The other week I was sent out to the field to help one of my staff (lets call him D) work on a project at an archaeological site. Now, let me preface by saying I love the outdoors. I love being outside in the the fresh air, away from the crazy. But sometimes the great outdoors isn't so kind and last week became one for the books.
A seemingly pleasant start to the day
Day 1, 10 minutes in:
+ Crawled through an old barbed wire fence, scratched my arm, and crawled right through a spider web. Spider more than likely leapt into my hair and built a new web.
+ Realized my Girl Scout training failed me and I FORGOT MY BUG SPRAY! Florida mosquitos are something else. They are overly attracted to me (I know, I know, I'm so sweet!) and the bites swell to almost 4 times their normal size. At one point D thought I had been stung by bees on my face. I probably swatted at least 1 gajillion mosquitos and I swear none of them died, they only multiplied.
+ Traversed a 6 inch wide log across a small pond of water. Fell off the log. The fun thing about the swamp is that when it only looks like 1 foot of water it is a lie. D came to my rescue, gabbing my backpack and as I fumbled to my feet, my boots proceeded to sink into 3 feet of muck and I prayed there were no water moccasins floating near by. Using all of my energy, I pulled myself out of the jungle quicksand. My first instinct was to cry, but I had to be a big girl boss and plastered a huge smile on my face. No biggie.
+ D was a trooper and hacked through the thickest parts of the jungle with his machete. At one point we got a little turned around and made a huge circle, thankfully finding our flags (think break crumbs from Hansel and Gretel) from earlier.
+ Stumbled across hundreds of hog tracks and prayed again there were none around. D said calmly "Kate, if you hear any snuffing or grunting your best bet is to climb a tree." Wild hogs can be very dangerous and all I could think was, "I don't know how to climb a tree."
+ Found fresh bear poo...twice.
+ Was only steps away from disturbing a pygmy rattlesnake
+ By the time we got back to the office, everyone seemed to know that I had fallen into the water. And that when I fell, I looked like a turtle with my backpack on and legs in the air. Cute. My boss even came up to me and said in a very concerned voice, "I heard you had a rough day. Are you ok?" Not embarrassing at all.
When I got home, I counted over 70 mosquito bites on my arms and face. I literally looked like I had the chicken pox (or the measles) and was convinced I had definitely gotten Malaria or Dengue (so far no symptoms...)
+ Made it across the pond!
+ Remembered my bug spray. Thank you bug spray inventor.
+ Ripped the crouch of my pants open climbing through that darn ol' barbed wire fence.
+ Made it across the pond again! I could have easily been a gymnast in another life...
+ Ripped the back of my pant leg on that stupid barbed wire fence.
All I can say is that I am a survivor of the Florida jungle. I should get some sort of metal for bravery or courage. Or maybe just for being a girl who survived the worst mosquito attack of the century.