Bill Haenel

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Posted by Bill Haenel on 01-Sep-06

Last weekend my family and I travelled into the Adirondacks near Wells, NY, intending to camp at the Sacandaga River Gorge.

Instead, we spent some time with some new friends of ours, a rather large colony of Eastern Yellow Jackets.

As it turns out, these buggers are nasty.  In fact, according to all of the research we dug up, they are particularly nasty this time of year when temperatures are cooling and their usual food sources are more difficult to find.

Apparently the Eastern Yellow Jacket is a bit of a carnivore as well as a scavenger. In other words, they will eat you if you let them, and if you are lying around like a piece of dead meat, they will almost certainly eat you. Well, even if they don't eat you they will almost certainly try to attack you.

My wife, my four sons, and our friends Rik and Sue, had the uncommonly good fortune of stumbling upon (quite literally) not one, but TWO, underground Yellow Jacket nests.

I hate them. They hate me.

Our 9-year-old was stung over ten times. Only two in the group managed to get out of the woods without being stung, and one of those two acquired a strange illness consisting of nausea and an odd rash a couple of days out of camp anyway.

It also rained. A lot. It was not a stellar camping experience, to say the least.

I did, however, get to fish. No luck except for a couple of mid-sized chubs. But I stood in the river and threw my line and watched the riffles and the pools and such, which made it all seem almost worthwhile.

On the second day of our three day expedition, after everyone had had enough stings and rain, we left the mountains and returned home. Too bad we didn't have a better camping trip. Instead we had a lovely time at the New York State Museum.

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