Lions and Tigers and bears! OH MY!

May 30, 2009

Who knew Memorial Day long weekend spent in Shenandoah Valley, VA could be fraught with so much danger? Granted there were no lions or tigers but there were bears (seriously), deer, poison ivy, poison oak and all sorts of other woes.

Here I was attempting a nice leisurely hike on a Sunday Morning (I know what is happening to me, I should have just stayed in munching on a leisurely brunch whilst sipping bottomless mimosas), when my hiking companions warned of the dangers that lay within. Firstly I had to be on the lookout for poison ivy and poison oak. As far as I was ever concerned poison ivy was something that the main characters on American sitcom shows would be struck down with for comic relief purposes. Lo and behold this stuff is real.

Next I was warned against deer ticks; these nasty little creatures not only burrow under your skin but can carry Lyme disease. We have ticks in Australia too, but it seems the deers ticks in Shenandoah have developed some additional skills their Aussie counterparts are yet to learn. These deer ticks live high up in the trees and allegedly have sophisticated motion sensing skills, which they use to drop down and attack unsuspecting hikers as they pass by. I was not so sure about this warning. I certainly never heard of this from any of my usual information sources, being American sitcoms and reality TV shows.

Could my trusty American companions be telling me a dropbear story? An Australian dropbear is a vicious, carnivorous koala that lives high in the treetops and attacks their prey (most reported attacks have been on newly arrived overseas visitors) by dropping onto their heads. Well that’s what we tell the tourists anyway!