Coldest June in his 24 years here, the biologist said today. “Cold” means in the mid-80s instead of mid-90s, so we are delighted that it is this cold. Drove to Canyonlands NP Thurs morning and hiked 7.5 miles carrying 9 pounds of water on my back. The Camelbak hydration system is the snazziest thing — a drinking tube goes from a 100-ounce reservoir of water, right over my shoulder, clips to my shirt, and allows me to bite on and suck from a nozzle as I hike. One gallon per day is a minimum we are to drink while we are out in the field.
Set up our group camp together with a dozen other trainees, and one ambled out of the outhouse and said, “Take a look to the left of the toilet.” Sure enough, a textbook black widow spider was standing on her web, suspended about a foot off the concrete floor. I brought my flashlight in to see her, as it was dark out; you can only imagine the size of the “black widow shadow” it cast! Her shadow was even scarier than she was! I’d say she was about 1.5 inches from front toe to back toe, with the perfect red hourglass. I don’t know how smart it was to blow on her, but I just wanted to see where she would go before I sat down on the pot. She scrambled straight up her web, and I peed and left before she could come back. Nobody wanted to kill her; remember, rangers are “live and let live” types. She has as much right to live in the outhouse as we have to pee in the outhouse. Criminy.
A co-worker sat on a Velvet Ant and got bit. “Hey, watch out for fuzzy ants,” she advised. Note to self: don’t sit on ground, check under toilet seats, remember to shake out shoes and boots. And don’t live in fear of what might happen.