The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

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eunderhill
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The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

Post by eunderhill » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:51 pm

I remember when I read about Julia's and Reiney's attempt to find the LDM they had ended up in Hog Canyon. Apparently there was something in the area after dark that had sounded like rattle snakes that caused Julia to get up on a boulder and shoot at the supposed rattle snakes. One of the theories about what Julia might have been shooting at was shake grass, what ever that is supposed to be. I do remember seeing some reddish-brown wheat like grass that droops along the Dutchman Trail north of Miners Needle that produces a sort of a rattle like rustle if you brush up against it. I suppose that is what was meant by the shake grass. But the sound this grass makes does not sound like the stuccato of a rattle snake though. And I do not remember seeing this grass growing anywhere in Hog Canyon or anywhere along the Hog Canyon drainage channel. Anyway I had an encounter with what might have been a bug of some kind once while in the drainage to Hog Canyon back in February of 2008 that is apparently able to make the sound of a rattle snake. Back then the Hog Canyon drainage had been running and I was not able to make it to the side canyon where the petroglyyphs are. Instead I took a picture of a small water fall that was inside Hog Canyon and rested. The sun was going down, so I turned back around and headed back. My goal was to make it back to the Lost Goldmine trail before it got too dark to see without a flashlight. I just didn't want to be in the drainage with a flashlight. Being on the Lost Goldmine trail with a flashlight, I have no problem with though. Anyway, I was about 5 minutes away from the Lost Goldmine Trail when it was just getting close to being too dark to see without a flashlight. It was then I had heard the sound of a rattle snake which spooked the crap out of me. I did not stop but keept on going although I did look down at where the sound was coming from as I passed. It was still barely light enough to see that there was no rattle snake there. In fact I didn't see anything at all. I surmised that what ever it was, it must be small. My guess it was a bug of some kind, maybe a cicada perhaps that has the ability to mimick a rattle snake. I didn't stop to investigate this as I was really wanting to be out of that drainage and on solid trail before I got my flashlight out. I figured that what ever it was it was what Julia and Reiney had encountered as well. Has anyone else who has been in the Hog Canyon drainage channel encountered anything like this?

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Re: The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

Post by somehiker » Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:27 pm


eunderhill
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Re: The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

Post by eunderhill » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:48 pm

That particular cicada is usually found around 5000+ ft elevation in areas such as Payson, Pine-Strawberry, and Prescott for example. They usually do their rattling sound in waves as shown in the youtube video and are only active in the summer. Same for the cicadas found here in the valley except they just do a continuous buzzing sound. What I heard did not come or go in waves. It was continuous just like you would expect from a rattler and it was in late February when both cicadas and rattlers are not active.

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Re: The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

Post by oroblanco » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:01 pm

Hola amigos,
Burrowing owls can mimic the sound of a rattler perfectly, and will do so if cornered and frightened. An amusing incident in the Custer story was when the Custer brothers put one of these cute little owls under another officers chair in camp and invited him to sit on it, and of course he reacted as expected when he sat down and heard the distinctive sound directly under his hind parts.

Good luck and good hunting amigos, I hope you find the treasures that you seek.
Oroblanco

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Re: The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

Post by eunderhill » Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:14 pm

Now that is a rather funny practical joke. I suppose it could be possible that a borrowing owl could have been it. There are some islands in the middle of the Hog Canyon drainage. Although I wonder what kind of a borrow they would have with the drainage running at the time.

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Re: The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

Post by djui5 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:15 pm

Old post, but I wanted to confirm there is a grass in the supers that sounds like a rattle snake when it's move. Spooks me every time I hear it :lol:

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Re: The Hog Canyon rattle snake faker.

Post by eunderhill » Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:20 pm

It's no biggie, Djui5. I don't follow this forum all that closely at the moment. Is the grass you are talking about red in color and resembles a droopy looking wheat? If so, I have seen them along the Dutchman's Trail #104 just north of Miner's Needle. To me that sounds like a rustling rattle kind of sound. Nothing like a rattle snake. But then again, I have never encountered that grass while it was windy. So maybe it does sound like a rattle snake when the wind is blowing. I know Jim Bark makes some kind mention of this grass in his notes as told by Helen Corbin. I also found my copy of 'The Curse of the Dutchman's Gold', finally. There are two places in Helen's book that mentions Julia Thomas getting up on a rock and shooting at what she thought was rattle snakes. Page 74 'In Jim Bark's notes I found the following: "Rhiney told me the first time he and Helena went over the mountain she got lost and as it was sundown, she became frantic. She got up on a large rock and stopped all night. She carried a small, 32 revolver and a lot of cartridges."
Jacob had certainly warned her enough times to the danger of being followed. She knew people would kill them just for information regarding its location. And, even though Julia didn't know where it was, the gossip in the cow town must have convinced everyone that she did. While she sat terrified on that rock pulling the trigger repeatedly against what she believed were rattlers, articles were being printed in local news papers stating that she and the boy had rented a team and were headed for the hills. There was a later on published offering the information that she had returned and was unsuccessful.'

On pages 100 and 101 'It was some time before Helena and Rhiney could dispose of the bakery and go look for the mine. Their first trip was the time I mentioned in the first part of this story. Rhiney told me that the first time Helena and he went over the mountain to look for the mine, she got lost on top of a mountain, and as it was sundown she became frantic; that there quite a number of the dry rattle weed up there and that she got up on a large rock and stopped there all night. She carried a small 32 revolver and a box of cartridges. As dark was overtaking her, the rattle weeds began to rattle and she mistook them for rattlesnakes; so she stayed on the boulder all night and fired all her cartridges away at the snakes.'

The two things I noticed about these two passages is that they don't mention where this occurred at or what the weather was like at the time. In my particular case I do know where I was and what the weather was like. The only thing that is the same with Julia's experience and mine was that it was starting to get dark at the time of the event. In my case it was calm and the Hog Canyon drainage that I was in was running. I was also walking along the western edge of an island in the drainage where there was no vegetation to disturb. There was just rocks where I was walking when I heard the rattlesnake sound. It came from one of the rocks I had just stepped on. I didn't stop but I did look down at that spot as I passed over it and didn't see anything. I really wish I hadn't been in such a hurry at the time and stopped to investigate this more closely. Who knows what I would have found.

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