Doc says yer gonna die..

Like to paddle remote rivers?  On warm, sunny spring days? Do you like pristine cobblestone beaches?

If you do, watch where you sit. That is the moral of this story.

The Glady Fork of the Cheat is a fast, clean, easy whitewater run in northern WV.

It is remote, and rarely run. The price you pay for paddling the beautiful Glady Fork is trees. 

They fall across the river in the most inconvenient places, and you have to carry your boat around these trees.

Glady Fork ducky   Photo of Lynda Joyce and by John Duke taken 04/10/04 @ 8.0 @ gladwin

I had just portaged my canoe around a tree. I looked back to see if people were ready, and I saw them huddled in a circle looking down.

When I dropped my canoe, they were heading my way. Dave told me that Sharon had clipped a snake with her boat, then almost sat on the poor thing when she fell out of the boat.

The consensus was "some kind of water snake". Being a friend of the snakes, I went to look it over. 

I found it a few feet from shore. It had an indistinct brown body, but the girth was large given the length of the snake.

It also had a large triangular head and a patch of bright copper colored scales on the head.

Indisputably a Copperhead, one of the more common poisonous snakes in our area. 

When I mentioned this, thoughtful glances were exchanged. 

Sharon looked at me and asked "what would have happened if I had sat on it?".

Remembering the punch line from an old, tired joke, I looked her in the eye and replied "Doc says yer gonna die...".

Keith Finn

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