I'd hate to run in to one of those bad boys all curled up in my path, rattle shakin', ready to strike. That's more than a little scary. That, and gila monsters, javalenas, scorpions and maybe a mountain lion. But never BEES. I've never been afraid of a cute little honey bee.
Until last week.
It was hiking day once again on the ole' Wind Caves Trail. This time I was going with some guys who knew how to get to the summit, which is about .5 miles up from the actual caves. The trail gets a little confusing once you pass this point. And we were climbing over boulders, dodging cactus and squeezing by ledges -- all for the glorious views from the Superstition Mountains.
We rounded a bend nearly to the summit and over my right shoulder, I heard -- then saw -- the largest swirling mass of black Africanized bees I'd ever seen. Ooh, that is NOT a fun sound to hear.
Steve, one of my fellow hikers and former park ranger at this very park let out the loudest screaming expletive that I've ever heard and started high tailing his way down the mountain. You could hear the bees start to get irritated that we had ventured near their domain and suddenly, they were upon us.
Lyndon, the other hiker, kept yelling out to us "Bees can smell fear. Back away slowly. Don't get them agitated!" (Lyndon recently ran with the bulls in Pamplona, so I'm not putting too much stock in his advice).
|Not the actual hive, but similar.|
Suddenly Mr. Bee freed himself from my tangled hair and launched his final suicide mission up over my head and down into my tank top, leaving his stinger dead center in my chest. My anxiety abated but the pain grew as I realized his bulls eye gift was painful indeed. Yet happily, I was free of the hysterical insect. Silence was never so sweet.
Bee stings hurt. And itch. And I'm not sure what brings relief except constantly scratching that dang bite. I've learned my lesson, Mr. Bee. I'll stay away. The Wind Caves summit is your to enjoy. I respect your territory, and I'll choose another summit next time.