Yellow Jackets and Bananas

Lenny at Bent Creek - 2009/09/10

Yesterday, Lenny and I scouted his Bent Creek hike that he is leading for the Carolina Mountain Club. It’s September so the vegetation is high and so is the potential for yellow jackets.

I am very concerned about yellow jackets. When people talk about bears or snakes, I allay their fears. “When you deal with a bear or a snake, it’s a one-to-one confrontation. You have a chance. With yellow jackets, it’s you against their whole gang.”

So I am a sucker for anything that may keep them away. I spray myself with insect repellent. You’re concerned about Deet, you say? It’s not the best thing for your skin but I say “bring it on”.

I watch holes on the trail. Yellow jackets nest in the ground and I don’t want to disturb them with my walking stick.

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see a white something in the middle of Lenny’s pack. It’s our new yellow jacket protection. I read that fabric softener sheets keep insects away and that the US Postal Service recommends it for their mail carrier. That’s good enough for me.

So now, I put one in my pocket, one in my shorts belt loop and one on my pack. Does it work? I’m not really looking for scientific proof. With a sample size of one – me – I won’t experiment.

Which brings me to the banana – an old joke.

A man is sitting with a banana in his ear.

His friend comes over and says “Why do you have a banana in your ear?”

“To keep the elephants away.”

“That’s ridiculous,” his friend says. “There isn’t an elephant for thousands of miles.”

The guy with the banana in his ear says “You see how well it’s working.”

Turtle at Bent Creek - 2009/09/12Besides worrying about yellow jackets, I did see some better signs of wildlife.

It was the time for turtles.





First, a turtle on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.


Turtleheads at Bent Creek - 2009/09/12 Then lots of turtle heads.







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