We came across an unleashed Akita today. The owner called out, "He's friendly," but I pulled Pan off the trail and waited for him to secure his dog. As they passed us, the owner said, "You should let him off the leash. It's more fun." A thousand reasons why I shouldn't went through my head, the first one being that Pan probably wouldn't have had much fun blundering into a dog three times his size, and also, skunks, wild pigs, prickly pears and the park rule requiring pets to be leashed. I nodded and mumbled, "Have a nice day." Or something.
Twenty minutes later, four bicyclists overtook us, and another approached from the opposite direction. He stopped and said, "There's a huge rattlesnake on the path about a half-mile ahead. Those other cyclists will probably scare it off." I thanked him for the heads-up and thought, well, dang, I won't get that picture, but it also felt like vindication, you know, another good reason to keep the boy on the leash.
Later, we did see a snake, a very large garter or racer, who took a running leap off the embankment as I composed the last shot above. No worries.