Sunday, May 31, 2009

Alarming Snakes & Biking Injuries At River Legacy Park

It's another hot Sunday in Texas. 91 out there right now. My Physical Therapist, Dr. LC told me I don't get enough exercise, so I decided to go to River Legacy Park and pedal the mountain bike trail.

My last attempt to bike at River Legacy, on the mountain bike trail, was aborted due to the dual problem of it being too muddy and my bike gear/chain thing having a malfunction that caused me to have to jump off the bike 3 times, narrowly averting disaster.

So, I didn't know how it was going to go today. I'd quickly know if the gear/chain woe was gone, when I hit the curb to start the trail. Made it up that without a problem. And then make it up the first steep part with no problem, so I relax a bit about it.

So, my first incident. This is a one-way trail, for good reason, lots of blind corners. I was on the first of the steep up and down sections with multiple ups and downs. I see this kid coming right at me. I hit the brakes. He stops. I tell him he is going the wrong way. He says "someone got hurt on the South Loop, it's closed." I ask, "hurt how?" But he pedals off without answering.

When I pulled into the parking lot there were 4 or 5 emergency vehicles, including one firetruck. I figured they were doing a practice thing, because I've seen them practice search and rescue at River Legacy, closing the paved trail at the far north end past the Boyds Branch Bridge.

I don't bike the South Loop. It's a new section. I tried it once. I made it to the third downhill and decided, no, I'm not going to do that. As I pass the South Loop intersection nothing indicates it was closed. I pedal through the bypass and continue on. As the trail loops to run parallel to water treatment land I hear voices. I stop. I couldn't see anyone. I hear one guy say something like we can't take him out over the trail, he's too unstable on the stretcher. We've got to get them to come in this road so we can get him out.

I could only make out parts of what they were saying. I'm guessing someone had a really bad bike wreck and maybe broke his neck, hence the need to get him out as smoothly as possible.

So, I continue on, no major incidents til I have trouble passing a family of slow moving pedalers.

Due to that copperhead incident of a few days ago, where I almost ran over one while pedaling at Village Creek I was being a bit hyper-vigilant about the snake threat. Okay, I'll just admit it, I was being a whacked out neurotic. Over and over again I hit the brakes due to thinking a curvy stick or root was a snake. The flickering light shadowing through the trees plays tricks when you're moving fast.

On the second time around I come to the South Loop turnoff and stop to take a picture. Several bikers fly by and zip in to that danger zone. A guy walks up that I'd howdyed the first time around. I ask him if he knew anything about someone getting hurt. He'd walked the South Loop and said he saw no one in there except for the biggest snake he'd ever seen. I ask him what type. He says he didn't know snakes. He then describes it as brown with a criss cross pattern. I say rattlesnake. He says he didn't think so, he saw no rattle. Then I say cottonmouth.

Maybe the injury that caused the big ruckus was a snake bite causing an epic wreck, or just seeing the snake causing an epic wreck.

So, I pedal on. If I was being a hyper-vigilant neurotic before, now it went into overdrive. One of the snake alert heavy braking false alarms almost caused a wreck, wrenching forward, twisting my neck.

I make it back to my van without further incidents of any sort. It was a good bike ride. I hope the injury wasn't serious. Maybe I should start wearing my helmet at River Legacy.


Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths said...

My snake phobia was cured about 4 winters ago when on my way to the washer to add fabric softener I stepped over what I thought at the time to be one of Annie's realistic looking toy snakes. It was curled up on the door mat. After adding the fabric softener, I returned and almost stepped on the toy snake. I bent over to pick it up...that's when it slithered away all by itself towards the kitchen! I turned on the light and realized that the toy snake was actually a small rattlesnake, about two feet long. I called for my son to go get a shovel from outside so I could kill the thing, but he went into hysterics and wouldn't move. I didn't want to take a chance by removing my eyes off the slithery intruder and risk not knowing where it was. My son begged me to call my dad for assistance. I did and dad came over immediately, armed with a paper bad, shovel and pruning sheers. What was disturbing, was when I shared my story with co-workers...I was told they travel in pairs. Yep, sure enough...I found the second one a few days later curled up on our carport!

Tonasket Tootsie said...

Snakes are disturbing. Wonder if your friend up in Oklahoma still has indoor snakes.
Had one in my wood shop at the other place. Opened the door and it was curled up at my feet. Not sure if I should move. It was less then a foot away. (big gap under door.) We got the bee bee guns out. Well that dosen`t do much but irritate them. Old man got the gun out when he got home and blew it to smitheriens. Had like 8 rattles!!! Lost interst playing with scrool saw...after that. Well till little shop was searched throughally and it was cold out.
Yesterday son was going to change the water out back and he said a huge snake went slithering by. We have bull and rattlers. Now he dosen`t and I don`t, want to go out back. Hm wonder if a clothes line in a front yard looks too rediculus. And who could I get to change water and mow the acre for free? Any volunteers?