We met too early in the morning, which accounted for our goofy behavior, but I feel that goofy is one of the better emotions to begin the day with. The seven of us (Myself, Jay, Kessi, Jon, Jeremiah, Megan, and Calvin) caravan-ed our two cars out to Albany where we added an eighth member (Josiah) to our crew. A quickish stop at the store and we were off!
We stopped at a little diner for breakfast right off the highway...I actually have no idea what the place was called, but it was phenomenal. We did have to wait a while for our food, but it was well worth the wait. Our portions were more than generous (I gave half of mine to the fellas I was sitting with) and the prices were more than fair. Many of us opted for the "Super Special" which consisted of two eggs, two links, and a giant (I mean GIANT) pancake (one pancake was probably the size of 4 normal ones.) for a grand total of $4.25.
We made our way to Green Peter Reservoir, passing through Lebanon and parts of Sweet Home, and ended at a place called Thistle Creek. I'll admit, I did choose the spot partially because of its name. I just really like thistles. And it didn't disappoint! I did see one thistle off the trail, and that was enough for me =)
We parked in a nearly empty parking lot - where there was no fee for the day use area! - and unloaded. My poor little sister started feeling sick so she stayed up top in the picnic area with a book. But the rest of us grabbed snacks, fishing poles, and swim suits and headed down the trail.
There is a reason the area is called "Green Peter", the water is colored a stunning emerald green and looks like sea glass from higher up the mountain. The view was terrific and I was, not for the first time this summer, struck by how lovely our state is and how incredibly glad I am to live here. We settled on a spot that we felt could have some decent fishing advantages as well as swimming space for those who weren't fishing.
Megan and I had gone back up the trail a ways to make sure that where the guys were headed was where we wanted to settle for fishing, and we decided that they were right and the place they were at would do. So we went back and began the little climb down to the water.
The park we were at was heavily wooded and although the trail was clearly marked and well maintained, the trees around it were showing signs of the warm months. The fallen trees had become mossy and rotten during the winter, but had dried up and turned brittle in the summer heat. It was messy, but definitely looked safe and harmless. I looked at where the guys had climbed down and saw a spot just barely up the trail that looked like a more gradual climb and I thought that would be better seeing as both Megan and I had our hands full.
We began to tromp through the corroded mess, excited to have a grand old time. We walked past this old fallen log and I leaned on it for support as I tried to decide where my foot should step next. This was when things took a turn.
Megan gave a short shriek and I asked, "you ok?"
"There was a bug. Oh my gosh, it bit me!"
I turned around to brush whatever was on her off, and was met by something I had not anticipated. Black wasps, so big I thought they were beetles at first, were swarming around my friend, covering her back and landing on her arms.
I reached for her to help, but she was already running back up the hill. That was when they began to come after me. I hadn't realized we were in trouble until I felt the panic of not being able to get them off me. I dropped my things, abandoning them where Megan had hers, and ran. Megan reached the top and ran right, I ran left, both of us trying to get the nasty creatures off of our skin. My brother heard our screams from the bottom of the hill and had been hollering, asking what was wrong. Somehow, I don't know if Megan or I had screamed that there were bees, or if he had seen them chasing us, but he figured it out and began yelling instructions.
"TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF!" Came the order from the water. I was already ahead of him there and had stripped off my flannel, leaving it on the trail and running away from the mess of stingers and sharp teeth (or whatever wasps have in their mouths). I stood at the top of the hill shaking, watching the wasps swarm around our abandoned things. I'm not sure who asked what, they guys' voices were kind of mushed together in my brain at this point, and I couldn't see any of them. But someone asked if we were ok and what we wanted to do and all I could think was that I wanted my fishing pole. Which was just plain silly because there was no way I was going to venture back down there for a fishing pole and knowing how the stings felt, I was definitely not going to ask anyone else to.
It is no secret that I have a very -healthy in my opinion- fear of flying insects, especially things that can hurt me, specifically bee and wasp type creatures. I thought I was scared then, but that the worst was over and soon they'd settle and Megan and I would be able to walk down where the guys had previously stepped and it would be fine. It was right then that a few wasps began to fly around my head, landing on my arms. I ran a few steps down the trail - my scream alerting the guys (who were waiting for the wasps to settle so they could come up to us) and I heard Jeremiah say that they might have marked us. Apparently wasps and some bees are not only equipped to sting over and over without losing their stinger and dying, but they also mark their enemies so that they can find them by smell and finish off the job. I'm fairly certain I was marked as a threat because they chased me. Literally. I ran, and they flew in a straight line behind me.
When I couldn't hear them anymore, I stopped running to catch my breath and try to sort out what was happening in my brain. I can't remember the last time I've felt so terrified. You can call me a big wuss if you want, but this was horrific for me. So I stood there watching my hand shake and trying not to cry, when *Bonk!* ANOTHER ONE HIT ME. I didn't take the time to count, I just ran. I know I heard my brother yelling something, but I don't know what or if it was to me or not.
They took care of poor Megan, who got stung much more than me, and in much worse places. But she was able to stay pretty close by because I suppose they were too busy chasing me to keep bothering her. Once the guys had given her neosporin and made sure she wasn't going to have a heart attack, my brother came to find me. I was a fair distance back up the trail by the time he found me =P But he was really good at being a calming presence and telling me to buck up at the same time. We headed back down the trail where Megan met us with neosporin and deodorant (Thanks to Jeremiah! Apparently deodorant helps to hide the scent that they use to mark enemies so we weren't such a target anymore.) When we got back to the "path" to the water, we were met by Calvin risking being stung and retrieving our things. Both with his hands and long sticks =P What a guy =)
I did my best to kind of patch Megan up, she got stung up her back and a couple of places on the back of her arms that she couldn't reach. We picked up our newly rescued things and walked carefully down to the water, where Megan and I spent pretty much the entire day. We were glad for the water both because of paranoia/fear and because the cool temperature was soothing on our war wounds. We spent the day floating on a log and performing acrobatic tricks that required great skill also on said log, and watching the fellas create a raft and paddles from various logs and materials they found.
Despite the pain and fear, it really was an incredibly fun day. I am so blessed by the friendship I have with these guys (and Megan and Kessi!). It is so awesome to know that I have so many men in my life who are protective of me and care enough for me to have my back and take care of me when I'm hurt or scared.
We plan on going back to Green Peter someday, Megan wants to, in her words, "extract my revenge and kill them all!" and we also want to fish and enjoy the beauty of the place without worrying about everything we hear buzz.
Thanks for reading =)
P.S. Yes, I know we did destroy the wasps' home and they had every right to defend it - I apologized to them, but I don't speak wasp so I think my meaning got lost in translation.
Also, in case anyone is interested, we're pretty sure this is what got us. Apparently they have one of the most painful stings in the wasp family. This made us feel much less like big babies for whining about the pain just when the wind blew across our injuries =P