Be prepared

I must have been a shitty Brownie and Girl Guide.

Or maybe I’m too hard on myself. After all, that was 30 years ago.

How the heck am I supposed to remember what poison ivy looks like? Hmmm … because you’ve considered yourself a pretty darn good hiker in the mountains for the last few years?


We packed up the truck and headed for one night of ‘roughing it’ in Farragut State Park, Idaho. Yes, one night only … that’s enough of a test for a seven-month relationship.

We set up the tent and got all settled into our site — translation: cracked a couple of ice-cold beer — before we strolled down to Lake Pend Oreille.

My camera in one hand, Shep’s leash in the other. A fishing rod in his hands.

Shep raced for the water, a cool respite on a sweltering Idaho day. I found new-to-me wildflowers.

Camping 015

And Our American had a successful day casting his line.

Camping 067

While he stood in the water, waiting for his second catch-and-release of the day, Shep and I ambled down the trail. We passed by a beach crowded with suntanning moms and swimming kids. We went through the boat launch and found some beach areas where Shep could safely run into the water off his leash.

It’s really his happy place: off-leash and wading in water.

Camping 020

I secured his leash for the walk back to find Our American. But back down the beach, a fellow was playing with his bully and Shep was curious. He tugged a bit on his leash and I tripped over some erosion on the beach.

I landed on my hand, a jagged rock digging deep into my palm.

My camera was in my other hand and suffered a good jolt.

I didn’t pay attention to the plant I’d fallen near into.

The next day, wonderful little bumps of itchy, scratchy goodness appeared on my elbow. Then near my armpit. Littler ones on various spots of my shins.

They were irritating. I thought nothing of them, though they looked nothing like the mosquito bites I thought they would.

I scratched.

They turned into oozy, pus-filled bits of grossness.

I thought heat rash? Our American suggested poison ivy.

Oh crap. Yes, I’ve been here once before.

Hellooooooo, Walgreens. The pharmacist confirmed our suspicions. He suggested washing with dish detergent and applying good old-fashioned calamine lotion.

What’s that? Dish detergent? Yep. If it cleans the oil off your dishes, it’s going to sop the ¬†urushiol, an oil-like liquid that transfers from the plant and onto your skin.

And hallelujah, calamine lotion isn’t pink any more. I don’t need to look like someone fired a shotgun blast of Pepto-Bismol at me.

My oozy, pus-filled bits of grossness — so kindly described as ‘weeping sores’ on one site are now crusted over and scabby.

For another of many lessons learned this year.

All I have to do is remember that one little phrase I learned in Girl Guides: Leaves of three, let it be.

Leaves of three, let it be.

Leaves of three …

Leaves of three …

OK, got it. Easy enough.

Now to replace the lens that got busted in the fall.

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