So my recent encounter with the bat got me thinking about other wildlife encounters I’ve had over the years. The proximity of this encounter to the 4th of July made me recall another such encounter from a 4th of July weekend a couple of years ago.
I had decided to spend the holiday weekend with some friends in lovely Crested Butte, and planned to drive up that Friday. About a week prior, I had been rear-ended, so my car had been in the shop, and I picked it up that morning, packed up and hit the road.
As anyone who has spent any time in Colorado knows, you can’t get to any of our lovely mountain towns without going over a mountain pass.
The pass I was crossing that weekend was Monarch: About 12 miles up and 12 miles down, with 2 lanes most of the way with an occasional third lane to pass.
About halfway up, I moved into one of these passing lanes to get around some of those sight seeing, slow pokes, and suddenly my car revs, revs again and dies completely.
In the middle lane. With heavy, holiday weekend traffic flowing by on both sides.
I’m still not 100% sure how, but somehow I made it back over to the side of the road and out of traffic before my car came to a complete stop.
I waited a few minutes and tried to start it back up. No luck.
And of course, there is no cell phone service on the middle of Monarch pass either.
Now, it’s a holiday weekend, and I’m on the path to the mountains, so there are a LOT of other cars flying by. Do you think anyone could be bothered to stop and see if I needed help?
Of course not.
After 15-20 min, when I realized help wasn’t going to appear, I decided I had no choice but to hoof it up the hill until I could get reception and call for help.
So that’s what I did. I made it up, made my call, and made it back down without any further issues.
When I got back to my car, I climbed back in to wait, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to work. It was July. And almost 90 degrees. It was hotter than blazes in my car. Mountain passes aren’t exactly known for having ample shoulders, so there were barely inches between my car and the traffic on one side and between my car and the steep up-side of the mountain on the other. I didn’t feel like adding getting hit by a car to my weekend, so I decided the hood of my car was probably the safest place for me.
The thought did occur to me that perhaps a stranded gal, sitting on the hood of her car in the middle of a mountain pass, may raise some curiosity among my fellow holiday travelers and maybe someone would finally stop.
No such luck. A few helpful people did lay on their horns as they went past. As if I was just sitting there for fun and to irritate them as much as possible.
Luckily, I had brought water with me. It’s Colorado. We don’t go far without water. So I sat on my hood, drank my water and waited for help to arrive.
After about an hour of waiting, I realized I was suffering the consequence of drinking my water. I needed a bathroom.
These are not that abundant in the middle of mountain passes.
I start weighing my options.
Like I said earlier, there was not much room between my car and the mountain cliff. And nothing but a very steep climb on that side.
Across the road, there was about a foot behind the guard rail before a very steep drop down. And not a lot of privacy options either way.
I decided to go with the down option and crossed the road and climbed over the guard rail. I thought if I could climb down just a little ways, at least the vital privacy portions of me would be blocked by the cliff face and I could make it work.
There was a fairly thick sapling that I thought might hold me and act as my “rope” to lower myself down a bit. Have I mentioned it was a very steep drop??
The sapling holds me, and I baby step down enough that I think I’m safe and decide to go about my business.
I’m squatted and balanced and almost through, when all of a sudden I am aware of a very intense burning and stinging on both of my legs.
I had been trying very hard not to look down and see how far I had to fall, but I looked down fast at that moment.
I was covered from my knees to my belt in red ants.
Yup, I had decided to rain on their anthill. I guess I couldn’t really blame them. They hadn’t asked for a flood.
Needless to say, privacy was no longer high on my priority list, and I jumped up, wildly dancing a jig. On the side of a cliff.
I managed to rid myself of my hitchhikers, get myself back together and back over the guard rail to flat ground.
Somehow that very unusual sight of a crazy lady dancing a wild jig was still not enough to catch any good Samaritan’s eye or cause even one person to tap the brakes to see if help may be in order.
Guess I didn’t need to worry about privacy so much after all .
Back on the hood of my car, I realized that now would not be a good time to find out I was allergic to red ants. Luckily, another hour later, when my help finally arrived, I had not passed out or gone into anaphylactic shock.
I still take all precautions to ensure outdoor bathrooms will not be needed in the future.