Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How A Pine Cone Saved My LIfe

When I traveled to Yosemite to climb Half Dome with my dad a week after school ended, the unthinkable happened, a pine cone saved my life.

I know what your thinking, "how did a pine cone save your life?" Well, when I was walking back to our camp site from washing my hands in the small creek located nearby, I kicked a pine cone and it hit a baby rattlesnake!  At first, I thought it was gopher snake (they look like the diamondback rattlesnake minus the black and white banding on its tail and has a narrower head), but once the pine cone hit the rattlesnake, it coiled up and started to furiously rattle its tail at me.  Luckily I was far enough from the venomous snake that it didn't lunge at me.  My friend McKenzie was walking with me and told me to walk slowly backwards away from the snake.  She is a rattlesnake expert because where she goes to school and lives, it is known as Rattlesnake Island due to all the rattlesnakes in the area and her school trains the students rattlesnake safety.  Instead of walking back slowly, I ended up running away as fast as I could.

So my dear friends, that is how a pine cone saved my life.

Here is a photo of a pine cone similar to the one that saved my life (photo taken by my dad)
Here is an image of a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake close to the one I saw (image from wikipedia)


  1. Dear Ellie,

    Wow! That was some luck! Of course, it's always exciting to see wildlife, but better to see poisonous animals from a distance! I have lived in southern California for decades, and I have never seen a rattler! Can you believe that?

    I hope you will do a post about your journey to Half Dome! I, for one, would love to see some pictures and hear about your adventure!

    Your proud former teacher,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  2. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My dad said "that was some luck," too. I saw the rattle snake about three or two feet away. Isn't that amazing? Have you ever had any good luck like this? If so, what was it?

    I am working on my post. Right now it is really good. I can't wait for you to leave a comment on it.

    Your former student,


  3. Awesome story, Ellie!

    I like how a pine cone saved your life! You retold it with great language choices too. I am glad snakes do not live in New Zealand. When I was in England I got to hold two small snakes and that was scary enough.

    Mr M

  4. Aloha Ellie,
    You very lucky that pine cone was in your path! Also, having your friend McKenzie with you giving that good advice was also helpful. We don't have snakes in Hawaii and the only type of snake I saw while growing up in Ohio was a garden snake.
    Mrs. Jacobs

  5. Awesome story Ellie:)
    I like that it was short and very explainable of what happened. In my country ( New Zealand ) we have no snakes.
    I hope that you do not get hurt by a snake, especially a rattle snake.
    Your story is great.


  6. Hi Ellie!
    My name is Kazza and I love your story. I live in New Zealand. Our country is snake free. I have a blog too. . This is my teacher's blog. Mr Moriarty. He has commented on here before. Your story has a lot of adjectives. Do you live in America? Please reply and comment on my blog and on my teacher's blog too. Hear you soon!

  7. Wow that is such a amazing story.

  8. Hi Ellie,
    What a great piece of writing. I'd be terrified if I ever came near a rattle snake - thank goodness we don't have them here in Australia. Our most dangerous and deadly snake is a brown snake.I LOVED the language that you used in your writing. It was so descriptive - I could picture exactly what you were talking about in my mind. I think I would have run too. Thanks for sharing your holiday story.

    Miss Lisa Sporn

  9. Great job at the beginning I through a pine cone fell off a tree and squish a snake or a spider.

  10. Dear Ellie,
    Great job of describing your close encounter with a dangerous snake. I am so glad that you were able to think yourself out of that stressful situation. That is such a valuable experience because it proves to yourself that you can handle yourself no matter what obstacle presents itself. That is one of the main reasons that I take you on so many adventures. Whether we are back packing deep in the woods, rock climbing at lofty heights, mountain biking on narrow single track trails, dirt-biking in the mountains and deserts, swimming in the deep ocean, playing competitive soccer, or simply just walking home from school, I am confident that you can handle yourself and make good decisions under pressure, You are an amazing young lady. Never forget that I am so proud of you. Thank you for being my adventure companion. I can't wait to read your next post!

    Your proud father,


    1. Dear Dad,

      Thanks for the wonderful comment. It was really scary when I the rattle snake rattled at me. Remember when I said that if there is an emergency to say " yodel yay he hoo," and you said " I don't think you will need to use it," but I did. Have you ever had a bad situation like that? If so, what was it and what happened?

      I can't wait until our next adventure. I hope it will be climbing Mount Whitney because it is the tallest mountain in the forty-eight states. What do you want to climb next?