Clinic Stories

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The Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania has a reputation for eating boots. On a map it looks straight forward – dozens of miles of ridge walking with little change in elevation, a dip into a valley then back up to another long ridge. What isn’t apparent is that there is little water available and it is rocky. Really rocky - foot blistering, ankle twisting, shin aching, boot tearing rocky.

I was rock hopping along the AT in central Pennsylvania when my cell phone rang. It was my daughter with a benign question. I finished the call and returned the phone to my backpack. A half hour later it let out a hum. How did my phone get onto vibrate mode? It hummed again and I realized just how much a rattlesnake sounds like a vibrating cell phone. At my feet was a rattlesnake placidly enjoying the mid-afternoon sun and letting me know he was there. Hikers may hate the rocks, but snakes love them.

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