube Panther

May 2019 Southern California PCT

The desert was thick with heat, and existed two feet below my shoes as I flew over it through the air, not entirely sure why I was airborne. 

I only knew I feared for my life which sent my body flailing into space. 

It was midday on the PCT in Southern California, and at this point I was seriously in the zone. Head down. Meditative. Speed walking the 17-27 miles I was putting in each day of the trip. Extensive spans of time were completely lost on me, much like when you drive for hours and realize you don’t remember the last thirty minutes.

My body subsisted on autopilot; my mind however, stayed focused on a hardcore salty audio book written by a Navy Seal with the volume on low, so I would hear my surroundings. I still felt like the writer was yelling at me however, making me feel like I’d never accomplished anything in my soft, shitty life.

Well, more like he inspired me, which brought me to feeling sorry for myself but I don’t want to take responsibility for my own feelings. 

Kick my verbal ass stranger. Fuck yeah. I love books like this. 

His words pierced my fucking heart leaving a trail of blood on the soil behind me. 
My feet ate the path, my brain fully consumed with the book, speed-hiking imagining crazy things I could take on. All these men pushed their bodies through seal school- What could I do with my body that I hadn’t tried yet? I should go through some hardcore academy somewhere to test myself! Yeah, the next G.I Jane! I imagined doing tons of burpies and pull ups and maybe even shaving my head. 

Hell yes.

I was a sleeping walking human pistol with a trigger I had never pulled! I would accomplish all the aspirations of my entire being! Today I would leave my flaccid worm of a body behind and become the 6 packed stair case of a female bitch that shits out muscle!  


My legs sped up from under me. I was a raging breathing brick wall capable of eating a chain link fence and climbing Mount Everest with my tongue. 


And at that moment, I stepped within approximately 1 foot of an enormous diamondback rattlesnake.

I remember hearing a screeching rattle and before I realized what happened, my body soared into the air like a flying squirrel on amphetamines. 

In my time off the ground (because this seemed to last for a while), I struggled to find my place in the atmosphere and out of my day dream, contemplating why my boots were not on the ground anymore, but pretty sure it had to do with a behemoth black snake somewhere below me. I think I saw it throw its body back preparing to strike, but, did it? All the rattlesnakes I had seen were brown; was it actually a rattler? 
I remained in the air and it occurred to me that I may need to figure out a landing plan.

I glanced down. 

Nah, I still had time. 

Did it try to bite me and miss? 

I hit the ground hard, sliding down a hill, towards a ravine littered with the skeletons of fallen trees. 

My shoes gouged the dust in vain, slipping out from under me, requiring my arms to catch me. 

They did. 

Thank God. 



My head shot up surveying the ground around me. I landed around 5 feet below the trail, so I couldn’t see shit; even if the snake left a pile of it. 

I ripped out my headphones. Time to stop listening to others lives and start living my own gnarly story. 

The atmosphere returned to silence. Gingerly I began fumbling over logs and shrubs back to the route, cresting through the brush 10 feet from the almost murder scene. 

Son of a bitch if my memory didn’t win a participation award.

The monster of a rattlesnake lay coiled in a mass of scaly muscle where I left it, slipping its thin forked tongue out of its skull focused on me. 

The legless tube panther filled out a 3 inch thick body and appeared to have never missed a meal in its life. 

I’ve come with in feet of stepping on rattlers before, but never been basically on top of one, let alone the king shit of steroid shooting gym rats this one looked to be. 
He must have been reading the same book as me.

Strong work fella. 

I wasn’t anywhere near…well…anything; no roads or trail heads around and if my leg were bit, I would have had to press my SOS button on my tracking device, praying the helicopter got to me in time before I lost my leg. 

Turning down the trail, I shut off my audio book for the rest of the evening. I had overdosed on adrenaline and hardcore shit for one day.

The author would call me a pussy, and I am okay with that, because the thought of a vagina flapping through the air over a rattlesnake is way more entertaining than anything I heard in that book. 

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