Yesterday, all of the forces of technology united against me. I’m convinced I was on some sort of technological hit list. I literally could not get anything electronic to work in my favor. To the tune of two separate GPS devices leading me astray on the same trip. That kind of thing, only repeated multiple times with different objects and mounting frustration.

This, although an enemy to my blood pressure, was probably a favor in disguise. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Colorado – a balmy but breezy 82 degrees with blue skies and sunshine. And in October, no less! Since I had no internet, blogs, or emails to keep my interest pinned inside I spent the morning reading and writing outside and the afternoon running and biking on a local trail. Beyond being a glorious dose of outdoor lovin’, it was also a primer in Colorado Culture. I learned the following:

1. Mile High Elevation is No Joke.

When I say I spent the afternoon running on a local trail, I am using the term running fairly loosely. My agonized panting after a mere 5 minutes could be due to the fact that I haven’t exerted Jillian Michaels worthy physical effort in the past month…or even Average Joe’s Gym worthy (10 points to anyone who can site that movie!). Aside from the similarly regrettable “run” in Montana, I’ve been spending most days either behind the wheel or behind the computer screen, not behind the treadmill control panel.

But aside from that…I really do think the elevation played a role in my pathetic run-walk-run-gasp-for-air escapade. My head kind of felt like it was going to explode, and that is not a normal symptom of just being out of shape. I have a whole new respect for Denver athletes: well done, my friends. Well done. Until I reach your level of thin air acclimation, I’ll be the one with the oxygen tank shoved into the water compartment of my CamelBak.

2. Insect Infestation, Old Testament Style.

This was a Montana lesson as well, but really, running in this section of the west is like running in Egypt during the plague. There are grasshoppers everywhere. In Montana, they were mostly all the same: big, brownish green, and ubiquitous. In Colorado they’re significantly more interesting and look a little like butterflies when they flit from place to place. But still, they’re unavoidable, especially when running or biking. If grasshopper murder was a crime, I would be charged as a serial killer.

3. When Someone Says Snake, They Mean Snake.

On the bike portion of yesterday’s outing I brought along my camera to snap a few pictures of the trail (to be shared at a later date since I’m still on technology’s black list). I was taking pictures of few trees on the side of the path when a biker rode by and shouted, “Snake!” just as casually and jovially as if he were shouting, “On your left!”

Now, let’s talk about something.

I’m from New York. (And no, not the City, although another thing I’ve learned is that it’s unnecessarily necessary to insert the precursor “upstate” before New York whenever I tell anyone where I’m from. Otherwise, they will automatically assume I’m from New York City. Really, people…the City, though densely populated in citizens and attractions, is just one small part of the state. Come on, now. Be reasonable.) And while I didn’t grow up in the most urban of environments, I’m still not enough of a country girl to escape unfazed from the exclamation of “Snake!” Especially when, a few hours prior, I had read the trail’s advisory information on what to do if you spot a rattlesnake.

Back to the story.

Biker shouts, “Snake!”

It took me awhile to register that information. Snake? As in a twisty road? As in some sort of Colorado greeting I know nothing about? Oh, snake. As in the rattlesnakes I just read about.

To which I responded, “SERIOUSLY?!”

By that time Paul Revere had already pedaled away, leaving me quaking in my non-snake-bike-resistant boots. I was on high alert, recalling to mind everything I’ve ever learned in text or on screen about what to do if bitten by a rattler. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the culprit:

A foot long garden snake.

Thanks, Paul. That was totally worth the four years it took off my life.

Next, I’m planning on learning the lesson of how many trips to Whole Foods equal too many trips to Whole Foods. I’m guessing somewhere in the triple digits, or when security forcibly removes you from the premises.

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