Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ticked Off

My boyfriend, Isaac, and I both had the day off today, and the weather was really nice. We decided to go to Ichetucknee Springs and walk the nature trails there. I had my camera, he had his sketch book, we had water and granola bars, we had chili in the crock pot cooking at home, and we were ready to spend the afternoon walking at Ichetucknee.
When we got there, the park was quiet. There was one other group of people there and they stayed in the picnic area. We headed out on the trail which follows the river at first. I found a few nice views right away, of the river and the flowers around it. We found a spider, a Triangle Orbweaver, and eventually sat down on a convenient log so that Isaac could sketch. While he worked, I listened to the natural sounds around us and enjoyed the colorful leaves and the blue sky and the bluer water. At one point, I looked down and realized that I was COVERED in tiny little baby ticks! They were literally, the size of the period on my keyboard. There were easily, more than 100 ticks crawling around on my arms and legs. Somehow, Isaac, right next to me, had no ticks at all. I did my best to remove as many ticks as I could, but I really couldn't get them all. I was also having trouble figuring out which dots where freckles and which were ticks. I needed a nice hot shower. Disappointingly, we cut our walk short and headed back home. This is not the first time that I have been covered in tiny ticks, Isaac thinks that I find them, I think that they find me. At any rate, here are the photos that I was able to get before our fun ended.
While we were walking, I thought of an answer to the question posted in the comments on Tuesday. Lorena asked me, "what's the weirdest thing you or one of the divers have found? And do you have any happy stories of returning lost objects?" On the very trail that I walked today, about 3 years ago when I was working at Ichetucknee, I walked the nature trail and found something unusual. It was a GIANT pair of purple, silk, woman's panties. It was a troublesome moment because I didn't really want to touch them, I also didn't want to leave them on the trail. I used a stick to carry them until I found more garbage that could hold the giant silk panties. I wondered, but really did NOT want to know how they ever ended up way out on the trail like that. I did not attempt to find the owner of the undies, I threw them away in the first garbage can that I passed. We do sometimes reunite lost property with its owners. One day at Troy, a couple came in to dive and were having a bad day. They first had trouble getting underwater because of a new wetsuit and not enough weight. When they tried to return to their truck to get more weight, they realized that they no longer had their key. It was an expensive remote key that they had put in a waterproof case and clipped to one of their suits. It had apparently become detached and could have floated anywhere. When I talked to them and heard the situation, I imagined the key case floating down river somewhere. I did try to help them look around though. I headed out to look along one side of the spring and miraculously found them safely nestled near a rock on the shore. They were so happy to see their key, but still did not end up having a very enjoyable dive. They were sure that it was because their ritual of stopping for a lucky Combos snack had not happened that day. I'm sure they will never dive again without their lucky Combos.


Anonymous said...

good timing for not having a big green cast on that little creepy crawly things can get in and you can not!-jen

Cathy said...

DEET...DEET....AND MORE DEET!!!!!You must put on the DEET! A little posion is better that a lifetime of chronic Lyme!!! Sorry, the big sister in me just came out....Love you, C

Ranger Amy said...

The whole time I had the cast on, I had the completely irrational fear that ants would crawl in and bite me and I wouldn't be able to get to them. I never even thought of ticks! Wow! I'm glad I never thought of ticks.
I agree, with you Cath, I will wear bug spray next time I hike at Ichetucknee. I will still go easy on the DEET though, I would rather not bathe in poison more than I have to. To comfort you a little, these were babies, they likely had not fed on anyone else so they could not transmit any illnesses to me. Also, Lyme disease is very much less common here in Florida and the ticks on me where not the species that carry Lyme.
Thank you, sisters, for worrying me and worrying about me. You are such the big sisters.