Notes from the Birdhouse – Just Touch It

We originally published this story on 8/8/2011
Hub, daughter Stella and I set out on a cache I had been eyeing for months.   As we rolled up, the GPS said the cache, “Rotten to the Core”, was to the left and almost straight up. “No Way!” yells Hub. He points out the description says a gentle incline.  He insisted we turn around and go to a forest trailhead about a quarter of a mile back.  I thought, ‘This was going to take forever if we do it his way!’ And with that thought, I started complaining.

“This is not right.” I mumbled.

No one heard my skepticism, so… I said it LOUDER! Hub kept on walking. Stella had a slight shift of the eyes and a look of doubt on her face but kept on walking too. We walked down the valley with the sound of thunder rolling behind us.

After about a quarter of the way into the trail, it got a little eerie. The further we walked the darker and quieter it became. Bear poop was everywhere and the carcass of a half eaten elk was under a tree. EEEKKK.   Soon the only sound I heard was the sound of our own shoes on the forest floor and, of course, me still whining.

It felt like we walked for miles, until hub says, “I think this is it”. The clue for the cache was, “next to a ghostly moss covered tree” and there stood a magnificent tree covered with moss.   Well, I’ll be dang!  He was getting pretty good at this game and he loves it when he is right. 

We all head over to the discovery. Then I heard Stella start to complain of something biting her.

“Mom!” she says in a panic. ” Touch this plant and see if it pokes you.”

“NO! Are you crazy?” I asked her.


So…..I touched it.

“&@%~ IT, Stella!” I yelled. She started laughing uncontrollably. I think from relief that she had not been bitten or maybe it was the little ‘OMG it hurts’ dance I was doing.  My hand started swelling up like a puffer fish. It was stinging so bad that I instinctively put it to my mouth to try to cool it down. Within seconds, my tongue was on fire! I was scrambling for the first aid kit. Daughter and I had blisters all over our hands and they were getting bigger by the second. We were lost somewhere between hysterical laughter and the agony of pain.   Hub yells from the top of the hill to ask what the holdup was.  I could not believe he asked that question.  I mean, he was watching the whole thing from above.  I felt a wave of furious envelope me and I proceeded to yelled at him that we had been stung.  But the words I heard coming out of my face were more like.

“Lee R tung!” My tongue was SWOLLEN! “Whaaa?”

“Wha ist this tuff???” I beg in a panic to my husband.

“Stinging Nettles.” he says laughing from the top of the hill.

Upon hearing this, I lost all interest in yelling at Hub, however, I did feel like reaching over and strangling the teen that stood before me, especially after she says, “Good, at least I was not bitten.” in the way that only a teen, who did not want to be out with her parents in the first place, could say it.   I could not find anything in the First Aid kit for stings.   I did find a sterile wipe and Neosporin.  Daughter wiped off her hands and applied the medicine. It only helped enough to knock off the intense pain. I, on the other hand, had to wait until it wore off because Neosporin is for topical use only. (I could have killed that kid) Before we knew what was happening, I start screaming “EEEEES, EEEES” and swatting like mad. BEES were everywhere. Not a swarm but enough to make me scream like a banshee. When I opened my eyes they were gone.

“Pobabe goin ta det the est of de hibe!” I tell Stella.  (Translation: Probably going to get the rest of the hive.)

In my current state of pandemonium, I looked at my daughter and say as cool and as calm as I could, “Zets doe det da tedgger.” (T: Lets go get the treasure.)

I start up the hill with hub’s and my backpack pulling a whining teenager by her shirt.  That was an extra 70 lb. on a steep incline. Hub notices my predicament but does nothing other than to tell me to drop the packs.  “NO!” I screeched with all the furiousness returning.  I reminded him the gun was in the pack and if that bear came back for his dinner we could be his dessert. I could just read it now in the Mountain Monthly,  “Geo Cachers killed by bear, their only protection in a pack AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL.  Here’s yer sign!”

We finally made it up to the little treasure cache and put some bubbles and Neosporin back in for the next player. As we start to leave, hub says take a left. I head left.  Suddenly I was feeling all alone.   I looked up and found myself standing in the clearing all alone and discombobulated.  I looked behind me.  That is when I find Hub and Daughter heading in the opposite direction.  With every step, they were laughing their heads off.  I gave one last look at my surroundings and for a brief moment imagined the bees returning madder than a hatter.  I ran like a crazy woman all the way back to the car.

I loved every MINUTE of it!!!  What a ‘tan tatic day’ Nettles and all.

June 16th is our grand opening.  I still have no idea what will be served but you can bet that Kazumi has something wonderful planned.

Will see you here at the new location 306 Burro inside the Cloudcroft Hotel Mall from 4:30-6:00.

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