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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