I am not an arachnophobe. Really, I'm not. For the most part I am happy to share my little section of this earth with whatever spiders might be in residence. I admit that it did take me awhile before I was able to make peace with the family of black widow spiders that lives under the siding at the front of our house. We still aren't on overly friendly terms, and they are absolutely forbidden entry to my house. However, a truce of sorts does exist.
There is one exception to my peaceful co-existence with the local arachnids. I hate ticks. Hate would actually be too mild of a term. I despise ticks. I loathe ticks. Which is unfortunate, because almost all of my life has been spent living in places that are inhabited by ticks. Even more unfortunate is the fact that of all the places I have lived ticks seem to like Kamloops the most.
My fear of ticks goes back to my early childhood. One of my first memories of going to the local doctor was to have a tick dug out of my head. In this post from last fall I talked about the fact that I had an almost perfect childhood. The tick incident would have been one of the big contributors to that adverb "almost."
Ticks seem to like certain people more than others. They love my daughters but totally avoid my sons. Which is why when my kids were younger the girls would send David into the bushes to retrieve any stray basketballs, hockey pucks, etc. All they had to do was walk across our lawn and a tick could find them. David would crawl through the underbrush and come out tick free every time.
They also seem to like one of my daughters-in-law. Two summers ago Diana accompanied Karsten on a fishing trip to a small lake in Saskatchewan. Unfortunately Diana's "catch" wasn't quite what she had been expecting. When they got home Diana discovered a tick attached to her knee, and, in what I consider to be a completely rational response, she freaked out. To the point that Karsten had to sit on her and hold her down while he removed the disgusting thing. Which made me thankful that all those years ago the doctor that removed the tick from my head had not been afraid of the thing. It also leaves me wondering what Diana, now a practicing family doctor, is going to do when faced with a patient that needs a tick removed.
So here it is, the middle of April. It is the time of the year that the ticks come out and cling to the brush in the surrounding countryside. That would be the same countryside that I hike through. It is no exaggeration when I say I would rather encounter a bear than a tick when I am out here on this trail. At least a bear runs the other way when it sees you.