I love to hike and fish. I realllllyyyyy like to hike and fish in the mountains, and I, without a shadow of a doubt, love to hike and fish for trout in the mountains….I do not like to be stung. As a matter of fact, getting stung ranks pretty low on my list of fun times, and even lower on my list is getting stung multiple times. I do not own an epipen. I should own an epipen. This is not an advertisement for that product, however, not all of us are stung as much as I was….
I used to love watching Bugs Bunny, and one of my favorite parts was something I’ll call the bee face. The bee face occurs when Elmer, Daffy, or another non heroic character gets swarmed by bees, runs with their head and or face (see…bee face) covered with bees and jumps into a pond….Now that! is classic humor; at least of the slapstick variety. And this digression into Warner Brothers cartoons brings us to Walnut fork creek…
Beautiful rushing water, shady rhododendrons, and mild summer temperatures are a recipe for trout and hiking and I was enjoying both. And yet I had a dilemna….Cross the creek at the fork, or continue upstream on the high bank….Well, upstream I continued, stepped on a log, over the other side and then stopped…..At this point imagine hundreds of ants biting you at once. Then wonder to yourself? How could ants be all over my face? Then realize that they are not ants at all. In a lifetime of thought that occurred in a split second, I realized I was being stung by wasps….
This handsome insect builds nests in holes in the ground. Nests that are perfect for an unwary person, miles from help to step on. Well, I reacted quickly in that I panicked and charged over to the creek edge and jumped blindly…..
In perfectly Elmer fudd fashion, I crashed down to the shallow, rocky creek below….I remember thinking, I’m going to break my leg, but somehow landed in a jagged, three feet deep pool. Then I took a nap underwater….for a long time. when I came up the yellow jackets ( who clearly adored me because they had patiently waited) were still there. I took a second watery nap….I came up refreshed, bruised, stung, and yellow jacket free….
I counted 16 stings that I could see (12 more were on my face and ears). It is my contention that the cold, mountain water helped neutralize the poison. Why do I think this? Because the next day, the biggest problem I encountered was bruises and lacerations from the rocks that helpfully cushioned my fall. And that is the end…Wait? Why is it called dedication? Well that’s easy. I kept hiking and fishing afterward….I saw one of the most lovely sunsets I’ve ever seen and ended that day with nothing but joy in my heart…And when I think back, I have only smiles when I remember my own, personal bee face day…Like I said earlier, this is not an advertisement for allergy relievers or insect masks, but it is a push for something. Go out and find yourself a reason to smile. you wont be sorry that you did.
David L Whitman 03/19/12 from under a sky so blue.