”Three is a Crowd”
On our next to the last day of backpacking during a weeklong trek at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, my buddy and I ended the day, camped on a compact and pristine “slice of pie” shaped beach, with the Colorado River on one side, a tall vertical cliff on the other, and a narrow passage leading out to the main trail.
Darkness came quickly and we turned in for the night, with sleeping bags on ground cloths, covering a section of the sandy beach.
It was truly a 5 star wilderness area campsite.
I took the extra step of using my Goretex bivy sack over my sleeping bag, to help keep my bag somewhat free from blowing sand during the nights.
Late that evening, my buddy vigorously poked at my side and said “Marc, we have a visitor.”
I awoke to find my buddy shining his headlamp at the feet of our sleeping bags.
There in the spotlight of a very dark moonless night, was a coiled Pink Rattlesnake, that hadn’t missed too many meals, apparently very disturbed with our presence on his/her turf, and within striking distance of my feet.
The snakes rattling tail was the only sound to be heard, besides the river, and my adrenaline boosted heartbeat.
Though the Pink Rattlesnake is not considered overly aggressive, I said “Goodnight Greg, see you in the morning”, retreated within my bivy sack and zipped up the zipper tighter than an Indian War Drum.
No way was that snake getting in my sleeping bag!
The outside temperature was about 75F, my down sleeping bag was rated at 0F, and the bivy sack gave it a rating of -10F, so it was going to be a long hot night, hoping there was enough goose down and fabric distance between me and the Pink Rattlesnake’s fangs.
Come daylight, I slowly opened the zipper of my bivy sack and surveyed the real estate and listened carefully for our not so friendly visitor’s “Get off my beach!”
The morning was peaceful and Pink Rattlesnake free.
Though the Goretex bivy sack was “breathable”, I must have sweated off about 5 lbs. during that long hot night.