Some friendly advice to all hikers: It has always been my habit to chide my wife Leslie for her blood-curdling screams when she spots a small spider in our home. A quick search for tissue paper and a courageous lunge at the unwelcome insect quickly resolves the drama.
While hiking together last weekend in the Palisades Highlands, I once again responded to that familiar scream. My reflexes are now well practiced and I “jumped back” from the trail we were on. Then I heard that eerie “rattle” and looked down and shuddered.
My wife saw the snake first and told me that it struck within four inches of biting my left leg. I have no idea how long it was, but I estimate that it was at least four inches in circumference.
Phew, that was close! The next day I called the emergency rooms of both Santa Monica Hospital and Saint John’s Hospital to inquire if they had anti-snake bite venom on hand. Fortunately both are prepared for this emergency.
I want to pass this story along to my fellow hikers with a word of caution: Be alert to your surroundings and if you ever do get bit by one of these creatures, our two closest hospitals are well equipped to take care of you.
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