Monday, July 18, 2011
A Summer day Hike!
It’s now mid July and we finally have a Saturday with a weather prediction under 90 degrees and fairly dry air! We had to take advantage of this and get out and do some hiking. We decided to try out the Bear Den trail and see if it’s worth a second visit in the future.
A description Joe found on the internet described the trail as a 4.7 mile easy, pleasant hike through the woods. We started off and immediately noticed that there were several areas of growth over the trail. We thought to ourselves, does anybody use this trail? We shrugged it off and proceeded, thinking, at least it’s not poison ivy! We were pleased to see a variety of pretty wildflowers, different colored mushrooms and even a cute little bitty froggy! The trail was pleasant for the first mile, until the trail left the plateau top and headed down into the deep woods. We quickly got used to eating spiderwebs and tiptoeing through poison ivy patches.
As we got deeper and deeper into the forest, the foliage got thicker and thicker…not good for Joe, who has a phobia of large plants since childhood, just ask some of his old scout buddies who used to get a kick out of chasing him around with a plant!
Our hiking sticks became our plant whackers, and half of our hike we had to bushwhack through stinging nettle and what Joe called “nightmare plants” that were thick and usually taller than we were. This trail was anti-maintained and apparently very seldom used. When we weren’t whacking our way through the thickets, we were tiptoeing through poison ivy and stinging nettles. Poor Amber found out the hard way why stinging nettles are called stinging nettles. Luckily we had a little first aid kit with some moist wipes that made the stinging go away. 4.7 miles later we finally arrived back at our car. Joe now remembers the other reason he doesn’t like to go hiking in the summer in Alabama, besides the extreme heat.
Our hike was over but our nightmare was just beginning. On the road Amber starting looking at her legs and saw little bitty specs moving around. She picked one up and asked me, is this a tick?? It was literally the size of pinhead. The more she looked the more she found, as she was screaming the whole time. We pulled over into the parking lot of a closed down gas station in Skyline to de-tick ourselves. It took us over an hour checking each other for ticks, and easily found 100 of them all over our legs and feet! We had no idea ticks could be so small. Most of them looked like little bitty specs of dirt and they were attached to our skin. There were so many of them and they were microscopic!! Aaaaaagh!!!
Our socks went in the garbage can, and the rest of our clothes and gear we soaked in the tub to drown any ticks that were hiding. Once home, we thouroughly checked each other over and kept finding them. We didn’t get to bed until around 2 am, and dreamed about ticks and nightmare weeds! We will definitely not go back to that area ever again.