PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The warm weather is here, and so are the rattlesnakes. One hiker learned that the hard way.
She's living proof that being prepared for an emergency like this could make all the difference.
Vermont resident Kaija Johnson is recovering in the hospital after being bit by a rattlesnake right below her knee.
Here for two weeks to hike the Arizona Trail, Johnson was deep in a canyon outside of Superior when she says the snake never gave her a warning rattle before it struck.
“As I came up out of the wash, I was flipping my hiking sticks, and I never saw the snake. I must have stepped on him,” said Johnson.
She says it hurt no more than a bee sting. But she realized it was much more serious when her leg started to swell.
[GRAPHIC PHOTO: Johnson's bite]
She focused on remaining calm.
"With the snake, it just happens so fast; there's no time to think or be scared. It was just like, 'OK I got bit. What next?'” said Johnson.
The friend with whom she was hiking ran for 5 miles to get cell signal so they could call 911.
Johnson was airlifted to Banner University Medical Center Phoenix where doctors say her bite was severe.
“I believe thus far she's received 26 vials of anti-venom, and it's possible she'll need additional doses,” said Dr. Steven Curry.
Johnson credits knowing what to do for saving her leg and maybe even her life.
"It's being aware of your surroundings, and in the back of the mind knowing how to get out and who to contact. And if at all possible, be with a friend or a group of people that can get you safely somewhere,” said Johnson.
Johnson is expected to make a full recovery and should be able to hike again in about six weeks.
The Arizona Trail is a non-motorized path that spans 800 miles across Arizona from Mexico to Utah.