A Handful of Hornets

A week ago I decided to leave work an hour early and get in some geocaching on my way to a meeting. I hop on my big scooter, and head to a random cache.

I park nearby, and walk over to ‘ground zero’ to begin my search. The notation on the GPS indicated it was an easy hide – no problem, I figured. I start looking at possible hiding spots. There’s a wooden walkway, with a solidly built bench attached to it. The bench is my first guess (a GPS will get you within maybe 10 feet, but it’s amazing how many places there may be to hide something in that radius) so I start giving it the once over. I hunker down and look under it, but I can only see a limited portion of the underside.

So, I reach up and start feeling around. I encounter something, not sure what, but I figure it’s probably the cache, so I pull it out.

In my hand are roughly two dozen yellow jackets, with more spilling down from under the bench. They’re just a bit sluggish, but they’re waking up fast. And angry. And vengeful. There’s probably some wrath in there, too.

Luckily, I’m lazy and hadn’t bothered to take off my riding gear. My glove is made of nice, protective leather.

I haven’t been stung – yet. But I suddenly have an overwhelming desire to be somewhere else. Anywhere else. Low earth orbit, for example. Or the Seychelles Islands, wherever they are. Heck, even back at the office would be fine. Just ‘away’. Now. So I start to move, as rapidly as conditions allow.

I make it about ten feet before things start to go bad. Er, worse. I’d started from a crouch, so my upper body had something of a head start over my legs. The resulting imbalance became untenable quickly, and before I knew it, I was tumbling head-over-heels across the turf. I came to an abrupt stop with enraged, heavily armed flying insects swarming the whole area.

I still wanted very much to be somewhere else, so I started crab-crawling as fast as I could, putting some more distance between me and the expanding enemy position.

Somehow, I managed to escape without a single sting – probably thanks to my helmet and armored riding jacket. The jacket had a nice swath of grass stain from the fall, as did both knees of my pants (yet another pair of ‘good’ pants trashed while caching – my wife will not be amused). Injuries sustained – strained muscles in both legs, a fast rising lump on the left knee (still sore a week later), and my dignity shredded beyond repair. Again. Injury and ignominy seem to happen to me a lot when I’m geocaching. And I go through an inordinate amount of pants.

Motorcycle safety gear – it’s not just for riding anymore!

1 Response

  1. The one silver lining is that apparently no one happened to videotape the incident, else it surely would have showed up on YouTube by now.

Leave a Reply