Rattlesnake Roundup

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when Dale invited us to his hunting cabin in Morris, Pa. for “rattlesnake season.” I was only half-joking when I asked him if hunting rattlesnakes was done with bows or guns.

Whatever the occasion, I always look forward to a weekend at the hunting cabin. I’m never quite sure why that is. Guess it’s just nice to get away from home. And if you’re gonna get away, might as well go somewhere rustic, surrounded by mountains and trees. It’s like camping, but with running water, a fully-stocked kitchen, a relatively comfortable mattress, a poker table and beer on tap. Not to mention a sense of tradition. I doubt I will ever wield a weapon for sport, but I can appreciate the camaraderie and sense of pride that is apparent in this group of men (and their families) who share this space season after season.

As it turns out, we spent this past weekend taking in one of Tioga County’s biggest events, the Rattlesnake Roundup. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the snake hunt, where locals bring their catch to a festival to be measured against one another. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea. We only saw one snake all weekend, but everyone seemed more interested in the softball tournament, fresh-cut french fries and flea market anyway.

Not to mention the fireworks. I was quite nervous that we would damage Delton’s hearing by exposing him to the noise, but Aleisha took care of that quite simply, and he seemed none the worse for wear. I was glad not to have a repeat of Chloe’s reaction last year, when we took her to the fireworks during the other big Morris weekend, Old Home Days. The first blast sent her running towards the highway, and I spent the duration of the display huddling in the bed of Dale’s pickup with a quivering pit bull. Needless to say, she stayed back at the cabin this time.

Besides all this excitement, we also spent a lot of time just lounging around the cabin, eating, reading and trying to stay cool. Our hope that the mountains would provide a break from Lancaster’s heat and humidity was not to be. We enjoyed getting to know Dale’s friend, Maryellen, who is quite the baker and was very patient with us slowing down her yard sale treasure hunt.

We spent a few hours in Wellsboro visiting shops and exploring a children’s health and safety fair that was part of the annual Mountain Laurel festival. And it was great seeing Dale’s step-family once again.

I almost forgot to mention the bear. After we returned from the fireworks, a bear came to feed on the corn that Dale set out on the slope behind the cabin. Apparently, Chloe smelled the bear and nearly tore down the kitchen’s screen door. At exactly that moment, JR and Amanda arrived as well. I missed it all because I was in the bathroom.

Some things I took from this trip: Delton is a good traveler, I suck at darts, and mountain air is not always cooler.