and here it got really tough: switchbacks with a steep incline that clearly hadn’t been groomed in a while.
The run off from winter storms had etched deep gullies in the trail, sometimes on either side, at others down the middle. But still we keep marching. The plan was to have a peanut butter picnic at some point and then come home. I hear a whirring noise, look up and quickly shout a warning to my mom while clearing the way for a mountain biker racing downhill. I spot a point that may not be the end but looks like a nice stopping place about 15 feet or so above us. I turn the corner, determinedly climbing, when I hear it, the noise I have dreaded ever since my parents moved to this neighborhood 12 years ago. The fierce rattle of a rattlesnake ricochets off of the hard mountain walls like gun fire. Instinct kicks in and I run, screaming, up hill. Then I stop and look back to see that the snake is now coiled under a bush between my Mom and I and I just want to cry.
Now please understand I’m not just squeamish. From the age of 5 until I was 23 I had recurring nightmares featuring snakes. I really, really don’t like snakes. Especially snakes that I know are poisonous and are a little hacked off at me. You can tell me that it was more frightened of me than I was of it. I just don’t buy it. In my case at least, that’s not true.
So here I am 2 miles up a mountain with my worst nightmare sitting in between me and my mom and the way home. My mom’s carrying a walking stick so she feels some sense of protection and she offers to walk past the rattlesnake to come to me, because that ladies and gentlemen, is my mom: the woman who will brave deadly creatures to come to her
I can only see one way out. I fix my eyes on the bush where it is hiding until I spot the whirring tale. Keeping my eye on the rattle, fighting back tears and desperately praying for protection I slowly come down the path. As soon as I am safely past the snake, I dash down the hill. Half a mile I run gullies or no. We come to flat corner with some shade and stop to recover.
I try to eat but it turns out that adrenaline and appetite don’t mix for me.
Actually, I think I already knew that. But we do catch our breath
before hiking the next mile and a half out which was fairly uneventful although the lizards made me a little jumpy. And I love lizards.
Anyway, that is my brave girl birthday moment. I think that was seriously the biggest pair of big girl panties I have ever had to pull on. Am I grateful God protected me? Absolutely. Am I a little proud of myself? Yeah. Have I conquered my fear of snakes? Uhhhm…no. Will I hike that trail again? That would be a no…at least not until, say, November, when all good snakes go to sleep.
Have you pulled on your big girl panties and faced any fears lately?
I wanna know,