"There's a Snake in my boot..." errrrrr or outside my tent!

Today (Wednesday) is going to feel like a long day because I had a tough time sleeping last night.  More on that in a minute, but first a recap of the days events on Tuesday:

After a lovely breakfast of buckwheat pancakes at Costanoa, I ventured to Portola Valley, CA to pick up several large boxes of diapers for Puente that were a donation.  The drive from Pescadero to Portola Valley is primarily along La Honda Road, which is a long, tightly winding, hilly road.  I took a short video of part of the road that was actually not the tightest, most winding part.  The video quality, truthfully, is terrible because I hit record and then did not look at my phone again until I turned the recording off.  I should’ve turned my phone the other way, but I was too worried about hitting a cyclist or motorcycle as I rounded the curve.  (I know that both of my parents are upset right now that I even held the phone in the first place, but it’s way too gorgeous to keep to myself.)

After I dropped off the diapers at Puente, I ate a quick lunch at the historic Duarte’s in Pescadero.  It is one of the original taverns in Pescadero, but is now a popular tourist stop, supposedly with amazing pie, though I did not eat any with lunch yesterday.  I spent my afternoon at Puente sorting boxes and boxes of school supplies that had been donated for the students for the upcoming school year.  In years past, Puente would assemble backpacks full of school supplies for all of the students registered to receive the goods.  However, this year Puente is setting up a market-like atmosphere for the students to select which school supplies they want.  This is so exciting because the students will be empowered to pick out colors and styles they like of brand new school supplies.

Once all of the school supplies were sorted and counted and inventoried, I participated in Puente’s Zumba class.  I learned a LOT from this experience.  One of the things I learned from one of the local community participants is that when she first started participating in Zumba, Puente brought in a trained Zumba instructor from outside the community to teach/lead the classes.  In the few months she was away from the classes, Puente trained members of their own community to teach the classes.  Empowerment at its finest!  Training the community to lead their own classes!  Another thing I learned is that Zumba in a Latino/a community is VERY DIFFERENT than Zumba in the Midwest.  It definitely had a specific cultural feel and was more beautiful and sexy than the courses I’ve seen in the Midwest.  (To be clear, I do not mean sexy in an inappropriate way but in a way that coincides with the hip movement associated with Salsa dance and other Latina dances.)  The last thing I learned about Zumba is that it is not a low-impact exercise.  My injured calf muscle/tibia was in great pain by the end of it, and I was definitely favoring my injured leg by the time the hour was complete.

Once I arrived back at Costanoa, I cleaned up and got settled in to journal, read, and relax.  It was an interesting night to be sleeping in a tent bungalow, to say the least.  (Ryan Bruick, you are not permitted to make fun of me to my face for what I am about to write in the rest of this post.  Mom, neither are you because you wouldn’t have lasted 1 day at Costanoa let alone the entire week.)  I had a particularly interesting and eventful night in my tent bungalow.  First, let me remind you that the closest restroom is 100 yards away—uphill (not a steep hill but uphill nonetheless).  Because I participated in Zumba and drank a significant amount of water during and after the exercise, I had to get up not once but twice in the middle of the night to use the restroom.  Thank goodness one of the other Costanoa guests gave me a flashlight to use during my stay (because evidently the light on my cell phone is insufficient).  Then, throughout the night between the hours of 10PM and 2AM, I experienced shrieks of about 10 middle school girls several times who are “glamping” with their moms around the bend.  They seemed to be telling ghost stories late into the evening because I frequently experienced stillness of the night interrupted by loud screams then giggles.  This particular group is really “glamping it up” as they have banners hung around their camp that say “glamping” as well as huge pink bows that they attached to their tent bungalows and hot pink window paint on the multiple SUVs about whatever event they are celebrating by “glamping” together.  The final event of the night included an hour of a rattling buzz-like sound outside my tent bungalow door.  Some form of wildlife was outside the tent, although I have no official verification of what it was.  I am convinced it was a rattlesnake, though.  (Seriously, don’t laugh!)  The very first night I was at Costanoa, some of the Costanoa employees warned me about the wildlife on the mountain trails and throughout Costanoa.  That list of wildlife included: ticks, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes.

[Flashback to Saturday evening.] Throughout the conversation, the couple that served me the delicious BBQ Chicken sandwich on Saturday evening laughed at my ideas about what to take caution when running or hiking on the trails.  The woman specifically said that on one particular trail I needed to carry one or two sizeable walking sticks.  (To which comically I responded, “Do I need to tap them together like in the movie Parent Trap? That question was followed immediately by the more serious question, “Are there bums that live on the mountain who will jump me?)  She laughed and replied, “You are clearly from the city.”  She said that on that trail people most frequently see mountain lions and rattlesnakes, but that the animals are usually scared off by sticks and/or people who talk or sing aloud when they are on the trail.  (NOT thieves or shady characters that might be found in downtown metropolitan areas haha!)  [Flash forward to Tuesday night.]

So as I tried to fall back asleep after hearing the middle school girls shriek yet again I heard a buzz-like, rattling sound outside of my tent bungalow door.  At first I thought nothing of it as I can hear all kinds of wildlife and sounds of nature as a sleep and hangout in the tent bungalow.  But the noise kept going on and off in sporadic bursts every 5-10 minutes or so.  Naturally, I tried to figure out what the noise was, but I had never heard a noise quite like this before.  All I could think about was the damn rattlesnake conversation shared with me Saturday night.  So after shoving a towel and some tennis shoes in the crack of the door between the outside and inside the tent bungalow (and I’ll be honest, checking under the bed only to find a cricket,not a snake of any kind) I laid in bed for an hour wide awake convinced there was an angry rattlesnake outside of my door.  I tried to look through the window of the door (after the towel and shoes where shoved in the opening of course) to catch a glimpse, but it is so pitch black dark that I couldn’t see anything.

Needless to say, I was pretty tired this morning when my alarm went off so that I could get ready for another day with Puente.  Also, I’m pretty thankful that Abby is spending the night with me at Costanoa tonight.  Maybe the rattlesnake (or whatever it really was) will come back so that Abby can verify what I may (or may not) have heard.