I woke bright and ugly at 7am. When I joked that I was going to Colorado to find the sun, I didn’t mean he should rise directly outside my room’s windows and make my room glow. I may as well have left the blinds open. Three hours of sleep it is! Welcome back to Colorado!
By the time I got the rental car (back to the airport we went!) ate breakfast, got the boys to their dad’s, took care of some other stuff, and stopped at my former job to say hello…. it was 3pm. I thought I could follow through on my plans for today and drive up to Estes Park, do some hiking and some touristy mountain shopping, but my four hours of sleep started to become apparent.
l didn’t even get past Golden when I realized it would not be wise to keep driving. l passed the sign for Golden Gate Canyon State Park, so decided that would have to fill my outdoor and mountain quota.
Nope. Didn’t get too far. I really miss driving curvy mountain roads, too. They are freaky and wicked and yet fun and cathartic, in a menacing ‘Stay alert!’ way-when you are properly rested. I was not going to make it. I remembered the road becoming steep and gravelly closer up, which meant gravelly and steep downhill on my way back down, with the mountain standard of sharp twists and turns. The first opportunity I found to turn around I did. l was disappointed but proud of myself- If I can’t mind my surroundings, I need to get out of them. On the way back down I found a trailhead at Mount Galbraith Park, so I parked and headed in.
It was lovely. The birds and bugs were jamming away. I walked past some wild roses. They look pretty wimpy and a little ugly compared to what we recognize as a rose, which is why I didn’t take a picture, but they smell divine. When hiking, remember to stop and smell the roses.
But first: always mind your surroundings. This is the first rule of Batman, which I’m always telling my youngest as he’s always walking into things, stepping on people’s feet (mine) walking on the pets, falling, etc. I was sleepy, my mind was wondering, and I looked down the mountain at my car, worrying whether I’d actually locked it.
I looked down at my feet just before stepping on a rattlesnake. Look at the picture above. See the purple flowers? Down and to the left there’s a rock. Between these, the snake is reared up. He was sunning himself across the trail when I nearly stepped on him. Always mind your surroundings! I am always looking down when I walk. Except this one time…..
It’s a young one, which is even worse. Adults are more conservative about biting and then only give a smaller amount of venom. Babies are more nervous and will also hit you with everything they got. I’m sure both of us went ‘oh shit!’ as he began rattling and coiling and I backtracked as quickly and smoothly as I could. My whole rotten arrival flashed through my mind while i simultaneously acknowledged that he was absolutely a rattlesnake and not a bull snake (which also rattle their tails as a protective bluff), and calculated his length times two to get outside his striking distance. They can propel themselves quite far. All this processing in miliseconds.
I’m awake now!
Then, we stared at each other. Now what?
Take pictures with Sam, of course. I couldn’t go around him or make him move and I wanted to warn anyone coming. Sam’s zoom feature is not very good, so I started playing with my actual camera. I wanted to video him rattling, but by then he’d stopped and I was not going to break my distance to piss him off enough for a video. By then, I heard someone behind me and more coming down the trail. The first to reach me was the guy behind me, who was a ranger. That’s never happened. A little unnervingly reassuring had I gotten bit, though.
‘Rattlesnake’, I explained to him awkwardly, my Sam on the floor and me kneeling in the center of the trail fumbling with my camera. His response? ‘Wow! I’ve never seen a rattler on a trail before!’ Tell me about it. Everyone knows they’re supposed to be everywhere, you just don’t ever see them. Then the couple arrived from ahead of us. We all looked to the ranger, who’d never encoutered one before, mind you, all of us wondering what to do.
He pulled out his camera so I continued snapping shots, and we shouted back and forth over the snake to the other couple. We then just stood and waited until the snake got bored and wandered away.
…Well, I’ve been trying to upload a video from my camera of the snake, but WordPress won’t allow it 😦 Sorry….Here’s a photo from my camera though.
I continued to warn people that I passed and everyone’s response was ‘Wow! Were you scared?’. Actually no. My very first thought was that Colorado really does hate me. My trip in, my non-sleep. Then this final, very clear warning. I don’t seem to be welcome here. Maybe I shouldn’t have referred to Colorado as a black hole that sucks everything in without giving anything back before I fled. It would have really sucked if he’d bitten me.
Enjoy some pictures before I start to dwell!
Mild curvy foothill road.
I have a thing for trees and visual textures.
Very funky polaroid. The trail was actually straight behind and before me. Don’t be fooled.
Front facing camera works as good as the rear one.
Anyway, I am now sitting on a rock outcropping further up the trail with a view of the city using the write-to-text feature to write this post. Which would be going much better without this shield.
I’m putting this as part of my Samsung 8.0 review cause he passed gloriously, even surviving a rattlesnake encounter 🙂 Bloggers, if you’re looking for a tablet you can take with you, type directly into your blog, insert pictures you can capture on your tablet, even while hiking, that’s neither big and bulky nor so tiny that you can’t use the keyboard, I think this is by far the only one that has its capabilities. I love Sam’s S-pen. And will try to return that shield once I get back so I can really use it once again. You can also use the Samsung swipe keyboard function as on their phones. Pretty cool.
Anyway, I didn’t stay long. My adrenaline rush was fading and I was taking the snake warning to heart. Consolation of not driving into Estes or meeting my stepdaughter in Idaho Springs was dinner at Tocabe’s.
Mmmmmm. Native American tacos. They are the size of a dinner plate and mounded with stuff. I told them that since moving to Chicago I crave their food all year long till my annual visit, which is no exaggeration. With the taco I got fry bread with wojapi (j is pronounced), which is a mashed fruit…..uh…..wojapi, to save for a later snack. Also some strange elderberry Colorado brewed pop (Chicagoans never say soda). Alcohol sounded better, but, you know, I’m already struggling with my focus and I’ve still got to drive to the hotel. Also, I don’t seriously drink. But beer did somehow sound really good.
Well, last night, I didn’t make the hot tub, or the late night wojapi. I was in bed and asleep by 7. That’s just sad and mean.
Woke up to turn off the air conditioner and wouldn’t you know it? It was 4 am and my neighbors were back at it. Who has scheduled sex at 4 am? At a hotel? It does put a twist on the phrase ‘Shut the fuck up!’.
12pm. Now I’m sitting in the airport editing this by typing on Sam. My flight is delayed by two hours, of course.
4:30 pm We were originally supposed to leave at 1:30. Then 3:50. At 4pm we boarded….then it started raining, and all flights were halted due to the thunderstorm. This has been a great weekend.
I finished my kindle read, One Pink Line, which apparently began as a self-pub. Good, wholesome read. I really needed it. And the author’s a Chicagoan!
Now what, Sam? Music? Game?
Sorry, I couldn’t figure out why this wouldn’t upload yesterday. Took awhile, but turns out that the error message referred to another video I’d tried to upload from Sam. But I really wanted to share the short snake one. Oh well. Also, WordPress is being funky and won’t let me resize the photos. Sorry they’re so ginormous.