Posts Tagged ‘spiders’

Missouri Tried to Kill Me

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Kansas City, Missouri to Madison, Wisconsin; day two of my long days to come. To break up the monotony of corn I decided to make a quick stop in Wallace State Park, a small natural park about an hour outside of Kansas city, to take a hike and get out of the car. It was a great idea but also turned into somewhat of a nightmarish experience that I could never have predicted.

I exited the main drag of interstate and entered into a wonderfully windy and hilly back country road that wove its way deeper into forested countryside. The road was pleasnatly meandering through farm houses and red barns disappearing from my fast paced world into obscurity behind me.

As I found the enttrance to the park I was pleasantly surprised by a doe and her little baby deer grazing calmly on the roadside. I took a few pictures, kept my respectful distance, and continued on my way just as they did theirs.

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There was no one else in the park, so I had the stillness of the lake and the chittering of the woods all to myself. The forest seemed alive and vibrating with wildlife that remained unseen but well heard. The lake was so still and serene, the perfect reflecting basin for the world that surrounded it.



I laced up my hiking boots and headed out across some wonderful foot bridges, but I did not get very far before things started to get weird. First of all, I was slightly on edge because there were so many noises all around me that I had never heard before, be they bugs, birds, or small mammals, the noises they made were somewhat haunting and remotely sounded like a child crying or a wounded animal screaming. Not a great start. So I tried to ignore the noises that were far off but present in the mysterious woods around me. I tried not to let it get to me, but being a woman hiking alone and having no one else in the park put me too on edge. So after a short bit I returned to my car and decided to drive around instead of hike because I was sort of freaked out.


Once I went back to my car I drove to a separate trail away from the strange noises of the forests I originally started by and found an amazingly beautiful boardwalk.

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Again, I didn’t get far before everything went down hill. I didn’t even get onto the boardwalk, I was just taking pictures of it, when all of a sudden there was a wild frenzy of cracking twigs and rustling bushes coming from the hill behind me on the other side of the parking lot. I turned around with my heart in my throat and the horrible thought in my mind that it was going to be a bear charging at me out of the woods. A thousand things go through my mind: I don’t have a weapon, just my camera, I can use my telephoto as a (very expensive) weapon if I have to defend myself, if it is a black bear I have to stand my ground and get angry, big, and scary fast, there is no one to yell for if I need help, my car is so close but whatever is coming at me is between me and my car, and a bunch of other gut reaction thoughts about whatever was making that horrible ruckus in the woods.

When I turned and found the source of the frenzy I was relieved but also deeply shocked and confused: it was a deer. A very angry deer. I don’t know why or what was going on except maybe there was a baby nearby it was trying to protect, maybe even the same mom and baby deer I had photographed early about a mile away, but I didn’t know. It was a very angry doe running out of the woods kind of hunched over, straight legged, and kicking every which way and coming right for me.

Luckily, I was already on edge so I was able to react quickly and jumped up onto the banister of the boardwalk above the reach of the deer. I don’t know what I would have done if it had reared up because it could have possibly reached me, but thankfully it stayed roughly on its four feet. It ran up to me on the boardwalk and started battering the post I was standing on with its front legs and angrily snorting. I started yelling loudly at it to scare it away and weilding my telephoto in one hand, ready to use it to defend myself, tried to scare away the pissed off deer as it attacked the boardwalk posts I was perched atop.

After this back and forth went on for a little bit the deer seemed to calm down and kind of ran off back towards my car and away from me. Warily eyeing it I waited until it seemed distracted and jumped from the banister to run off into the woods the other way since it was still between me and my car. I had planned on taking a hike, this was just not necessarily the way I had wanted to do it.

It didn’t come after me and all I can assume is that it left and whatever spooked it was gone (including myself). So I calmed down from the scare and tried to enjoy my hike. Then things got weird again. Yeah, I know, again.

I was walking through the forest when I started accumulating a few more spider webs getting caught on me than I was comfortable with. So I stopped to wipe them off and kept going only to get even more. Feeling the hair on my arms rise, I stopped again, wiped them off and tried to peer forward into the wooded pathway I was taking and was horrified: there were spiders everywhere. So naturally I almost threw up, ripped my coat off my back and yelled


And ran as fast as I could out of woods, frantically clawing the webs from my body and trying not to imagine all of the possible spiders crawling on my body. I made it back to my car, the devil deer was gone but my car was COVERED in spiders and webs. COVERED.

I ripped the door open and jumped in as fast as I could and took off. I kept trying to wipe the spiders away with my windshield wipers and couldn’t stop twitching I was so freaked out. Once I was a safe distance from the park I pulled over, screamed at the top of my lungs at a corn field and thoroughly checked myself for spiders. I flipped off the park behind me, hopped back into my car and continued on my way.

