The monthly misadventure: scorched in the Superstitions, or, between a rock and a fire ant

Jeff Rome

Staff Writer

Adventure comprises risk, and risk means a roll of the dice.

On a day off in from school at Prescott College, student Dillon Metcalfe found himself in a cave, in a constriction, crawling through a pile of fire ants that quickly, to his chagrin, started crawling over him. His first thought: “I can’t let ants stop me from going where I want to go.” Due to the tightness of the tunnel he could not brush them away. The ants began to swarm under his clothes.

Attempting to calm himself, Metcalfe turned off his headlamp, which left him in complete darkness with an army of tiny pincers attacking him. “My heart was pounding so loud it was echoing through the tunnel,” Metcalfe said. Eventually, the ants and a growing sense of claustrophobia got the best of his stubbornness, and he squirmed backwards away from the horde.

            Once out of the cave and back at the popular Peralta Trail full of Phoenix weekenders, Metcalfe swiftly stripped to his boxers and began batting at his clothes to get the ants out. His hair dripped with sweat from the exertion of hurriedly scooting out backwards away from the ants. Then he had a smoke. Yes, the Phoenicians hiking by him had found their novel wilderness experience that day.             Other than a slight loss of dignity for an otherwise brazen young man, Metcalfe’s only repercussions were a few sleepless nights spent scratching his hands spotted with ant bites. Metcalfe strongly believes all pain is bearable once one realizes it is temporary.

If you find yourself biting off more than you can chew, trudging through some serious type III fun, or have a misadventure you would like others to laugh about even if you cannot, email me at by March 23. Your story may appear in the next issue.


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