Many people say that Fall is their favorite time of year for hiking. Temperatures are cooler (but not this year). Views are clearer than in the summer and there’s more chance to see animals as they prepare for winter.
One of these creatures is yellow jackets. Unlike the bumble bee of spring that flits from flower to flower and avoids people, yellow jackets in fall seem to look for people to sting. They nest in the ground or under rocks and just wait for me to pass them on the trail.
Yesterday I got stung several times on both legs and now my right leg looks like it belongs on a small elephant. I am pulling all the stops – taking benedryl, icing and elevating my foot, and trying to stay off my feet. The area itches badly and I keep lathering myself with Hydrocortosone cream. I really need to get the swelling down as I have several days of hard MST hiking coming up.
But every incident, no matter how unpleasant, reveals some truth. I am miserable, itchy and swollen but I can’t wait to get back on the trail. I’m not thinking that I should stay out of the woods in autumn.
If I had a similar incident biking, I might decide that biking was unsafe and just pack it in. Obviously, I’ve had years and years of hiking pleasure and just started biking again and right now it’s not a pleasure.
But, hey, look on the bright side, I’m unlikely to get stung by yellow jackets biking the road.