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...)

Day 2:

+ 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.

Day 3:

+ 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.