Wellness Wednesday: Stop and smell the lizards

I leave for Africa in NINE days. That means you have to listen to me prattle on about how excited I am for NINE DAYS. But come on, if a genie popped out of a lamp and said, “look, I’m a little restricted on what I can give you but if I send you back to Tanzania to help out some donkeys for a week would that be cool?” I would pretty much throw myself into his discorporeal arms and breathlessly exclaim that this was EXACTLY what I would have wished for. So yes, I’m excited.

I’m also nervous, because before I work on the donkeys I’m climbing Mt. Meru with the World Vets team leader. I don’t want to disappoint her by developing altitude sickness, breaking my ankle, or dying, all things that are pretty much out of my control. Having never done something like climb a 14,000 peak with a group of strangers in a third world country, I’ve decided it’s best not to think too much about what I’ve committed myself to and just going for it. One day, when I am old, I hope to add this to the long list of things I was too stupid to realize they were insane to attempt at the time. Really, that’s how I ended up in vet school, and in the end that worked out OK, so I’m assuming this will too. Endless optimism.

But in the meantime, I’m doing what I can to be adequately prepared. I have about 14 prescriptions, spent more at REI than I care to admit in pursuit of the optimal day pack setup, and I’ve been running up and down Iron Mountain at every opportunity to try and get used to climbing.

I can't WAIT to add a Mt. Meru self portrait to the hiking series. :)

About halfway up today, I realized that I am now within the infamous two week “watch it” window. The window in which, if you fall and sprain your ankle, you’ve just ruined your trip. So I paused, panicked, and spent the rest of the hike gingerly goose-stepping my way up the trail in order to avoid any risk of injury.

Which actually worked out well for me, since it gave me plenty of opportunity to take in the sights. Hawks soaring overhead. Geckos skittering underfoot. I see at least 10 geckos every time I hike. This guy was basking at the summit.

But today, as I was strolling down the hill, a squat, roundish ankylosaur descendant ambled across my path and perched on the side of the trail, waiting for me to pass. I’d never seen one like him before. He was quite obvious on the pale dirt of the exposed trail, but on the rocks, his camouflage was fantastic.

 See? Cute, huh?

Since I was in no rush, I took a bunch of pictures, holding Brody to my side and letting the other hikers pass without sharing what I was looking at. I think these guys can squirt blood out of their eyeballs and I figured that might put a damper on their hike.

What do you think he is? Some variation of horned lizard? Anyone know if this is a harbinger of a tremendous adventure or some ill portent?

Filed: Blog, Fit Life, Health Tagged: , ,
  • Sue W.

    “things I was too stupid to realize they were insane to attempt at the time…Endless optimism.”

    An excellent life strategy! Beats “regretting what you didn’t do” by a mile!

    Re: the lizard – I can barely even see it and am wondering if this is actually a vision test. I’m gonna say you discovered a new species and get to name it. Cuz, when in doubt, just take credit and run.

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      A pawcuriousaur!

    • JaneK

      ok, Sue…. I like your attitude!

      and Dr. V…. did you actually try to say “pawcuriousaur” outloud? It fits in with all those other dinosaur names I can’t pronounce….

  • Cathey

    I would go with “tremendous adventure” but on the lizard front, I would also keep my distance (read 15 feet) from anything that can squirt blood out of their eyeballs – EEEWWWWW!! I can’t believe you were able to keep Brody away from him. My Fiona would have wanted to see what it felt like in her mouth! Again, EEEWWWWWW!!

  • Tamara

    9 days!!!! How exciting :) I hope your trip is fantastic. A Mt. Meru summit pic would be wonderful. An ‘I almost made it’ pic would be good too, but you can do it.

    Cool lizard, especially if he can squirt blood out of his eyeballs. Question though: is it his blood he squirts? If so, what does that mean for his overall health? I’m assuming he only squirts blood if he’s in mortal danger. Hope so!

    • http://www.pawcurious.com Dr. V

      I read they can rupture capillaries in their eyes to squirt blood. Gross, but doesn’t permanently impair them.

  • JaneK

    well, he looks like the horned lizard in my kid’s book so let’s go with that and I think it would have been cool to see blood squirt out of the eye; kind of like soda out of the nose but not really :) and we’ll go with this being a harbinger of a tremendous adventure :)