Camping Misadventures – The One with the Leeches
The One with the Leeches
ANGHARAD THOMPSON REES
A camping misadventure essay
Now, I’ve kept this story quiet for some time for a couple of reasons…
One, I would hate to scare anybody from the idea of camping if they have not yet been. It truly is one of the most beautiful joys in my life and I’d never forgive myself if one faux pas on my part were to frighten others off for life.
Secondly, I am mortally embarrassed by the whole affair. For reasons you’ll discover if you were to read on. So, where was I? Oh, that’s right…
“Let’s go find the waterfall,” The Fella said, and off we went, with our Gopro, our swimmers and a whole load of adventurous spirit tucked into our back pockets. And as you can see, the waterfall was utterly beatific.
“I can’t wait for morning!” I squealed, “I’m so going to shower under the waterfall!”
You see, it was evening by the time we pitched up and just a little bit cool so the promise of a beer around the campfire was mighty appealing. So the shower would wait, and what a glorious way it would be to wake up! We made our way up the mountain towards our camp.
“Let’s walk down this track,” suggested The Fella (note, this was his suggestion, not mine). “If we follow the track up, we can reach the top of the waterfall.”
And like a lamb to slaughter, I followed…
“Like a lamb to slaughter, I followed.”
It started out all well and good. The track was beautiful, lush and green and brimming with wildlife. At some point, the ground began to get a little marshy and sloppy mud started oozing between my toes. But that’s okay; I’m a roughty-toughty Welsh bird. I can handle muddy feet (in fact, coming form Wales, it’s quite necessary).
“Oh F*@k,” said The Fella eloquently, “We’ve got to get out of here.”
But it was too late; we were already ambushed. From every direction, from the ground, from the branches at head height, everywhere, the dirty, little suckers reached out for us, sniffing out our blood to quench their thirst.
This was leech city.
“Frozen with fear, I was, with leeches sucking the life out of me.”
It went something like, “GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF” on loop, getting louder and louder with each repeat. And off it came to be replaced by another and another and anther and you know in the movies when the stupid girl in the scary wood is being chased by something quite unsavoury and she just stands there like a lemon? And you’re like, “Run, you stupid girl, run to safety!” Well now I understand why she doesn’t move.
Frozen with fear, I was – like a lemon – with leeches sucking the life out of me.
“Faster!” I yelled.
The Fella said something I couldn’t quite make out in the fright of it all, but it sounded something like ‘for buck’s sake.’
Eventually, with panting heart and heaving chest (and one almost broken back), we made it out of Leech city and onto a dry path, but I would not dismount my steed and urged him on all the more. We passed a family of four dressed in wellies and all over body protection (smug little know-it-alls). Now, I wouldn’t like to say that the little boys laughed (having heard my screams and all) as I rode by. But they did.
Many, many, many hours and beers later, I very nearly saw the funny side.
I didn’t take my waterfall shower the following morning…
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