The Snake Of Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park provided two opportunities to face fears. I told you about the first yesterday but didn’t mention that I met a snake.

In a visitors center

Loose on the floor.

Where it followed me into the ladies room.

We had freshly conquered the ladders and had stopped at the visitors center for a little souvenir shopping, restroom and cold drink. We had nearly reached the end of a window lined hallway approaching the restroom when movement caught my eye. Right next to me, there was a snake on the floor.

It had squeezed under a glass door that badly needed some weather stripping to keep out the heat and the snakes.

My choice was to keep going forward or turn and run. As I am apt to do in crisis situations, I chose wrong (I would have made a great sidekick to Lucy and Ethel). I kept going and proceeded into the restroom. To be fair, my travel pal was right behind me and I didn’t want to knock her down in my escape.

I say that like I really thought it through and I promise I did not. My only objective was to get away.

While I went into the ladies room, Johnna went in search of help. It came in the form of a young guy who was sweeping floors. But when he saw the snake, he announced that snake removal was above his pay grade.

You might wonder why we didn’t just open the door to let him slither out on his own. Well, that wasn’t an option because the door was locked. Of course it was. This story wouldn’t be nearly so interesting if it were unlocked.

Ultimately, someone found someone else who had a door key while a guy from the kitchen came to assist.

However, all this transpired after Mr. Snake followed me into the restroom. Yep. It squeezed under that door too. Fortunately, it more or less looked around for just a few seconds and slithered back out the door. Evidently, even he knew that he didn’t belong in the ladies room.

Once the door was unlocked, kitchen guy picked him up by the tail and helped him out the door.

No one there seemed to know what kind of snake it was but a friend asked his snake expert friends and they all agree it is a Gopher snake which is not poisonous .

So we had two adventures for the price of one! And as Johnna pointed out, at least I got a story out of it.

When it was all said and done, Johnna ended up with a tall glass of something bubbly and caffeinated. On the other hand, I sat down and ate a giant chocolate chip cookie and lost my ability to blink for about five minutes.

Clearly, life is short and it is meant to be lived with enthusiasm. Take the hike, shriek like a little girl, eat the cookie and hope there’s not a snake in your path.

Flying Like A Bird


It isn’t every day that you have a chance to check something off your bucket list. So when the opportunity presents itself, you have to do it. Even if it’s something that scares you a little. Actually, especially if it’s something that scares you.

b3It has long been my goal to take a ride in a biplane. There’s just something  romantic about these open air planes and the barnstorming that has been done with them since the years following World War I.

I can’t describe it but my heart takes flight a little every time I see one in the air. 

There was an opportunity to take a ride a couple of weeks ago at a hot air balloon festival but I found every excuse in the book to not do it. So when I learned there would be rides given at an airport in a neighboring community, I simply had to go.

Incidentally, the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County was celebrating their 50th anniversary yesterday with a big shindig – cool aircraft on display, some RC flyers, a Model A Club and rides with Dewey Davenport of Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides of the Xenia area. 

This was a really fun blue sky day of celebration but it was a big day for me too. You see, part of the reason that excuses were made to not take a biplane ride is that I have a ridiculous fear of heights. I don’t do roller coasters and cringe at the thought of a glass elevator. But I’ve been up in aircraft before – commercial flights, small planes at my local airport and even a helicopter (sans door as I was taking pictures for a newspaper that day) and it’s ok.

But to glide through the air with the wind in your face and nothing between you and the sky? In a 1930 D-25 New Standard that looks like it belongs in a museum?

Never before.

And guys. Wow. It’s fabulous. 


It probably helps that I had an experienced pilot who is so enthusiastic about his work that I had no choice but to trust him. He’s fantastic. Really. Dewey Davenport is his name and if you see that he’s coming to an event near you, go take a ride. You won’t regret it.  That’s him pictured with me above. And if you’re wondering what’s up with the sign, click here to read about the origins.   Long story short – I have a smart mouth and warped sense of humor.

But this story isn’t really about the plane ride, funny sign or pilot. Sure, the experience was amazing. But it’s really about you and whatever is holding you back.

There has to be something that you’ve always wanted to do, maybe even something that scares you. Please don’t let fear prevent you from doing something that you want to do.

Friends, life is worth living. Go do it. Have an adventure. Go far away. Stay close to home. Do what scares you. Embrace the thing you love most. Whatever it is, do something that will make you smile at the end of this day and every day.

Life IS worth living. Make it what you want. 

This is an area I’m still working on. Truth is, I don’t know what I want my life to look like so I’m just exploring the world as much as possible and doing the things that make me happy as well as the ones that scare me because they often are the same. We’ve discussed this topic here a couple of times before but we all could use a periodic refresher.

I imagine myself to be a kindred spirit of Amelia Earhart, Sheriff Maude Collins and other strong women from history. However, I’m probably a little more closely related to Snoopy versus the Red Barron and maybe Deputy Barney Fyffe! Regardless, I faced a fear and had such a fabulous time doing it that I’m already plotting to take another ride with Dewey someday.

And if you wonder what makes me an authority on this topic, just scroll up and look at that smile. It really was the best day. But this story is going to be a two parter! I checked something else off my bucket list but you’ll have to wait till Monday to read about it!

Want to know more about Dewey and biplanes? Check out his website and his YouTube vlog by searching his name.

Don’t Let Fear Slow You Down

I encountered a group from Maryland on last night’s hike. They were extremely friendly and thrilled to be hiking in the Hocking Hills.

For some, it was their first time on a hike. A few seemed to marvel that I was out there alone. This isn’t an uncommon reaction.

I hike alone a lot.

This is partly because there is nothing like the serenity of the woods and having people around is disruptive. It’s partly because I refuse to miss out on experiences simply because there is no one to go with.

This wasn’t always the case. I didn’t pick up solo hiking until last winter. My relationship of many years had just ended. I was working on accepting the idea that it will likely always be just me and I refuse to spend my life at home simply because I’m single.

So I started hiking in the well trafficked areas of local state parks until becoming comfortable enough to venture out on longer hikes where there are fewer people.

It was intimidating to put it mildly. But once I got used to the uneasiness, it became an experience that I crave.

I breathe better in the woods and despise having a lot of people around when trying to enjoy my surroundings.

Those visitors yesterday marveled at my bravery. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I feel safer by myself in the woods than walking down the street in a city like their hometown. People are nuts and scare me far more than wildlife.

But I’m not stupid. I’m always prepared for something bad to happen and grateful each time I make it out safely. Of course, after the spike in crime in the town with my favorite TJ Maxx, I feel the same sense of relief every time I leave there without incident too.

The bottom line is that you can’t let fear prevent you from living. Know the threats and prepare to avoid or face them the best you can. But you still have to live and enjoy life.

And I’m not just talking about hiking.

Wherever you are right now, you’re probably letting fear hold you back in some way. Fear could even be running your life or preventing you from doing what’s best for you.

It’s ok to be afraid. It is not ok to let fear prevent you from living the life you want and deserve.

Go for the hike. Take the leap, whatever it may be.

You may be surprised at how good it feels.