Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bear Lake Snake Camp!

Great Basin Rattlesnake
Originally uploaded by David B..
My son Bryan, is camping this week at the Bear Lake Aquatics camp, on the East side of the Bear Lake in Northern Utah. I joined him for the first two days. He will be staying on until Saturday.

We saw two of these not too far from the camp site. Bryan spotted one that was cozying up to the privy, nearby. It was the same species as this, though it was smaller - it was about 2 1/2 feet long, and had only 2 or 3 rattles. Big or small, still a danger. The East side of Bear Lake is notorious for Rattlers, and we found out why! One of the first things the camp leaders did upon our arrival, was to review rattlesnake safety, and what to do if you see one.

I was glad to see Bryan follow the rules just as we were instructed. After hearing and seeing the rattler, he stopped, backed up slowly, and called for help. Good Boy! (Of course, the temptation for 12 and 13 year-olds, who are attending this camp would be to start throwing rocks at the snake, and chase it around, and get it really angry and far more dangerous.)

We called the camp staff, who sent out a crew to move/dispatch the snake. The one Bryan spotted went down a rodent hole in the to hide.

Shortly thereafter, another rattler was spotted at the campsite next to ours. The camp staff, who were still in the area, were summoned. This time they dispatched the snake (shot it), and hauled it away. Too bad I didn't get a photo of the remains.

It seems like wherever you go there are dangers out there. One of the BSA camps that our troop regularly attends, besides Bear Lake, is Camp Steiner, in the Uinta Mountains. The same day that we had our rattlesnake encounter, a scout was struck and killed by lightening at Camp Steiner, while sleeping in his sleeping bag under a shelter. From what I have heard, the scouts at camp Steiner were behaving appropriately, but the lightening still happened to strike in such a way that the scout was killed. Two other scouts were injured, but have since been released from the hospital and have gone home.

(Warning! Waxing philosophic now. Proceed at your own risk!.)

I would hate to have been one of those scout or church leaders (who sponsor the scout troop) that had to report to the parents that their child had been killed or injured. But what can you do? You can't just go to your room and hide! That's not living either! Thats not facing up to life and its challenges!

Take all prudent safety measures - YES!, Take no unnecessary risks - YES! But still live your life, and enjoy the great outdoors (and crossing the street, and driving your car, and going out in public, etc.). There are certain risks that we all take everyday of our lives. You never know when a truck (or disease, or illness, or fluke of nature) is headed toward you with your name on it! Really, any of us could meet an untimely demise at anytime. Each of us is given a certain amount of time in which to live on this earth. None of us knows how long our turn on earth will be.

The best we can do is to be wise and prudent in our actions. Make sure that we have given the best part of ourselves to our family and loved ones - let them never question our love and devotion to them. Make sure that each day is one that is lived to the fullest. And prepare ourselves for whatever God has planned for us after this life is over. If we have prepared ourselves wisely, then whenever the Good Lord decides to call us home, whether sooner or later, we will know we have done our best. We can depart with no regrets. If we are thusly prepared we have no need to fear that which is to come, but can look forward, with faith to the next great adventure.

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