The Devil’s Well

There were many things I was looking forward to when I awoke this morning. Getting up wasn’t one of them. It never is, really. However, going to school and learning something new is always nice. Enjoying the scenery. Today, though, was one of the other days that I enjoy. I should have been at school, but my friend and I, Lynn, decided to opt out of it.

Neither of us were feeling all that great this morning. Or maybe that’s what we tell ourselves. Not all that unusual, for us. We’re horrible students, in that sense. Tragic, really. Or not. Depends on who’s asking.

There are plenty of things I anticipate each and every day. I like going to school. I learn quite a bit, most of it interesting. Today, we made our way to the Devil’s Well near Eminence, Missouri. It’s a conservation area that has a hiking trail that’s a little over 4 miles long. Took us about five hours to walk the entire thing (we’re both out of shape).

My gaze had gone towards the sign before we took off on the trail. I had returned to the car to grab some water and lock the vehicle while we’re out in the middle of nowhere. The sign was clear on being on the lookout for venomous snakes, ticks and to be aware of our surroundings. All three ended up being an issue, really. The last two more than the first. I had grabbed two bottles of water, one for each of us.

First mistake, there.

I was wearing a dress. Second mistake.

Lynn was wearing cotton-based pants. Third mistake.

Neither of us were wearing bug repellent. Fourth mistake.

We told no one we were walking the trail. Fifth mistake.

Really, we should have said, “We’ll do this another day.” That would have been the most logical thing. The safe thing, really. Again, we opted out. We took our two bottles of water and went on our merry way. Frankly, it was amazing. At first. Lush green forests, silence, the two of us enjoying the calmness of nature without the constant hum of traffic and noise in the background – it was, without a doubt, a force that encouraged living by the law’s of nature. It was astounding.

Then there came the thin trails, wide enough for one to walk. There came the hills, the rocks and the broken pathways that gave a wonderful view of a slanted, large hill that was more of a drop-off. Our first thought was that ‘four miles wouldn’t be too hard.’ It hadn’t occurred to us the terrain would be an issue.

We walked for several hours. Lynn and I, we came upon a sign. One pointed to the end of the trail. The other pointed towards Cave Spring, 0.7 miles down the other (third) trail. It goes without saying that we went for the Cave. It was a steep walk with lots of rocks and slabs of thin stones making up random stairs. There was also a very young, brown snake with a diamond on the back of its neck with a darker head. I nearly stepped on it. Nearly.

I stepped over it, careful not to touch it. I had no way of knowing if it was venomous or not and I wasn’t going to take the chance on getting bitten intentionally by it due to trying to handle a baby snake. I’m not that stupid. We reach the base of the trail, making our way through taller grass. We’re going through it a bit, skin stinging and irritated. It took us a moment to realize we were walking through Stinging Nettle. We were walking through a lot of it. It hurt quite a bit but we were determined to get the cave and see it for ourselves. Took a while and it was far from pleasant.

The cave was off-limits due to the bats having a few issues. All the caves in our area is like that, really. The Conversation Department is trying to help the little critters. We turn back around and make our way up the path. The snake’s gone. I’m rather relieved about that. We get to the top and we’re both worn out.

The decision is this: do we go back the way we came and go home or do we finish the trail (two miles vs. one)? We picked the second. We’re walking that way for a while and we’re laughing and joking about falling. Last year I had a hard fall at our local lake and nearly fell in the water – we were joking about how it was odd neither of us had fallen.

Lynn steps down, keeps going. I step down…and I bloody well have my feet slipping out from under me, my glasses flying through the air and my water bottle too. I hit the ground hard, sliding a bit down the slope. I didn’t get far. A good thing, that. At the end of that slope was a drop-off. Tore my leg up. I get back up, though. Lynn went after my glasses when I fell, knowing I’d be alright. That I’d get back up.

Everything else went well enough, after that. We finish our walk, both of us sore and ready to go home and get something to eat. We get to town, full and happy. Then we realize something rather horrifying. We’re covered in seed ticks.

And let me tell you this: hot water and cut up legs hurts like a bitch.


Author’s Note

For those reading this, thanks for tuning in. Today was a rather interesting day. The above did happen to my friend and I. I’m referring to her as ‘Lynn’ due to the fact it’s not her actual name. Merely a part of it. We both went through stinging nettles, ticks and a lot of bumps and bruises.

And I, quite literally, fell and banged up my leg. Hurts like a mother, right now. Anyway, I hope everyone gets a laugh or two from this. For those who are familiar to Missouri, a few of you might know of the place I speak of. If not, well, the picture I used for this post is a picture of a stairwell leading down to the Devil’s Well.

I hope you all have a good night (or good day), and I’ll see you all on the next post.

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