Don’t Scratch the Itch

One of my favorite things to do while I’m outdoors is to check out all of the different vegetation and growth.  I usually walk a lot slower than the group I’m with because I am so fascinated by plants.  I mean, have you ever really stopped and looked at all the different leaf shapes?  I love hiking during the fall because that is when I have seen some of the most beautiful and colorful vegetation this wonderful planet has to offer. 

I was a Girl Scout as a child so I thankfully learned about all of the different types of plants and flowers to avoid…including the dreaded poison ivy.  I’ve posted a picture up top of this plant because I often forget that not everyone knows how to identify this particular species of plant.  It is characterized by its three leaves that emit an oil that many people are allergic to, causing a horrible itchy rash.  It grows on the ground as well as on rocks and trees.  When most people come into contact with poison ivy they don’t realize it until it’s too late, and have usually spread the oil all over their body.

Heath will probably kill me for telling you guys about his mishap with poison ivy, but it’s a good story to tell if someone else learns to avoid it!  Sorry, Heath!  Anyway, back when we first started dating, we would spend every weekend going on camping trips.  Heath had to go to the bathroom, and when you’re out in the woods, you usually find a tree to park yourself by, dig a hole, and squat down to take care of business.  Well poor Heath apparently did not realize that he had parked himself in a big patch of poison ivy!  He had forgotten to take some toilet paper with him and grabbed a big clump of leaves and wiped himself with them!  Shortly after he returned back to the campsite, the look on his face was sheer panic.  He knew something was wrong but still hadn’t realized exactly what he had just done.  I took a quick look at his rear end and immediately knew what the problem was.  I hate to say that I laughed, but I did.  He had been trying so hard to impress me and show off his “outdoorsman skills” and instead he ended up with the most horrible poison ivy rash I’ve ever seen.

So the moral of the story is, be aware of your surroundings and know how to identify this particular plant!  Coming into contact with poison ivy is a miserable experience and can ruin your entire excursion.  We ended up leaving and going home that day so we could get Heath some relief.  It took almost a week to clear up.  Poor guy!

I still give him a hard time about his mishap every now and then!  🙂

Stay away from poison ivy!