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May 25, 2010 > Rattlesnake Rendezvous returns

Rattlesnake Rendezvous returns

By Sargunjot Kaur
Photos By courtesy of Cat Taylor

Time travel may not be a fantasy. The East Bay Regional Park District is hosting its 27th annual Rattlesnake Rendezvous that invites a courageous band of adventurous minded residents to a temporary Stone Age village living environment. Fire-starting, flintknapping, spears, arrows, cordage, open-fire cooking, music, tracking, beads and a variety of activities at the rendezvous event engages individuals of nine years or older to experience the rigors and satisfactions of more primordial days as closely as possible. "We do not try to re-create any one primitive culture, but do strive as much as possible to live in the old ways and leave the modern world behind, at least for a weekend," says Cat Taylor, Naturalist and Special Event Coordinator.

The village is located about seven miles from the Sunol Wilderness Interpretive Center, at Camp Ohlone. Aside from modern sleeping gear and clothing, participants will thoroughly undergo a Stone Age revolution. Instructors, members of the Society of Primitive Technology, will take the group on hikes to learn about ethnobotany, tracking, nocturnal animals, and naked-eye astronomy. Aside from sight-seeing experiences, villagers will get the chance to partake in many hands-on activities including: making California Indian flutes, soapstone carving, basketry, arrow making, pit-oven cooking, cooking on an open fire (without any metal objects), throwing spears with bows and arrows, music, drumming, playing didgeridoos, and falconry demonstrations, to name but a few.

As for the necessities such as food, feasts will be communal in pit-oven style. So for breakfast, individuals will be shown how to bake biscuits on a stick and eggs inside onions over coals. No pans or stove will be allowed. Rather dishware around the campfire consists of gourd or wooden bowls, abalone shells, wooden chopsticks, mussel-shell spoons, clay pots for cooking and green willow sticks cut on site to roast kabobs. "This has become a favorite of families who want to show their children a different way of life, to reconnect to nature and to each other," explains Taylor.

The weekend rendezvous is a great way for individuals to refine survival skills and experience life without Facebook, smart phones and many modern conveniences that we take for granted. Those interested in learning about the past or just becoming closer with the natural world can get no closer than this first-person experience. "People have told me that this event is life changing, that they see the world through different eyes after one weekend," says Taylor.

The Rattlesnake Rendezvous is a long held tradition and one of the most unique programs offered by the East Bay Regional Park District.

Rattlesnake Rendezvous
Saturday, May 29 through Monday, May 31
9 a.m. (Saturday) - 2 p.m. (Monday)
Camp Ohlone - Sunol Regional Wilderness
1895 Geary Road, Sunol
(510) 544-3249
(888) 327-2757), option 3, extension 4559

Reservations Required.
Participation for ages 9 years and older only.
Children: Resident $45/ Non-resident $51
Adults: Resident $90/Non-resident $102

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