Ever get completely spooked, unexpectedly? While we are in the scary, spooky season of Halloween, seemingly outrageous events can come out of nowhere. Ever have a friend call out of the blue? Or, an
amazing opportunity to come out of the abyss with no head’s-up? It’s amazing what ensures thereafter.

While training for a mountaineering expedition, John and I were going to meet up at the trailhead about two and a half hours away. John was coming from southbound so coordinating a time and location
worked best. We were prepared to hike 10 miles in, set up camp then hike the remaining miles the
following day. This approach would best mimic distance and elevation gain/loss during my actual
mountaineering trip.

On a gorgeous fall day, we set out at sunrise with the last Indian summer fast making the shady, cool
temps flourish to a soft sweat glow amongst the heat. As with any hike, we encountered are series of
uphill and downhills. My aggravated plantar fasciitis, left me wobbling down the trail favoring the other leg. John asked if I was okay. Unwilling to acknowledge my pain, I kept hiking at a slower pace. I was determined to continue the mountaineering training. Plus, I already drove two and a half hours to get there.

As we hiked, the beautiful vistas reminded me of the power of nature to soothe any pain. Nothing beats being in the middle of nowhere with no phones ringing or notifications beeping away. Cell phones
didn’t work here. The peacefulness opened my heart to all the beauty that surrounded us.

Then without warning, something slithered across the rocky dirt path. I stopped immediately causing my
heavy fifty-pound backpack to push up against my neck throwing my head forward. As my head regained alignment, “sssss”.

My eyes were wide open without moving my body further.

Within a second, I knew what we encountered.

I gently turned my head, putting my finger to my mouth, motioning to Joh. “Shhhhh”.

I pointed to what was down the trail about ten feet away.

A full coiled-up timber rattlesnake hissed with his head perked up high. In a full-on strike position, this was no joke. With what seemed to be a 3-foot snake, I started calculating how far the snake could jump
and bite. We had no cell phone reception and only about seven miles into the ten-mile hike before camp, many questions rapidly went through my head.

With utter calmness, I continued with hand gestures and no words. My body was poised, stern, and determined. I pointed to a very steep embankment of dirt and leaves. We slowly scrambled up this
the embankment, so steep we pulled on tree roots and vines, hoping we wouldn’t stumble upon any other wild animals.

Giving us at least 20 feet around the snake, we slowly made our way through the forest and back onto the path. John jokingly laughed it’s a timber rattle, common in this area. Thinking to myself, oh, how
lovely. These are common in the area. While John knows this area well, this was my first time on this particular mountain range.

Suddenly, another timber rattler slithered across the trail and onto the other side of the trail not to be seen again.
As my heart rate calmed, we came upon the campsite next to a small creek. What a beautiful place to set up a tent and sleep for the night. How peaceful and relaxing. As I took off my backpack, I could only
think about more timber rattlers in the area. What would happen if I woke up in the middle of the night to pee and didn’t see it? Then, what? It seemed reckless.

After a few minutes of contemplation, I was not comfortable staying here. While hiking another four miles, seemed unappealing I dug down deep into my power core. Putting my backpack back on, I gathered every ounce of courage to continue hiking. The last four miles were straight uphill.

At sunset, we emerged back at our cars. Fourteen miles and nine hours of hiking with a fifty-pound pack.
Oh, my body ached. Well, that sure was training! Whether I would have been a reckless rebel to stay with snakes around or stepped into my audacious power by hiking out, that’s anyone’s call to make.

When you get signs, do you trust your intuition? Sometimes these gentle nudges show that something feels off, while others come as a sudden layoff from a job. Whether it’s small or smacked you in the face,
the question lies, what bold action will you take from here?

When signs appear, what invigorates you to boldly move forward comes from the passion within. This navigation suddenly becomes playful.

Wishing you an abundant, joyful, and prosperous day!

Lora Polowczuk
Chief Energy Officer

© 2022. Lora Polowczuk. All Rights Reserved.