Have you had unplanned adventures in the wrong clothes?

has anyone ever gone on an unplanned expedition to get an observation while wearing something entirely unsuitable for the occasion? For example, a Sunday suit on a backwoods muddy trail because whatever you saw went “right over there”
seven miles later, you finally got the picture…

Swimwear + brambles



I don’t know. For just about all of my photos of dangerously venomous snakes (not all on iNat yet, I have to catch up) though I was either wearing thongs (flip flops) or wearing no shoes at all. I didn’t plan it that way it’s just how they happened – I didn’t go searching for them and the photos were opportunistic. I had an eastern small-eyed snake (Cryptophis nigrescens) in my house early this year and I was bare foot. I walked out into the front area of my house and there it was, slithering across the floor. It reared up in defense, I guess it was scared I’m not prey, and I raised my bare foot in defense haha. It stopped trying to frighten me and moved over towards the cupboard where I guess it felt safe. So, yes, either bare foot or thongs but not planned


I don’t have any really good stories, but I have chased several birds wearing a Sunday suit, and then spend the next couple of weeks pulling tick tre-foil seeds off.


I carry all my birding kit with me when I travel somewhere for work meetings and try to fit in some bird watching in new places. They’re only day trips so often I don’t bother changing clothes and I’ve certainly had some odd looks for being over dressed in a bird hide.


A short sleeved shirt and shorts on an afternoon walk in a park… but the blackberries, thumb-sized, were ripe. Sweaty skin and blackberry defense system, I won berries, bush won my blood.


I make sure this never happens by always wearing clothes ready to go into the field. I’ve had many unplanned adventures - but I don’t have to worry about wearing the wrong clothes ever. The exception is the one time I was not prepared for how many mosquitos would be on a specific site - it was brutal. The next time I went to that spot I needed a full-body mosquito suit.


I was once out with my girlfriend for a nice lunch wearing nice clothes. I got a call from a friend about a rare bird (Hooded Warbler) found near my house in a nature area. She was down to go look for the bird with me and we had to hike about a quartr mile into the nature area where we found some birder friends on the bird and I got to see it well.


I once chased and recaptured a large and agitated rattlesnake that got loose in my tiny apartment. I’d just got out of bed and was wearing only undershorts. Unplanned but not exactly a nature adventure.


I went out in the wee hours of the morning in South Africa’s lowveld, still dark and was busy tracking a Pangolin with telemetry. Disembarking from my bike when I was close by, I heard a low-key guttural tremor from behind me, looked back to see some obscure movement in the dark before hearing the piercing call of a male lion

…then I remembered I forgot to wear my adult nappies!


Long before iNat, a friend and I were traveling in Lancaster County, PA. We saw a sign for a park and thought we’d stop for a moment. It was late spring and beautiful, and there was this trail with wildflowers . . . Long story short, I hiked 5 miles in a long gauze skirt and dressy sandals. I managed to enjoy the outing and not ruin the outfit :)


As a field herpetologist, it seems I rarely wore the proper clothing for working in water or thick brush. I always ended up covered with mud or cut up by brambles. I was roadcruising for herps one night in Florida and stopped to check out a chorus of Spring Peepers in a marsh. Long story short, when I got back to the house where I was renting a room, I was soaked to the chest and covered with mud. I walked in the front door after hosing off most of the mud in the front yard and the homeowners were having a party. They were not naturalist types so figured I must’ve had some kind of accident.


Stepped off a narrow road to let a truck go by, and looked down to discover I was standing in a patch of poison ivy. Fortunately I was wearing long pants and socks, but truly, any clothes are the wrong clothes for standing in a poison ivy patch.


This implies you think it would be better to stand naked in a poison ivy patch? I feel like that’s worse. :p


One more than one occasion I have been lying in bed in the shack on my property when I hear an interesting bird or animal sound. I will go traipsing through bush in pyjamas and slippers with a flashlight and camera. Most of these forays are unsuccessful though I have got a few sightings. (Don’t think I have ever gone seven miles ha ha!)


I have had one. I was wearing sandals, which would not have been a problem if I had stayed on the designated roads and trails, but I don’t necessarily always do that. I got sidetracked exploring a baldcypress swamp and wandered far off the trail. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw what looked like something flashing right about where I was about to put my foot down.

The ground was very dark in color. The snake was the same dark shade. The flashing that I saw was the very white inside of its mouth.

Cottonmouth. The real-deal cottonmouth, not the common water snakes that most people think are cottonmouths.

I didn’t leave the trail anymore that day.