Hikers fear ticks more than almost anything else (with maybe the exception of snakes and running out of water).
I was in a deep level of sleep when somewhere between 2 and 3 o’clock Trevor woke me, saying he feels something on his tummy and he thinks it is a tick.
At home I would have made a cup of coffee to wake up before doing anything. I guess at home the tick problem would be an unlikely event anyhow. What I should have done last night, with coffee not an option, is to just spend 5mins waking up properly.
But I was now in “we have a problem and need to solve it urgently” mode. I grabbed my glasses and instructed Trevor to shine the cell phone light onto the battlefield – and the war began. I didn’t necessarily have a strategy, I was using my short nails (how I missed my long city-girl nails last night, they would have been so much better at pinching the little tick) to get hold of the tick and pulled. The little bugger didn’t budge, I must have had ten attempts of grabbing and pulling before I got it.
The battle wasn’t won yet, the worst that can happen happened: the body came out but the head stayed behind. It took me another 30 or 40 minutes and endless attempts, using a needle (carried along for popping blisters) to separate the head from Trevor’s skin enough for me to get my nails pinched around it to pull. Eventually I managed to get it out but doing this in the middle of the night in a 2 by 2.5m tent, by the light of a cell phone, was exhausting. This morning was the first time that I just didn’t want to get up!
When we started walking we were lured into thinking that it would be an easy day. We were mainly walking along a ridge, the forest floor was covered in ferns and smelled lovely, and we ticked off the kilometers in like 12mins per km.
That lasted only a short while. Then we hit Pensylvania’s rocks, and these kilometers took like 17mins to complete.
Occasionally we got challenged even more: rocky outcrops and rock flows (where I did not pause to take a photo) easily took 20/21 minutes per km.
When we arrived at our tenting spot I saw that the sore toe I had was not due to a rubbing sore (as I expected), but by a very big and oddly positioned blister. Very unfortunate – I had been lucky as far as blisters are concerned but this one is going to hurt me tomorrow.
We did another 34km today, leaving us with only 22km to go to reach Port Clinton tomorrow – from there we will make our way towards Hamburg for a Nero.
I need to do a proper food shop and there is a Walmart. There is also a massive outfitter (Cabelo). I need a new set of clothes, my main hiking set isn’t coming clean in the wash anymore!
All in all it was a tough day. I was cheered up only by the fact that my mom is feeling better, and by our midmorning snack. (Barb’s brownies). My joy for today is hopefully in the bank earning interest, as I certainly didn’t get any of it today!!!