It was a beautiful morning. The four youngest Jameslets and I were enjoying a lovely hike through the Wasatch mountains. The flowers were in full bloom, butterflies lazily winged past us, and there was just enough of a gentle breeze to keep us cool.
There were also fresh berries to munch on…
And bridges to cross…
And benches to rest on…
And lizards to stalk…
And a glacial rock slide for the kidlets to explore…
(Those rocks went on FOREVER. Bitsy couldn’t handle the climb up, so you’ll have to take my word for it.)
Eventually, Joshua grew weary of chasing lizards on the rocks, so we began the return hike. Bitsy had become angry with me when I suggested that she might have eaten a few too many berries.
She sought refuge on Emma’s shoulders.
Soon, the munchkins discovered some giant, dandelion-like flowers to blow the puffs off.
I spied a perfect specimen just a few feet off the trail. “Jakob, go blow on that one right over there so I can take a picture of you,” I commanded. He obliged, and began puffing away while I waited for the autofocus to kick in on my camera.
And that’s when I felt it. A hot, tight pinch on my leg. And then another one. I looked down, and to my horror saw that I was standing right in the middle of an angry wasp tornado. My keen observational skills had failed to detect the nest that I was now standing on.
“Bees! There are bees everywhere!” I shouted.
And then I RAN – I ran like the girl that I am. I could tell that the munchkins were still alive by the screaming and crying I heard in the background.
“I’ve been stung!” Josh shouted.
“Me too!” wailed Jakob.
“Run faster!” I hollered.
Did you know that an angry hornet can pursue you for a distance of 80 to 100 yards? We tested that theory and found it to be false. It was more like half a mile. Or maybe five. But eventually, the angry buzzing stopped. We were safe.
I paused right after a bend in the trail. Joshua came crying around the curve, followed by a tearful Jakob. And then…and then…and THEN….
Nothing. Em and Elisabeth were not behind me. DRAT! Either Emma had been stung too many times and had gone into anaphylactic shock and was now lying unconscious on the trail being eaten alive by a horde of angry Africanized Yellowjackets (what do you mean, there’s no such thing?) while Elisabeth was going native and dancing around a fire while eating a raw fish she had just caught with her bare hands, OR they had just run off in the opposite direction. I was betting on the latter, but hoping for the former, because let’s face it – that would be cool.
I looked at the boys. They looked somewhat like this:
There was NO WAY I was going to get them to go back up that hill.
I checked on their battle wounds – one sting on Josh’s arm, one on Jakob’s hand – told them not to get eaten by a bear, and began jogging back up the trail in search of my missing offspring. As I passed the wasps’ nest, I could hear them buzzing sadly. I hummed nonchalantly, hoping they wouldn’t notice that I was the evil giant who had destroyed their once beautiful home. Most of them fell for it, but one particularly suspicious fellow buzzed angrily around my head for the entire rest of the hike. He was tenacious, that one.
Eventually, I found the girls. They were happily playing in the water. They were also unstung. Apparently, UP was the way to run.
It took some convincing, but eventually Emma agreed to rejoin the boys at the bottom of the hill, braving the hive of fury as she went. And then she got stung. My bad.
When we found the boys, they still looked like this:
They perked up as they saw us coming down the trail. “Mom, what do you think the world record for bee stings is?” Josh asked as he surveyed the carnage of my legs.
“How come you stepped in that wasp nest?” Jakob added.
“I can’t wait to tell Dad!”
“What kind of wasps do you think those were?”
“Can we go on this hike again?”
The good news: I am definitely not allergic to wasp stings.
The bad news: I am TOTALLY allergic to whatever mean creature bit me on the knee the next day. It’s been almost a week, and my knee is still red and puffy and burning and sore.
But the hike was AWESOME!