A Tiny Tick Nightmare

A Tiny Tick Nightmare

My husband and I went hiking over the weekend. We found a new trail close to home on the All Trails app. It was marked "easy" and it was just a 20 minute drive from home. Sounded like the perfect Saturday morning activity! It was a short 3.5 mile hike so we just packed some waters, grabbed our Mozzie Jackets (in case there were mosquitoes) and we were on our way. 

When we got to the park, we noticed it was pretty quiet, but that was a good thing, right? The trail was a narrow sandy path through a lightly wooded area and the weather was great, sunny and 78 degrees. The first 1.5 miles was perfect, we were enjoying the views so we decided to stop for a brief water break. At that point, we noticed a stray tick on my white socks. Seconds later we noticed LOTS of ticks on both of us. Many of them were super tiny, almost invisible. If they weren't moving, I would have passed them over as stray specks of sand from the trail. We were both wearing long pants, tight leggings for me with my socks tucked in and jeans and tall socks for him. On closer inspection, we found a million tiny ticks all moving in different directions on our shoes, feet and ankles. We also had some larger ticks that had already crawled up our legs as well! My husband freaked out a bit and tried to talk me into sprinting through the rest of the trail - ha! We are not runners. I've seriously never regretted leaving our Mozzie pants at home more!

We ended up brushing off as many as we could, tucking his socks into his jeans and increasing our pace to get through the rest of the trail. We ran into another family with kids on the second half and I told them to watch out for the ticks and they unfortunately they said "they already found us". We saw a few deer, some birds, and got passed by a couple of mountain bikers by the time we finally made it back to our vehicle.

Our next challenge was how to travel home with all these ticks on us! We brushed off the ones that were crawling up our pant legs and over our Mozzie jackets, but the tiny ones on our feet and in our shoes were embedded into the materials. In the end, we just decided to get in the car and strip it all off when we got home. We took everything off in the garage and put it all in a trash bag (shoes and hats, socks and jackets). We put the trash bag in the freezer. Then we spent the next hour picking off ticks, showering and generally trying to get rid of that creepy/crawly feeling! My husband had several larger ticks embedded on the back of his legs. His jeans were definitely not a deterrent! I had tiny ones that had gotten through tiny holes in my crew socks (in that looser weave at the ankle). The leggings with my shirt tucked in plus the Mozzie Jacket worked pretty well for the rest of me. 

After 24 hours in the freezer, we washed the entire trash bag in hot water and dried it all at high heat as well. We also had to park our vehicle with the windows up in the sun to get the interior temperature hot enough to kill any stray ticks in the car. We are watching a few of the more irritated bites on my husband and are scheduling a Lyme Disease test in a few weeks. All in all, it was a lot of a work for short hike!

The major lesson I learned - don't forget the white MOZZIE PANTS. If we would have had them on, with the bottom cuffs tucked into our socks, we would have been able to see and brush off the ticks. We still would have had to wash our socks and shoes, but that would have been way easier. If I can ever talk my husband into going hiking again! He's declared himself and "indoor boy" after that tick covered hike. 😢 As for me, I've got all kinds of new Mozzie Style clothing options rolling around in my head like mesh socks and coveralls...stay tuned!

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