Three Stinging Encounters

By Ray Brooks

The first time was back in the early 1980s, when I was driving home to Moscow with my buddy Kevin after a weekend climbing trip amid poison ivy-infested crags along the Salmon River above Riggins.

It was a hot early summer evening and the car windows were down. I wore loose-fitting shorts for freedom of movement while climbing.

As we started up Whitebird Grade on Hwy 95, I heard a faint ping as my side mirror deflected an insect through the open window and up my shorts. I started pawing at the injured insect as it crawled up my inner thigh and, yep, about then the errant honey bee stung me right on a very sensitive area.

We skidded to a tire-smoking stop on the outside edge of the cliffside highway. I was halfway out the door when Kevin, with real panic in his voice, screamed that the car was starting to roll backwards towards the void below. With a heavy sigh, I sat back down, turned off the engine, put the car in gear, and set the emergency brake.

Then I jumped out of the car and dropped my shorts in front of oncoming traffic.

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Ray Brooks

About Ray Brooks

Ray Brooks is a native Idahoan. Beyond retirement age, he remains an active rock-climber, river runner, and hiker, who keenly appreciates Idaho history. His climbing career started in central Idaho in 1969. To support his outdoor habits, he worked on Forest Service helicopter fire crews, was a Middle Fork Salmon boatman, ran an outdoor shop in Moscow, and became a sales representative for outdoor gear.