Well, I guess winter is officially over.
Blue Sky Trail - a.k.a The Viper Pit - today, and two or three miles into the Horsetooth to Coyote Ridge section I saw my first rattler of the season. I saw him early, so avoided the madness of almost stepping on him, but figured he was dead as he was so flat to the ground he looked like he'd been run over by a 10-ton truck. With this in mind, I was pretty casual in stepping around him. I screamed like a girl when he shot into the strike position and rattled at me. I almost - but not quite - crapped my pants.
Standing a safe ten meters or so from the bugger, I started throwing stones to get him off the trail, but he wasn't in the slightest bit interested in moving. Considering I was running an out and back, I was concerned at his stubborn streak. No more than a half mile further down the trail, I saw another, much larger, snake sitting in the grass maybe a foot from the trail. I screamed, yes screamed, again.
In theory I have no problem with snakes, and understand that I'm out playing in their habitat on a daily basis so need to get used to living and running with them, but in practice they never fail to scare the living b'jesus out of me.
I got to the Coyote Ridge intersection - my turnaround - and ran the gauntlet back down viper alley. I was severely paranoid, but knew the exact location of the two snakes. Fortunately, both had moved on in the 20 minutes or so that it took me to get back to their location, so I didn't have to deal with maneuvering around them.
Be careful out their Fort Collins runners, especially on the Blue Sky trail, which is just loaded with snakes.