Pacific Northwest, United States

The wild, wild Cascades

“Wow, look at that!”

Now thinking back to this moment, I’m not sure if it was Bryce or me who said this. We just came out from under the old railroad section of the Iron Goat Trail when you start at the “haunted” old Wellington Ghost Town. The trail was all dirt and covered with many butterflies just chilling on the ground.

It was quite the incredible sight. Bryce let baby and I go by first so she could see them before our pup scared them all away. They flew in every which way, going up into the sky and some just hovering next to us or onto nearby wildflowers as we continued walking.

Iron Goat Trail

It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday in the Central Cascades near Stevens Pass at the end of August. We continued on the trail after the butterfly sightings and approached a section of the trail where we had massive views of the mountain ranges nearby. As we took it all in and our baby pointed to a plane flying overhead, little did we know that the most exciting thing we would witness was just around the corner.

Bryce spotted it first — a little, thing. A small mammal? He pointed up ahead and we hushed our voices as we saw it scamper ahead on the trail. It wasn’t a squirrel. It wasn’t a chipmunk. I managed to get a video of it running away and thought that that was that. Maybe I would zoom into the video at home later to try to identify what the mysterious creature was.

Our pup was oblivious since it was quite a ways ahead of us. She was more interested in the fresh grass next to the trail for a mid-hike snack.

Baby and I quietly walked down the trail. (She was securely in the hiking backpack on my back.) Bryce and pup stood a ways back in case the creature decided to show itself again.

I turned (I mean, excuse me, baby and I turned) a corner where the trail curved and we saw the little thing again! It ran along and into the brush to the side of the trail. I caught up to where it went, thinking it was hiding from us. I got kind of close up to the brush and realized that this little thing was fighting or playing with something else! It was not alone! Was it playing with one of its littermates? Then I see what is definitely a snake tail!

“Oh my gosh! I don’t know if the snake is attacking it, or if it is attacking the snake!” I quietly shout back to Bryce. (Yes, quietly shouting is a thing. You don’t really realize you are doing it until situations like this.)

He can’t see anything because he is too far back. I’m probably also in the direct way of his view. Plus, we didn’t want our pup getting involved in this, uh, situation.

Weasel vs. Snake

I bend forward and can now tell that the weasel — yes, we are calling it a weasel now — is attacking the snake!

I run a few steps back to Bryce. I am shocked and stunned at what I am witnessing.

“The weasel is attacking the snake!!” What do I do??”

I don’t know what Bryce replied back to me. But, I did what any millennial would do. I ran back closer to the scene and started taking video because this was going to be my big break with Nat Geo / Planet Earth!

Wild life being wild right in front of us!

The weasel did not care at all that I was nearby. It never looked at me. It was just focused on this snake.

The struggle between the weasel and snake moved from the brush on the side of the trail to in the middle of the trail. The snake kept slithering. The weasel kept attempting to get it. The back end of the snake was wrapped around the weasel’s body and I was worried that maybe the weasel would get strangled. (Wait, was I Team Weasel or Team Snake? I just didn’t want either to get hurt, but alas, this is the circle of life we were observing in real time!)

The snake eventually slithered to the other side of the trail and into more brush. I couldn’t see both the snake nor weasel for a bit but then the weasel popped back out onto the trail. (Yes, pop goes the weasel! I know you were thinking it, too!)

The overly-“friendly” weasel running up to our pup.

The weasel then starts running towards Bryce and our pup. Our dog actually takes a few steps backwards because she was startled. (I’m really glad it spooked her and she didn’t try to attack it and get scratched or bit or something of the like.) What a weird, brave creature! I’m talking about the weasel, not my dog.

The rest of our hike was very uneventful in comparison to this very uncommon occurrence.

We took a few stops after the weasel and snake run-in to let our baby walk around and stretch out her legs from being in the hiking backpack. Our pup wanted to take a few shade breaks too, understandably.

What a hike!

You never know what you will encounter during a hike. This one was quite the surprise and a hike we will definitely not forget!

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