|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – September 2008
Use this step-by-step guide to beat 7 common backcountry fears. Plus, ideal hikes for overcoming–or avoiding–the source of your scare.
SPIDERS, SNAKES, SCORPIONS
If you quake at the thought of slithering and crawling creatures, you’re not alone. Recent research suggests that we’re biologically predisposed to the fear—an evolutionary throwback that likely helped protect our ancestors from dangerous wildlife. True, a small fraction of snake and spider species can be harmful, but we’ve moved past the Paleozoic: There’s no reason a fear of rattlers should keep you off the trail.
The Real Risk
Snakes and spiders each cause only five to 10 total deaths annually; scorpions, just one.
The Big Test
Saguaro National Park is home to western hognose snakes, coral snakes, six kinds of rattlers, black widows, brown recluses, tarantulas, and scorpions—plus the gila monster, the country’s only venomous lizard. nps.gov/sagu
The cool climate on Vermont’s Long Trail ensures that poisonous snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas stay far, far away. greenmountainclub.org