I spent last night and the full day today in Joshua Tree National Park, which is a place where I usually manage at least one odd experience per visit. The first time I came here was while driving cross-country back in 1997, and at an out-of-the-way trail deep in the park I ran into one of my teammates from the school track team who just happened to be on his way to the Rose Bowl. On a more recent visit I was drifting off to sleep but looked up just in time to see a bobcat perfectly outlined in the moonlight. The strangest experience I’ve had here was on yet another visit while out for a run — during the run two coyotes decided to trot along with me, and kept pace with me about twenty feet to my left for a short time.
Today I roamed all over the park, and on one remote trail noticed what looked like an abandoned mine up on a hill. While scrambling up the rocks towards the entrance I heard a rattling noise that few people will ever hear, but most people would immediately recognize; the snake was only about four feet long, but he was stretched across the trail perhaps six feet ahead of me. Being the genius that I am I took a step closer, at which point his rattle went into overdrive while he slowly slithered off into some nearby rocks. Yet another memorable moment to add to the list.