Saturday 21 April 2012: She bit me!
This interloper bit me twice on my arm. I know it's a she because of the egg sack beneath her.
I'm hoping Cabbagetree can tell me who she is, where she lives and what those bites are capable of.
We stopped for lunch in the Harwdon river bed and sat on a clean, clear log. I put on my woolen jacket to keep warm in the cool breeze and almost immediately yelled "ouch". I pulled the sleeved away from my arm and lightly brushed the surface. I felt a sizable lump I thought might be a bumble bee.
"Ouch!" I felt another what I thought was a sting. Curiously they hurt but not as intensely as bee stings. I whipped the top off and examined the now turned inside out sleeve. Nothing there.
My tramping mates examined my arm.
"Ohh, it's a bit red".
"I can see a couple of marks".
A couple of minutes later.
"Oh, oh, I can see what bit you".
"Bit? I thought I was stung".
"Uh no, look down on the stones".
I felt the colour drain from my face. I wondered what the next hour might bring. It wasn't a good thought as I calculated how many hours it might take to get me out if I reacted to what appeared to be the biggest spider in NZ.
"Think I'd better take an antihistamine".
"Let me know if you want me to set off the emergency becon".
And yes, if you're familiar with NZ river beds and stone sizes, that is a big Mama. She would struggle to fit in the palm of my hand (not that I planned on trying).
Spider aside we had a good day. One wrong turn and an extra 1.5 hours to get to the hut. The leader was a little casual with what should have been a straightforward tramp. He won't leave the route and map behind again. Lesson learned.
No harm done on a lovely day. 2 of us still had just enough time to race up to Walker Pass before the light faded. It was magic.
With retrospect I felt a bit off colour. I've been fortunate to be bitten by a spider that looks worse than it's bite. My arm is a bit like post injection. It's tender to the touch a bit red with a couple of prong marks.
Oh, we first to the hut and scored beds too. Bonus :-)