We sleep in. We figure we’ve earned it. The ten or so other hikers camped at Hauser Creek have packed up and gone before we crawl out of the tent.
I slice open, drain, and tape the blisters I acquired hiking down the canyon yesterday evening.
Natalie is ready first and leaves. I wait for Blaze. We start the long, hot haul out of Hauser canyon. Soon she leaves me behind. Huffing, coughing from my cold, sweating, I make my way up the side of the canyon.
I catch up with Ashley on the way down to Lake Morena. As we round a bend, Ashley startles a rattlesnake and the snake startles her. The snake is big, coiled with loops behind it’s head, buzzing loudly, and about three feet away. Ashley lets out an interrupted shriek. Interrupted because she tries to step back from the snake and falls. I grab her by the pack and pull her up and back. The snake slithers off the rock and under some brush – three inches thick with a black, tan, and pink pattern. The snake goes slowly, indignant to have to give up its rock. We pass. The snake buzzes.
Natalie greets us at the campground with ice cream bars. Good girl. We sit and lay in the shade for a long time. We chat with the many hikers that come and go.
Eventually we muster up some energy and get a campsite, wash clothes, shower, and eat. When it gets dark, we sleep.