Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Yellowjackets on the mountainside
Almost 50 years ago, I used to work on a dude ranch, where we stabled over 60 horses that we used to take guests on daily rides along the river, up mountain trails as well as overnight pack-trips. One time when two of my brothers had come to visit at the end of the summer, the three of us took a ride up the north slope with a group of about 25 guests. It was the first ride of the week, on Sunday afternoon after lunch. The guests had seemed quieter than usual in the dining room. They seemed to be having a hard time getting to know each other. We had a large group of guests that week – over 60 total and the riders were split up into several groups. One couple was there on their honeymoon. The new bride was allergic to bees. We also had a retired couple on the ride. We headed up river and then through the gate at Bear Creek and up the north slope. At one point, you can look down and see the river several hundred feet below.
Me as a wrangler in my 20's
When we got to that point on the side of the mountain, we ran into a yellow jacket’s nest. I was leading the ride and the first 5 or 6 of us went past the bees without any problem. After they were stirred up, they came out and started stinging the horses. The horses tried to bolt. The new riders were afraid and would try to make their horse stand still. Both of the older folks fell off their horses. The new bride was stung over 30 times, she had bees in her hair, and some had gone down her shirt as well. She ripped off her shirt. I was able to tie up my horse and go back and help the riders get back on, help the bride get her shirt back on and comb the bees out of her hair. We got past the bees and continued on down the trail and back to the ranch house. By the time we got back, all of the riders on our ride were talking to each other at a mile a minute, feeling like they had just experienced an adventure that they could tell all of their friends about for the rest of their lives. A doctor who was there as a guest treated the new bride and she didn’t have any complications. I felt a deep sigh of relief and gratitude - it felt like my guardian angels were there to help all of us out and keep us safe.
Copyright © 2021
Deerhawk Enterprises, LLC