Happy New Year to one and all!! I hope the old year treated you well and the one that lay before us is full of hope and blessings.
Yesterday, my mom and Kevin had the day off. So we packed up the car and headed to Fort DeSoto Park. It's home to the Spanish fort after which it is named. It's now a large park/nature reserve/beach/camping/picnic area. We used to go there when I was younger all the time. It really is a beautiful and fun place to visit.
The day started out swimmingly enough. We tried to start the fire in the grill and realized we'd left the lighter fluid at home and the charcoal I'd bought was not quick lighting. So we began collecting dried palm frans and sticks and Spanish moss and anything else we though would burn long enough to ignite the charcoal. Once we had the fire going, we had plenty of time to explore while the charcoal warmed.
Kevin and I saw some rocks jutting out into the water which I found necessary to assess their accessibility. After switching to sneakers (out of flip flops), I turned up the shirt part of my skorts and started off. Was this my tragic downfall of the day? We may never know. But, off I went. Climbing over the sea wall to the rocks below, through the mangroves which carefully guarded the middle section of rocks, out to the larger rocks sitting alone in the blue water. Ha ha!! I made it, and without a single body part wet, cut, or scratched. There was a young boy out there (whom I hadn't seen upon first glance), so I left him to his fishing and returned to shore to retrieve my boyfriend before heading back to the picnic site where my mom was tending to lunch.
Once back, Kevin and I decided to climb the trees. Well, I decided to climb the trees and coerced him into joining me. Perhaps this was my tragic downfall... Like the monkey my mom deemed me as a child, I joyfully scaled the trees in the picnic site, careful not to get myself to a point of no return. Kevin wasn't nearly as adventuresome. We'll have to work on that.
Lunch was pleasant, grilled chicken marinated in my great-grandmother's blonde barbeque sauce, potato salad, and chips...with room for desert. No picnic would be complete without roasted marshmallows and S'Mores!!!
Then we packed up and started to head out, not before checking out the bicycle rentals and ferry costs, for another day. As we were getting back into the car, I felt something biting me on my neck. I reached up to flick it off and felt something furry that wasn't being dislodged easily. As it continued to bite, I started to panic. I jumped out of the car trying desperately to get this creature off of me. Kevin ordered me to stop moving and finally flicked it off of me. I was already in immense pain and my neck was red, starting to swell where I had been affected. My mom's tone of voice was disturbing as she insisted we collect the furry little creature "in case we need it later."
The pain increased as I tried to convince myself that it was off of me and there wasn't another one on me. We drove toward the exit, stopping at the Ranger Station. They had seen and heard tales of the specimen my mother showed them. They pulled out there book of wildlife to be found at the park and encountered the Puss Caterpillar, the most deadly caterpillar in the world. Okay, maybe I'm being a bit over dramatic, but rest assured, they are the most poisonous in the United States. Most of the stuff I've found online refers to a single sting on the hand (usually obtained from touching this creature). However, I have repeated stings across the back of my neck. I have to say, this is one of the most painful things I've ever been through. Probably second only to the time I sliced the bottom of my foot open, needing 6 stitches (please note, while female, the author has yet to join the reproductive ranks, thereby unable to compare to the expected trauma of childbirth).
I spent the rest of the day laying down, doped up on bendryl, with cream smeared all over me. I felt MISERABLE. When the little creature stowed away on my neck, I may never know. However, I know that I WILL be more careful in the future.
Here's to hoping the rest of the year runs a bit more smoothly!!