So we put up our tent, moved our food into the protective “ammo” boxes provided for that purpose, and generally prepared for the night. We could barely use our legs.
I set up the camping stove and started to boil some water for the dehydrated macaroni and cheese we were going to rehydrate. I have to say I was very excited about this. It was either going to be totally awful, or totally awesome. It turned out to be entirely edible, very rich and cheesy, like perfect buffet mac and cheese. Four stars.
Night fell pretty quickly so it was just us in the complete dark, sitting on a picnic table with our headlamps and a candle, sort of shell-shocked by the day. At some point I felt what seemed like two or three moths on my ankle. I pulled my leg up and focused my headlamp on it to swat them away, and what do I find? A SCORPION!!! On my ankle!
It walked a step or two (on me!). I focused intently on the stinging tail hanging ominously over its body, and then I flicked it off of me (incidentally in the direction of Stephanie, who, wearing flip-flops, was now completely on the picnic table bench). Realize it was pitch dark. So I’d just created another problem: we now had an unaccounted for scorpion wandering around in the dark.
So there I was, trying to find this sandy colored scorpion (the first live scorpion I’d ever seen in my life) in the sandy colored sand of our campsite, in the dark, and I was not having much luck. Did it have friends? Are scorpions poisonous? Deadly? I had no idea. Eventually I found it, and well, stomped on it. A lot. Dangerous bugs added a new dimension to camping that we hadn’t quite experienced before. Suffice it to say we slept with our hiking boots in the tent.
Later on that morning we stopped by the Phantom Ranch Lodge (nearby the campground) and they had a display of some local artifacts, including the following and appropriate display on scorpions:
The descriptive label in the photo reads:
SCORPIONS – TWO SPECIES
Contrary to popular belief, a scorpion will not kill you (unless you are allergic to them, a small baby, very old, or already very sick or weak). Probably more damage can be done to the victim by self induced shock due to fear than by the sting itself. But it hurts!
The small species is more poisonous!
I mean if I had been stung that night and realized it was a scorpion, I would have definitely harbored fears that I was going to die. The girl at the canteen said everyone who works there has been stung. Usually in bed. Fun.
“It won’t kill you, but it hurts like hell, 2 times a bee sting, and it shoots right up your nerves.”