September 07, 2005
NO POLICE, JUST STING
On Labor Day Julie, Sally and I drove out I-90 East about 45 miles to hike to Talapus Lake. It was an easy hike of just over 4 miles round trip. The elevation gain seems to be up for grabs as I've read four different numbers on four different sources - 600, 800, 1,000, and 1,200 feet. Regardless, the switchbacks made the climb gradual and the trail was often wide. This is a good hike for a hot day because it's almost completely wooded.
We were just about to the lake when we heard a substantial thud. Where would a noise like that come from in the woods? Was someone dropping rocks from the trees? Almost. A large, heavy pinecone came rolling our way. We stopped to investigate but suddenly Sally let out a yelp. Something had stung her, more than once. Then something stung me. Julie had hightailed it and suffered no stings. Sally and I ran and swatted and swore and swatted. By the time we reached the lake I took three stings and Sally five or six. Even a young dude who was packing up his camp with his buddy took a sting on the nose from a buzzer who followed us to the lake. Whether bees or yellow jackets or hornets, the stings smarted something fierce. The swelling and pain was gone the next day for me but Sally dealt with itching for a couple of days.
We ate our respective lunches then headed back to the car, quizzing hikers on their bee experience. Some faired as poorly as we did and some came through unscathed.
It was a really nice hike in spite of the bug bites. But I'd like to give big thumbs down to all the damn hikers who brought dogs and let them run free. This is bad for the preservation of the trails not to mention risky for the dogs and other hikers. Folks who dig the outdoors and hiking should know this - DO know this. So what the hell is the problem? We saw plenty of dogs and only two on leashes. Pitiful and unacceptable. Get it together you lazy-ass dog owners or leave the animals at home.