July 25, 2017 at 6:46 pm #389678
We came across a big, mean, and we and ranger think pregnant mama rattler around 9000 ft 6-6.5 mi up the San Bernardino Peak trail on Monday, June 24, 2017. It was super aggressive – coiled, hissing, spitting, and rattling up a storm as it made its nest apparently under the rocks right next to the trail. It took several attempts to throw rocks in the vicinity to cause vibrations to scare her (but not near her) from my hike partner who is knowledgeable about snakes to get her to even budge and retreat slightly down the hill, at which point we RAN past with her still making all sorts of noise.
Talking with the ranger, he agreed as snake looked “thick” and was behaving so aggressively she probably was pregnant with eggs so was hyper-reactive. It may have been all show, but her behavior and coiling sure made it look like she was ready to strike. As this was so far up the mountain, it would have been for sure a MedEvac situation and a tricky one at that.
The other member of our team had gone ahead of us at that point; when we caught up to him, he said he also stumbled upon the snake and she exhibited the same behavior. So it appears she is quite committed to that trailside spot.
I did file a ranger report and will call fish and wildlife to see if they can relocate the snake to a safer spot for her and hikers. But for now, exercise extreme care in that portion of the trail. It was when we went around a “corner” of the mountain to the left and we stumbled quite suddenly on her.
Other than that, trail was groomed really well and mostly soft sandy dirt with just a few easy rocky spots, more so at the highest elevations. A beautiful hike, and even with a light rain falling the last half of our descent, the trail surface absorbed the water nicely and no ponding or runoff issues.July 25, 2017 at 8:05 pm #389700
Sorry I meant Monday, JULY 24.July 28, 2017 at 11:08 am #389851
What trail did you use RW? I used Vivian Creek on 7/22. Some friends and I may be going up on 8/12 via a different trail(not one I’m familiar with yet) so I’m wondering at what point the two merge and how likely we are to cross this area from a different direction.July 28, 2017 at 3:30 pm #389856Philip YParticipant
You did Vivian Creek to Gorgonio? RW did San Bernardino Peak from Angelus Oaks. Her and I will do Gorgonio via the South Fork Trail to Dollar Lake and then across the San Bernardino Divide Trail to San Gorgonio on the 19th. We are doing a recon (pre-hike) from South Fork to Dollar Lake on Aug 5th.
I’m curious about what you want to know about trails merging. There is a point on Vivian Creek Trail, about .3 miles from the peak, that turns left (north) on the San Bernardino Divide Trail. That will take you to San Bernardino Peak, but it is a long, long haul.July 31, 2017 at 3:14 pm #390056
Yes the trail where we encountered the rattler was the upper reaches of the 8.5 mi each way out and back San Bernardino Peak trail (to bag San Bernardino, not San Gorgonio). The snake was at about 9000 ft around 6-6.5 mi up the trail. First rattler I have ever seen in CA on a trail as most run at the sound/vibration of hikers. But ranger said this definitely is the “nesting” season for pregnant moms, so be careful no matter what trail you are on.
We zoomed back down as a t-storm rapidly developed over San Gorgonio and was thundering away. BTW the upper 2/3 of the trail is a lot of manzanita bushes and some dead, old pine trunks from likely a fire years ago, so we were pretty much the tallest things. We did not even notice the snake spot or even the Washington’s Monument sign we were going so fast to get into more shelter, but no sign of the snake. I am a native Midwesterner and was keeping a REALLY close eye on the clouds, and that t-storm developed out of nowhere super, super fast…be warned if you are hiking the mountains in this active monsoon season.July 31, 2017 at 9:30 pm #390093
Phil and R W, thanks guys my bad! Obviously I was merging trails in my head lol! That’s what I get for skimming here on a quick break! You two are awesome trail reporters 😉
Now about the alternate route to San G via South Fork-I’m trying to get there on the 12th with a group who is using what sounds like this same trail. Vivian Creek was awesome and something new will be a great day as well, I’m sure.August 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm #390224
South Fork is different from the San Bernardino Peak route I did when I saw the mama rattler. The San B trail did not appear to have any branches other than one lower down by a campground. I am doing South Fork and Dollar Lake 8/5 to check out conditions of South Fork as it just reopened after a 2 year fire closure and will be posting a trail report later in the weekend fyi. Hope your hike on the 12th goes great!August 3, 2017 at 7:04 am #390246Philip YParticipant
Natalie, Between RW and myself, you and your group should get a pretty good idea of what to expect, as you hike up to Dollar Lake Saddle. RW and I are only hiking up to the Dollar Trail and then down .5 miles to Dollar Lake. So we will be about .7 miles short of Dollar Lake Saddle.
Once you hit the Saddle you will start to head south and east on the San Bernardino Divide Trail. You are only 3.5 miles from the peak at his point. I hiked up a few weeks back from the Momyer Creek trail and got caught in a thunder and hail storm on the San Bernardino Divide Trail, so make sure you watch the weather everyday during the week leading up to your hike.
Good luck and be safe! 🙂August 8, 2017 at 8:13 am #390619
Thank you so much R W and Phil! I’m heading over to revisit a C2C2C thread you also contributed to. I’m hoping to give this a go in the fall and I’m sure I recall correctly that you had very knowledgeable detail there as well. You two are awesome!
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