Roger here... What is that crawling on my leg? OMG what are those black things on Chaplin's legs? Ticks!!!!!! I still feel like things are crawling on me, even though they are not there. Ticks, I don't like ticks! How it happened....
We left the Scotts Bluff area for a short, scenic drive to Nebraska's oldest state park - Chadron State Park. We pulled into the park, paid the separate entrance fee (in addition to the campsite fee), and rolled into a beautiful (mostly deserted) campground. After changing sites to accommodate the satellite dish (pesky trees), I hopped in the car to buy wood for a campfire. A campfire. Yes, a campfire. We were finally in an area where there is NOT a burn ban. There was actually a trace of humidity in the air!
After a great night of sleep, we decided to tackle one of the many trails. Our goal was pretty lofty, 5.2 miles, but there were several options for shortcuts back to the campground, if it became an ordeal.
Off we went. The first part of the trail was mowed grass. About ten minutes later, we dropped into a narrow, wet, muddy gulch. Five minutes later... "What is that crawling on my leg?"
This time I was the one demanding to end the hike. Dianne readily agreed. After a hasty retreat back to the motor home, we spent 45 minutes tweezing ticks off Chaplin and Bandido. They were easy to see on Chaplin, but difficult to find on the furrier Bandido. Nonetheless, we found several and think we got them all. Creepy, crawly, bloodsuckers, yuck!!!!
Here's a nifty tool we keep on hand for just such an occasion. It works as advertised and was really useful this day! As always, I include these links just as an FYI; I don't have enough readers to get anything from the links. -- D.
After the trauma, we decided to walk the scenic drive (pretty much the hike we abandoned) -- on the paved road. It was immediately evident that the walk would involve quite a bit of the uphill/downhill thing. Chaplin was lagging behind and definitely not happy. So, Dianne jubilantly took him back to the motor home (where she continued to flick ticks off her feet and legs) while Bandido and I forged on.
Dianne here -- I thought I had squished the ticks that we took off the dogs (even grinding them into the ground with the point of a stick). Turns out, they all must have come back to life, because as I sat trying to concentrate on a Sudoku, at least three of them crawled through the side holes of my Crocs and I felt them crawling on my feet, trying to find a "meatier" spot to bite me. A mom and kids walked past, and I overheard them talking about ticks. I spoke to them for a minute. The mom said they were from this area and come to Chadron a lot. After one hike, her little boy found 27 ticks on him!!! She said they had a contest to see who had the most ticks. She said you can't squish them to death; the only way she has found to kill them is to drown them in beer. After the third tick crawling into my shoe, I needed a beer or two or three.... Back to Roger's hike:
The five mile walk, though exhausting, was scenic.
After about four miles, Bandido was ready to be home. He pulled me over to a picnic area and laid down. Glad we brought plenty of water for the two of us. Glad Dianne decided to go back :-) (My legs were still sore from the hike up Scott's Bluff -- D.)
Oh c'mon Bandido! Take time to smell the pretty flowers!
When we reached the campground and turned a corner, as soon as Bandido caught sight of Dianne relaxing in a lawn chair, he pulled us both into a full run. So happy to be with his mommy. Doggie exercise for the day -- done.
The pet picture(s) of the day were taken back at the campground near Scotts Bluff. I was sitting outside when Dianne came running out of the motor home, proclaiming that the dog visible from the front windshield had to be a Blue Heeler (Bandido is mostly Blue Heeler). She ran down the street and quickly arranged for the two dogs to have a play date. As it turns out, Dakota was indeed a full-blooded Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler). Watching her, it was obvious that she was a great dog.
It was fun watching them meet and then chase each other. Good ending to the day.
(It was so much fun to watch the two of them play. Their mannerisms were very much the same, and there was lots of rough-and-tumble and boxing with their front legs. Bandido finally met his match! -- D.)
Dianne will be writing the next post from Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota -- a jaw-dropping place. We will be there for six full days -- lots of fun ahead!