Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hiking the Tick-a-Klat Trail!

I love spring time and I love hiking in the eastern, drier, sunnier reaches of the Northwest, but I hate ticks! Throughout my younger years hiking in New England I only had one tick encounter. In my Explore America years during the 1980s I pulled a record 16 ticks off of me while out hiking one March day on South Carolina's Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. This weekend while out hiking the Columbia Gorge's Klickitat Trail I shook off eight of the disgusting and vile, but fascinating critters.

I had just parted ways with hiking partners Kim and Susan and was on my way to Lyle-a good eight miles of rainy hiking ahead of me. Stopped to get some water and a granola bar and then I spotted him-a lone tick inching up my sock. This immediately triggered my tick defense system. Snapped the sock lines-check! Scan the calves-ick-two more marching up. Scan the hairline on back of neck-shake the cap-clear! Check socks once more-this time in and about shoe tongue-oops-missed those two-

Check the armpits, sleeve lines-and waist band-whew-safe-then finally-check the shorts-tug them down a bit-and shake them-yep- as I suspected -a tick marching up my thigh still on my shorts liner-phew that could have been close! Thwarted six!

Continued hiking doing random stops and checks-caught two more-
On the drive home-defense system went up every time I felt a tingle-usually just a hair or lint-but can't be too safe-

In the shower that night-a thorough cleansing-and more checking that would make an over-zealot airline security guard proud. I'm almost sure I saw one of those little suckers spin down the drain-that could have been close-Yep, hiking in the spring in the Northwest's drier locales has its downside. If you see me on the trail acting weird and paranoid-just chalk it up to my nervous tick! Happy spring everyone!
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)


JuniperVillage said...

I remember the first time I had an Eastern Washington tick attack me....freaked me out....being a West-sider I didn't even know what the heck that thing was burrowed into my stomach. A friend said I should go to the doctor because you can get Rocky Mtn Spotted Tick Fever. Didn't go, and didn't get sick thankfully.

Do you have any tips for going up to see the Skagit tulips? I typically drive around at random at look for a colorful field. Just wondering if you had any local insights.

(I met you in Issaquah at the Mountaineers meeting)

Craig said...

Hi Kendall,
Nice to hear from you! Yep-luckily we don't have to worry too much about Tick induced diseases here-but yes, they are gross! As far as Tulip viewing-they are in full bloom now-best time to come up after work-avoid the weekend- Heather and I like to bike ride through the fields around 5pm on weekdays-not too crowded-check out the fields south of MaClean Road just to the west of Mount Vernon-lots of daffodils too.

Partner said...

Bad news Craig. Karen found three ticks at Snoquera Falls off of Hwy 410 recently. She dislikes them even more than you do!