After an eventful day of poor signage, bad logging roads, wild natural tree art, huge banana slugs, gorgeous beaches, and dramatic rock sculptures, I was delighted to discover my hiking partner had come across an adorable caterpillar while leaving San Josef Bay on the extreme northwestern tip of Vancouver Island.

This tiny cherry-on-top of a perfect wilderness adventure is the Spotted Tussock Moth caterpillar (Lophocampa maculata).

It is also known, among other names, as the Yellow Wooly Bear - although, the variety we found was orange. Apparently, the center band can be yellow or orange, and can be solid, or sport a line of black spots.

The two black ends have longer, white guard hairs that are very charming, BUT it is not wise to handle this beauty.

While not dangerously venomous, touching the spines can cause a variety of allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock.

So lucky for us, we did not go with our first instinct to kiss him and hug him and pet him and call him George.

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro f4, ISO100, 1/60, f14, two diffused SB200 flash heads, hand held.

August 28th, 2016, San Josef Bay, Vancouver Island, Canada