The Snake on the Hike
My husband runs a yeshiva, Toras Dovid, in Monsey, NY. There are a number of bachurim who stayed in the yeshivah for Bein HaZemanim, so we made a joint trip with them and my family.
My family and I, along with 9 bachurim, show up to the parking lot of the park/hiking trails. We immediately saw that there were a lot of very immodestly dressed women there. My husband said, "We can't stay here. We have to go somewhere else."
One carload of bachurim got into the car and went to scout for another park in the vicinity. The rest of the bachurim and my family went to the other side of the parking area and faced away from the other people. After a bit of time, the other groups went down the hiking trail, and it was just our group and one other (Jewish) group left in the parking area. We waited a bit (still waiting to hear from the scout group), and I said, "By now, the other (immodest) groups are far ahead. Maybe we can go on the hiking trail now and we won't see them."
I started walking towards the entrance of the trail, pushing a stroller, with my young kids walking alongside. We were not more than a few feet into the trail when a really BIG rattlesnake slithered right onto the road, maybe a foot and a half away from us. The snake was at least 3 - 4 feet long, and I clearly saw his rattle. Hearts pounding, we hurried away from the hiking trail.
I did some research after the hike, and identified the snake as a Timber Rattler - a highly poisonous snake that inhabits that area where we were hiking. If bitten by this snake and not treated properly, one dies within 2 - 3 days.
My aunt, who was with us, commented, "Maybe the snake was a sign that we shouldn't go there, as we may see immodestly dressed people." Now, later at night, I am reading up on this thought and I see that this link is indeed brought down in the Torah.
To quote Yaakov Nadel, founder of GYE (Guard Your Eyes) in his article "One Forbidden Tree" -
We must also not allow ourselves to gaze upon the forbidden fruit, for this was the very thing that brought Chava to their great downfall; "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes"....
When Hashem asked Chava why she had eaten from the fruit, her answer was: " הַנָּחָשׁ הִשִּׁיאַנִי, וָאֹכֵל". Chazal say that she used a lashon of "ishus" because the nachash had seduced her with carnal desires.
Perhaps Hashem sent us the snake to warn us - don't go down that road. As the Torah says: "Don't be misled by your heart and eyes" (Numbers 15:39)
We left that park and went to another, more secluded, park area which the scout group had found, and we had a wonderful time.