Ah….I love summer. I also love spring, fall and winter. Unfortunately, we share our space in Montana with a living thing that seems to hate human beings regardless of the season–poison ivy!
One summer, a few years ago, I was floating the Clark Fork with friends, and we stopped to eat lunch and jump off the rocks. After getting out of the water, I decided to sit down in an area with vegetation, as it was super hot and it was softer than the rocky shore. I hung out there for about 5 minutes total and we all got back in the raft and headed back on down the river. Note that this location was in between Cyr and the Gorge. The next morning, I was wondering what on earth happened to me when my legs swelled up and began forming huge welts that itched (that’s an understatement) and hurt (so is that) at the same time.
Well, it turns out having sensitive skin and chilling in poison ivy don’t mix. Who knew? I can’t believe I didn’t even pay attention to the plants I ignorantly plopped down in and around, as I grew up off-grid, spending most of my time outside on our 70 acres of forested property, for part of my childhood, and we were always instructed to stay away from poison ivy and poison oak from as young as four years-old. So, back to the incident–after anti-biotics and an excruciating two weeks of hell, I ended up back to normal. I wouldn’t wish that experience upon my worst enemy–which, I have no idea who my enemies are anyway, they haven’t told me yet. You get my point.
Just to help others avoid a situation similar to that, I wanted to identify this plant here in case people forgot, didn’t know or didn’t think of it–yes, this plant is “horrible”, and I’m judging it based on my experience. Have a blast enjoying the outdoors, but always be cautious of wildlife and what I like to refer to as this “predatory plant”. lol Yeah, I know–if you look up the word “predatory”, it doesn’t really fit, but I feel like on that day, poison ivy was out to get me and wasn’t going to stop until it did…(dramatic, I know).
Below and above are photos of poison ivy, and, to me, they might as well be spiders. The sight makes me cringe.
Here’s an article with a bit more information about poison ivy from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle: https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/poison-ivy-native-to-montana-plant/article_3bfd7ad5-961c-5c36-9b3d-7f2d19b8fbfb.html.
Also, here’s an article from teclabsinc.com that shows where poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac grows: https://www.teclabsinc.com/tips-info/guides-how-tos/where-do-i-find-poison-ivy-oak-and-sumac-plants.
If that isn’t bad enough, I also came across this: https://www.zanfel.com/newsletters/zanfelzone-v4i2.pdf!
Just google poison ivy, and you find a plethora of information on it that will, hopefully, help you avoid it. I feel like I need that jingle inserted here from those “The More You Know” PSA things on tv.
Cheers from Angela Montana to avoiding bad things and REALLY enjoying the good!