Schmitty, keeper of the Von Schmidt monument
by B. T. Raven
Greg, a sucker for roadside points of historical interest, saw no choice but to stop at the Von Schmidt monument high in the Mojave and in the dead of night.
The monument itself was not by the road but at the end of a pathway overgrown with greasewood and ocotillo. A flashlight would have been handy. Greg and Rolex T. Watchdog wandered the path to read the monument by matchlight.
The two were stopped cold in their tracks on the return trip along the trail, by the warning from a rattlesnake somewhere in the bush. They inched along and eventually reached the truck.
Greg put on the high beams to see what he could see, which turned out to be a giant Mojave Green rattlesnake only a few feet from the vehicle, coiled and suspicious of the two night visitors.
Schmitty was the self-appointed guardian of the Von Schmidt Monument, well fed apparently on the remains of the historically curious.
Allexey W. Von Schmidt was hired by California in the 1870s to establish a for-sure border between California and Nevada, so that folks would know whether it was legal to go whoring and gambling in any particular vicinity.
Pit Stop perils
by Marcia Kreutzmann
|Never take a rattlesnake for granite.|
He blended into the granite perfectly, I didn't even see him until it was almost too late.
Greg and I were canoeing Hell Hole reservoir to our destination, the boat-in campsite for a three-day adventure.
Halfway up the large lake, we landed on a rocky point. I needed to make a pit stop and chose a large jumble of granite boulders. I headed for a secluded spot behind the largest boulder.
I never made it.
There must be a deep memory in our DNA for survival, or I had watched enough old Wagon Train episodes on TV, for when I heard the rattle sound, there was no conscious thought needed. I had been over by the crevice and now I was suddenly next to Greg whimpering urgently, "there's a rattlesnake right there." I moved so fast, even my fear couldn't catch up,
His sunning rudely interrupted, Mr. Diamondback slithered into the crevice and disappeared. He was sorely pissed off at almost getting pissed on.
Had I hiked up my hiking skirt and squatted, I wouldn't be here today to tell you this exciting story.
Cute as a bug, deadly as a viper. by B. T. RavenSomewhere in Arizona, west of Phoenix, north of Interstate 10, an old mining camp proved irresistible to Greg the desert rat.
Most of the artifacts were bean cans, rusty cable and sheet tin, but Greg spotted something of interest on the desert floor.
It was rusty and round, about the size of a large bagel. Rolex the watchdog was circumspect, but Greg was curious, bending over the object to get a closer look.
That was when he realized he was looking at a coiled, baby rattlesnake, too young to have rattles but acting like he did.
Greg retired from the vicinity even quicker than that lady who likes to piddle on slithery type characters up at Hell Hole.