I’m sure it was a perfectly nice park, it just hated me. It was a misadventure to say the least, but at least I got some nice photos of the beautiful scenery.

I pulled into a McDonalds to wash off my hands, ordered the largest coffee I could get and looked like a mad woman pulling twigs out of my hair as I waited for my drink, being watched by a tour bus full of old women with questioning eyes.

I had finally calmed down after I crossed the Missouri state line into Iowa and was glad to have left it all behind me.

To further soothe my rattled nerves I took an innocuous stop at an Amish Country Store in Iowa. I sat on a curb for a while and pet a little Amish Corgi that had popped out of a bale of hay covered in straw and wagging its entire body like only a Corgi can do. I spent some time there just enjoying the sunshine, the endless fields of corn, which suddenly seemed strangely more appealing than the woods to me after that morning , and my little Corgi friend.





The rest of Iowa was more of the same, endless corn that swayed in the wind like the undulating waves of a dusty amber sea. After a while of this I decided to take a break because I was getting pretty tired at this point. I felt like a person who has been on a boat for a long time who then steps foot on shore and feels like everything is still rocking, except I felt like the world was still whizzing by me at 80mph despite everything moving at its normal speed. It was disorienting and I figured it was time for a breaking from the mind numbing monotony.

I just so happened to pull off in Des Moines, Iowa at a BBQ place called Smokey D’s BBQ Joint, which had been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. So I got some good ol’ Iowa BBQ and enjoyed my break.



The rest of the drive was a blur, nothing between Des Moines and Madison except corn, corn, and more corn. I do enjoy the silos though that break up the continuous fields. But aside from that, nothing.

I made it to Madison totally exhausted, toast. But I got to relax in my Aunt’s backyard who I was staying with and watch cardinals flit about a bird feeder dancing like little red ballerinas about one another. It was a peaceful and restful way to end the day, watching the sun set over the green backyard of Madison.



Sunday, May 30th, 2010

I think it is time for me to share with you a story very near and dear to my heart; the story about why I am afraid of spiders.

Let me start off by saying that I wasn’t always afraid of spiders, I was never very keen on them but I didn’t freak out on site about them. I just thought they were disgusting. Living in a wooded area with a canyon in my backyard, naturally we have lots of spiders in our house. About every three months or so, a giant spider pops up in a very inconvenient time or place. Normally in my room and most recently in the bathroom. They just show up out of nowhere and they are ridiculously huge. Honestly, it just makes me want to yell at them “Where in God’s name have you been hiding all this time to grow that freakin big!” When I say big, I mean big. Most people don’t believe me, these guys are so big, you can’t really squish them because they would explode and create a black hole due to its collapsing mass. Seriously, they are too big to squish.

So my story begins about three years ago at midnight. I was the last person up doing homework and watching some T.V. when I finally returned to my room to go to bed. Low and behold as I go to my closet for clothes do I spy a huge spider in the crook of my doorway. So I back out slowly, an evil plan forming in my mind of all the devious ways I could squish this giant sucker. I grab a big book and sneak back over to my door.

Side note: the picture of the spider above, this one in my doorway from so long ago was much bigger.

So I wryly look down upon this spider and smile knowing soon it will be dead and I can sleep soundly tonight. So I smash the book against the door frame and grind it in a little just to make sure it is dead. Just as I am about positive the thing is one hundred and ten percent dead, this monstrosity climbs over the top of the book and up my arm. At first I didn’t do anything because I was so shocked but then instinct kicked in along with a lot of cursing. I fling my arm back trying to get the thing of me as I am screaming and listing of a laundry list of profanities. Then I think I feel it on my back, which I realized was my pony tail only after I ripped off all of my clothes trying to find the spider. After the inital horror subsided, knowing the spider was not on my person, a new horror dawned on me. As I turn around and follow the trajectory the spider must have followed after its sudden flight from my arm, I find my bed right in the line of fire. After desperately searching the floor to find the spider but to no avail, I am forced to acknowledge the fact that, that monster spider is somewhere in my bed right now.

Yes I know, Karma right, this is what I get for taking a small amount of pleasure in killing this spider.

So I frantically rip off all of my sheets meticulously searching for the spider. In the end nothing. I found nothing, anywhere. I searched every foot of my room but couldn’t find it. Let me tell you something, I never found that spider. Never. The only thing I ever found that may have been the spider was a small crinkled ball of something I tried to convince myself was indeed the dead body of that spider that haunted my dreams. All so I could sleep soundly in my bed again without jumping at the slightest tickle on my legs. Thinking that it was that horrible spider that got away.

I never got over that thing, so to this day I am horrified by spiders. So every time one of these giants shows its ugly head I scream like a little school girl and run to my dad to go squish the big meany spider.

So to all of you arachnophobes out there, I am right there with you. Oh and here is another creepy spider shot, just to make you cringe. I know I will.