Post by Cynthia, Photos by Bobby
In our last post we mentioned an unfortunate spider incident. There was actually a sequel to that incident as well. I told the whole lurid tale to my Mother today – she was laughing hysterically, and if my Mom (who shares my fear of all insects) can laugh about arachnids, then perhaps its a tale others will find amusing.
So I shall relate the 100% true story of The Spider Incident, both Part I and Part Deux.
I took a shower at the Unicoi Campground showers. It was a perfectly nice shower space, very typical for a campground: you have a stall that has a shower curtain for privacy where you can change, and then past there a second curtain in front of the actual shower stall. As I always do, I carefully inspected my surroundings and deemed them acceptable and apparently bug-free. So I took a nice, long shower – it was great after our hike earlier that day.
I got out of the shower and was getting my towel when I saw it. On the outside of the inner shower curtain. A big, big, big spider. Hanging out there by the shower rings. Just creeping on me in the shower apparently.
I was startled to say the least, as evidenced by the very loud conversation I started with said spider, “Oh! You’re a big spider!” Luckily no one was in the bathroom, but it really wouldn’t have mattered at that point. “Stay right there, Mr. Spider,” I told it, heart pounding. “I’ll leave.”
Which I promptly did. In my towel. Into the main, shared area of the bathroom, all thoughts of modesty gone. I got my bag (conveniently in the changing area and therefore past the realm of Mr. Spider) and got dressed in the middle of the shared area. I felt I had dealt with the situation to that point quite calmly given the circumstances and my “issues” with insects, arachnids and other creepycrawlies. I got ready, all I needed at that point was to get my shampoo, conditioner, soap and razor left in the actual shower stall. But that would require crossing the plane of the shower curtain. The shower curtain that was clearly the property of Mr. Spider.
I felt a little braver at this point as I had clothes on. I told myself, I am an adult. I am living a lifestyle that will cause me to come in contact with insects. This is silly. I can simply reach in there and grab my things. I tried really hard, for at least several minutes, to talk myself into getting my things. But I couldn’t do it. I could buy new things at the store.
So I left. And made Bobby go into the ladies room and get my stuff left in the shower. Yep, that happened.
And, as mentioned, I boycotted the showers. I still used the toilets, and I’d check every day to make sure Mr. Spider was still in his space and I knew where he was. That was fine for the next day or so, but then he was gone – someone had used that shower and moved the curtain. I tried to remain calm.
Although I could only assume Mr. Spider was now wandering freely, things were still ok after visual inspections the next day or two. Until the last night. I went into the bathroom and saw a suspicious black blob in the far corner at the end of the hall where the showers were. I went to inspect – and saw Mr. Spider. He looked even bigger than before, but I assume there can’t be TWO. And he was in the corner. I have no problem with being able to approach and back up from the spider, I just don’t want to have to cross in front of it, so this situation was acceptable to me.
Later that evening I return to the bathroom. Mr. Spider is no longer down the hall. I therefore have to frantically search so he doesn’t jump on me from above or something. And then I see him – he apparently moved from the back corner to the front corner by the door. This is NOT fine. I’m now trapped – having to the cross the plane of the spider to leave the building.
But I do it – quickly – and get Bobby. I explain I have to be able to use the bathroom and it’s time to evict Mr. Spider because this isn’t working out anymore. My sweet husband patiently grabs his camera and once again accompanies me to the ladies room. Again, it’s deserted and he takes pictures of Mr. Spider.
Who we then realize must be Ms. Spider as she apparently has a huge egg sac with her. And the only spider who carries her egg sac with her is a wolf spider (also the only one who also then carries all her hatched babies on her back after they are born). So, my apologies Mama Wolf Spider on the gender error (although it does make me wonder if she was really the same one on the curtain the other day because I don’t recall seeing an egg sac then and it’s something you remember …).
Anyway, Bobby bravely encourages her to leave the room and find a new abode in the woods outside. And I got to pee in peace.
Ok, other than Part Deux of The Spider Incident, our last day in Unicoi involved a nice walk on the Lake Trail. Bobby took some lovely photos of course.
By the way, people keep asking how we know the names of the wildlife, flora and fauna that we post here. We don’t know anything, we just spend many hours looking up things on the internet. We are both interested in learning more about birds, animals, trees, plants and flowers – we even bought some guide books – but the internet is the easiest way to find out what we’ve captured.
One of the more interesting things we saw was this maple leaf with pinkish spots that looked like either eggs or a disease. Turns out they are “galls” and are caused probably by a mite. Other trees get them too, sometimes from wasps, mites or other pests, and unless it gets out of hand it generally will not harm the tree.
As we were walking around the lake, after I spotted some flowers and the funny maple leaf for Bobby to take pictures of, I told him, “I think I’m good at spotting flowers and sometimes wildlife, but I’m not good at spotting snakes.” Literally, less than two minutes later, I see a snake. And, I’m not saying this for dramatic effect – this is 100% true – we had a good laugh about it.
I was staring at a log hanging over the lake – I thought there might be a turtle on it, but then realized it was a snake. It could be a water moccasin (cottonmouth), but probably was a non-venomous water snake, either a Brown Water Snake or a Southern Water Snake; by the time Bobby got a picture it was starting to move away.
Oddly, despite all my angst over bugs, I have no problem with snakes. Logic has nothing to do with fears.
The next morning (Monday) we packed up and headed toward Asheville. We took lovely mountain roads through woods and forests and had a nice drive. We stopped to see The Living Waters, a small waterfall on private property that the owners allow folks to come visit.
We drove through the Pisgah National Forest and stopped at Looking Glass Falls as well.
Bobby got a nice picture of Delilah and Constance (the truck and caravan) when we stopped to stretch our legs and let the pups walk down to the stream.
We got onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and saw some lovely views as we neared Asheville.
We arrived in Asheville, where we had a hotel booked for two nights as we were going to drop the camper to get the cooktop installed. Today we went to do that and, like many other things we have tried to do with the camper … it didn’t happen.
The cooktop had been shipped to a custom rv shop here, but when they went to install it, they felt it wouldn’t fit. So, back to the drawing board on that. Bobby and I weren’t even phased by this latest issue/delay/problem. We’ll get it worked out.
Then the campsite we planned to stay at for the next few days didn’t have any availability. Then when we wanted to walk to get some food it was raining. I’m not saying we’re cursed … but I’m not prepared to say we aren’t either.
But we’re having fun. It’s all part of the adventure.
Except the spiders. The spiders are not welcome on my adventure.