I for one hate to hike the back country by myself due primarily to snakes and the possibility of getting bit. I did not have a fear nor did I worry as much about it until the spring of 2003. I went hiking to Abrams falls with my fiance and I never saw one snake in the water or the trees the entire time. Once we arrived back at the parking area we decided to take some photographs of the newborn deer and foxes that were in the wheatfield just outside the parking lot. No more than 20 feet from where we stood, while setting up our tripod, I heard a bloodcurdling scream from behind me. A woman from Maryville was just bitten by a 5 foot timber rattler. I saw the snake moving quickly in my direction to get away and now I had to contend with a vicious scared snake and a girlfriend that was on my shoulders at this point. I threw a rock or two in the direction of the snake and it ran further into the wheat field out of sight. I made my way back to the parking area but I could not get this sickening feeling out of the pit of my stomach that there could be more snakes in that same area and I couldn't see anything for the tall wheat. While I thought the worst was over, I discovered another problem with accidents such as this and Cades Cove.....traffic! It took us almost 45 minutes to get the woman from Abrams parking lot to the exit via the loop. I took turns with some other people running ahead of the vehicle shouting "snake bite move off the road". You do not realize how dangerous that one lane road can be until you have an emergency such as this and no way for two vehicles to get side by side. Not to mention most vehicles had stopped for people to take pictures of bear and dear in the fields so a lot of the cars were empty blocking the cove loop road. According to the paper, the woman survived after hospital care, but I have never gotten the nerve back to venture around Abrams again. As a child I used to go there often and I still remember watching a water snake swim from one side of the river to the other. All I can remember about that thing was that it seemed like it was half the length of the river and about the size of a grapefruit in girth. Needless to say I did not stick around to see the head.