Monday, June 07, 2010

Who IS that uninvited “guest”?

For there is a price ticket on everything that puts a whizz into life, and adventure follows the rule. -- Leslie Chateris

Hardy Lake State Park was wonderful! Green, lush, tall trees and electricity. Super hiking trails in the woods and – the plan was two non-driving days to enjoy the park. My plan was to enjoy the park, get a good night’s sleep and then head east in the morning (Wednesday).

I had just finished nearly four hours of slowly hiking on what turned out to be poorly marked trails and unmarked forest roads. Twice I questioned if I was even on the real trail; once I turned around and went back to the starting place, thinking of giving up instead of possibly getting lost. Between the curving and turning of the trail, the tall trees and the thick, sometimes head-high, growth between them, the only direction I could see was up.

I met another hiker who gave me a trail map and encouraged me to stop at the small cemetery and then include the Island trail that went alongside the lake in places. Well, what’s an adventure for? I had water and four small peanut butter crackers.Along the way I startled a deer and a large brown bushy-tailed squirrel. Heard lots of birds and saw a few of them.

Finally, after about 4 miles, I returned to Jeremiah – pooped and hungry. But first some iced tea while I changed from long slacks and long-sleeved shirt.

Who IS that uninvited guest?

As I was pulling the shorts on I noticed my uninvited guest – a tick, clinging to my groin! Now what?!? I’ve never had a tick before. After consulting the Internet and the lady in the park office, I decided to play it smart and safe and see a doctor. The office lady said ‘just pull it out with tweezers, wipe the area with peroxide or alcohol’, which I did. But I wasn’t sure I got it all out.

I located a doctor in the closest town, packed up Jeremiah and drove off. After nearly 2 hours in the doctor’s office (they were working me in), Dr. Buhse determined that some of the tick was still there and it would best to get it out. She did, I got a tetanus shot (it’s been more than 10 years since the last one) and rather than go back to Hardy Lake, Cat and I decided to continue driving toward Cincinnati. I have a 9 a.m. appointment at Freightliner for an oil service/checkup. I found a Walmart along the way in Madison, Indiana. That’s where I am now and where I’ll spend the night.

I’m sure living up to my goal of remaining flexible with my trip. After Jeremiah’s service, I’ll drive to Lancaster (pronounced LAN kas ter).

More about Hardy Lake State Park:

Birds I saw here: Northern Cardinal, Eastern Blue Jay, American Goldfinch, crows, blackbirds, Robin, Chickadee and Brown Thrasher. It was my first sighting of brown thrashers – I took a photo and emailed it to Maricopa County park ranger Amy Ford who identified it.

Funniest thing I saw: The sign in the camp store window that said “no shirt, no shoes, great service”.

Sobering thing: The small, old cemetery, reminding me that life is uncertain.