A Wellesley man and his daughter were stung by hundreds of yellow jackets on Sunday afternoon at Boulder Brook Reservation. Paul Rogers was walking in the area with his 10-year-old daughter and the family dog when his daughter got near the nest, located inside a tree trunk, and was attacked by the stinging insects. When Rogers went to her rescue, the wasps attacked him as well.
In the melee, Rogers dropped his iPhone and was without it for a matter of hours. This is his story.
BYLINE: PAUL ROGERS
An epic tale: Man, child and puppy v Nasty Yellow Jackets 🐝
Got an hour to waste, pour yourself a drink and read on…
1st QUARTER: THE STING
Decided to go for an explore in Boulder Brook with my 10-year-old daughter and 1-year-old dog Drake (named after the rapper, not the explorer).
It was Sunday morning, we were in shorts, t-shirts and hiking boots as wanted to climb up the big rock peak before going to the neighborhood block party in the afternoon.
Decided to take an immediate detour down to the stream below as soon as we entered the woods from Westgate Road entrance. There were some stones to climb over, which I assume sort of marked the area out of bounds but ignored that as all intrepid explorers would.
Got down to the stream and tried crossing it by walking over the tree trunk, slipped, fell in the water.
Spent the next five minutes criss-crossing the stream. The dog was having fun going in and out and life was good. Then I saw a big board attached to a big branch floating in the stream saying something like: “Keep out, Private property”.
As I was stepping over it, I slipped on it and fell in the stream again. Should have turned back then.
Then my daughter, who was ahead of me now, saw something bright and multi-colored a hundred feet down stream. It looked like a rainbow colored fishing net.
She ran ahead to check it out but before she got there, she screamed out loud. I didn’t think much as even a spider or a bee near her would make her scream. I shouted over to see what was up and she was screaming more now and jumping around.
She shouts out that she’s been stung and I thought, “Damn, we’ve just got here and we’re going to have to go back and deal with this rather than mess around climbing.”
Then she’s screaming that she’s getting stung more. I ran over and grabbed her and tried to swipe the wasps – which I later discovered turned out to be Yellow Jackets – off her.
She was getting repeatedly stung, and I guess I was as well but it was all pretty chaotic and although it was hurting, it was more a panic about what to do for her.
We got away from the hornet nest – apparently it was inside a tree trunk, according to my daughter, she knocked something near it or stood on the trunk, she said – but we were still getting stung.
I’d dropped my phone when I was grabbing her to get her away so my phone was on the floor near the nest and I wanted to get it, but my daughter couldn’t be left alone.
Not sure what the dog was doing – I think he just thought it was a game.
Anyway, left the phone – reluctantly – and got out of the woods onto Westgate Road.
We still had hornets or wasps or whatever they were on us and flying around us. They followed us out. I thought teenage girls could be vindictive and hold grudges but they have nothing on these the nasty little flying killers. Even out of the woods and back on Westgate Road they continued to sting us.
I had to take my t-shirt off – not something I generally do in the streets – and we had to run back to our house, about half a mile away as I couldn’t phone my wife to get us as my phone was in the woods.
So we have the three of us running – me with no top on, my daughter screaming, the dog thinking this is brilliant and running through people’s front gardens. The wasps are following us and stinging us as soon as they can land on us. They seem to like me more than her now.
Not a great situation.
Then, obviously, the dog stops to do his business on the side of the road about 200 yards from our house – I kid you not, when I stopped to bend down to bag it up, I got stung in the eye by one of our new friends.
Picking up sloppy pooh is my least favorite task in the world, getting stung in the eye at the same time is just the icing on the cake.