It was as if he didn't exist. The palm size spider laid across the rock invisible to the unsuspecting eye. Blending in caused no small yelp when the toddler's foot slipped across the surface and caused the giant to scramble over his bare toes. Carrie couldn't help, but laugh when the event triggered a series of screams from each member of the family. The vacationers suddenly became hysterical fleeing and sliding across the stony beach.
Where did they think they were, she chuckled to herself. The foothills of the largest national park had all kinds of wild creeping things. Nearly every ledge hid one spider or another. Each crevasse held a crayfish or camouflaged a rat snake. Up in the hills there were bears and each scraggly brush pile surely held a salamander squirming underneath it.
It was interesting to think that the out-of-towners could be so unaware. Still, the idea that the terrified little red head was now screaming at the top of his lungs brought no small amount of sympathy from Carrie. She grabbed her pack and sprinted up to the struggling mother and told her that the spider was a water spider and wasn't poisonous. She saw the slender woman relax and when she did the boy seemed to calm down. She handed her a bottle of water and helped her to a log where the woman sat the child down and asked her to take a look to make sure the red spot on his ankle wasn't something to panic about.
Carries freckles lit up. She pushed her long brown braid behind her shoulder and leaned down on one knee. Her green eyes met the little brown eyes and managed to get him to look at her. She noticed immediately that he had poison ivy. The woman took the news well and thanked her. Carrie told her the quickest way out of the park and produced some calamine lotion.
"Poor dear." She patted his knee. Two big droplets fell from his cheeks. "It's okay," she told him gently. "This will make it all better." He seemed to believe her and allowed her to apply a dollop of the watery pink liquid.
Carrie had always wanted to be a naturalist, she had aid given so often that she feared it would become routine, but wiping the tears away never seemed to become ordinary. She was always happy to help especially when she knew it would turn out to be alright in the end. Still, it was difficult to know that unsuspecting adventurers might be unprepared for the reality that there was real danger in the mountains.
By the time she reached headquarters news had spread that she had a near fatal encounter with a deadly spider. There were accounts of the insect being a foot across.
"Oh, my gosh! How do these things get started?" Carrie was embarrassed when they kept producing one report after another. "Did you tell them what really happened?"
"No. we figured a good story might quiet things down for a day and we could all take it easy for once."