On this day, Edwige and I went hiking with Ranger Nico along Moses Spring Trail (no relation to us). We were out on a little photo hike, talking gear and techniques with Nico who is looking to get a bit more serious with his shooting. He brought us through upper Bear Gulch Cave which will be closed off after April 1st for returning bats to nest. Although we didn't encounter any bats while in the caves, it was still pretty wet from the rains California has received all winter.
I desperately tried to keep my feet out of the water but it wasn't long before I had to abandon that idea and just slosh through the cold, wet cave prioritizing secure footing over comfort. Note: If you wear water proof sandals to hike in a damp environment, don't wear socks with them.
Ranger Nico lead us out of the cave and into the Bear Gulch Reservoir area where we decided to take a break. While there, we witnessed a couple Valley Garter snakes swimming around the reservoir. It's not a dangerous snake, but the Garter will leave a musky odor on your hands if handled (Source: Ranger Nico).
On our hike back to the Bear Gulch Nature Center, I noticed what looked like a thick branch moving in the brush on the side of the Moses Spring Trail. A closer look confirmed that it was an adult rattle snake! It turned out to be pretty mellow and gave us little trouble. Actually, we may have been more trouble to the snake as we moved in to get a closer look.
So this post ends on an anticlimactic note. No one was ever in any real danger of being bitten by the rattle snake. In fact, I scratched up my knuckles, banged up one of my camera bodies and soaked my feet/socks trying to navigate the caves. So maybe that was the real danger!