Monday Morning Musings

Posted on June 8, 2020 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment


Paradise Lost


I’m supremely ticked off.

Now what, pray tell, has Len in a lather? Nothing, actually. I don’t lather easily these days with a bald head.

Last Thursday was one of those glorious spring days. The air was devoid of humidity, the sun shone brightly, and there was a gentle breeze wafting through the air. I went for a morning walk where I realized for the umpteenth time how lucky I was to live in this town, this province, and this country. All the leaves of the trees are now in bloom and the birds seemed particularly cheerful that morning.

I texted Pete late morning and we agreed that it would be an ideal day for a long hike. Having already hiked Sugarloaf on multiple occasions, as well as a few walks through the Keppoch and Fairmont Ridge, we opted to go and do the trail at Ballantyne’s Cove. I had done it once before a few years ago and remembered it fondly.

We parked the car just off the road on the Lighthouse Road, walked across the highway, and began our ascent. We both commented on the lovely smells emanating from the new foliage. After walking for about half an hour, we reached one of several glorious lookoffs. We were able to look down at the wharf at Ballantyne’s Cove and all up the coastline. Off in the distance, we could see Cape Breton Island. I mentioned to Pete the stark contrast between this and some of the very crowded cities that I’ve been in over my lifetime. We were gazing at paradise.

This feeling of bliss was short lived. Paradise morphed into purgatory and then into pure hell.

I couldn’t recall from my previous walk around this trail how long it took to get to the wharf, followed by the 2 kilometer walk back up the highway to the Lighthouse Road to retrieve our car. Around the 45- minute mark, we were passing through part of the path that was a bit swampy when I heard Pete yell, “Oh, crap.” Truthfully, that’s not what he uttered! Both of his legs were covered in ticks. He frantically brushed them off. I was preoccupied with his situation and didn’t pay much attention to my own well being until I got to the other end of the swampy area. When I saw blood dripping form my leg, I knew that a tick had found its mark.

Having once before experienced a tick embedded in my shoulder a few years ago, I wasn’t too alarmed. I took a kleenex out of my pocket and removed the tick before he gained entry under my skin. I had merely suffered a flesh wound. There were a few others on my socks which I was able to brush off.

Back on a dry path, we felt relieved to have that little piece of drama behind us. We soon realized, however, that that was just the beginning of our travails. For the next hour and a half, we spent inordinate amounts of time removing ticks. Sadly, five of them managed to land and remain on me long enough to turn me into a walking blood bank. We encountered many large trees downed by a windstorm. They were strewn across the trail at various intervals requiring us to go over, under and around them, picking up even more ticks. The further we walked, we came to the realization that these nasty insects had targeted the old and frail person in much larger numbers than the young and strong member of our twosome.

Just before exiting the woods, after what felt like an eternity, we captured one of the ticks and put it in Peter’s water bottle.

I was never so glad to see asphalt in my entire life. It’s fortuitous that no one stopped to offer us a ride up the last steep 2-kilometer incline. They may have reported a zombie sighting to the authorities.

We returned to my apartment. I stripped off all of my bloody clothing and immediately put it in the washing machine. I jumped into the shower and watched the water run off my body in pink rivulets.

We cracked open a cold beer. After all of the extra exertion in the woods, including jogging the last 15 minutes of the trail, we were dehydrated.

As many of you know, ticks come in a number of varieties. Some can cause Lyme disease. Wanting to rule this out, we took a picture of the tick and posted it on Facebook. It didn’t take long for the public to weigh in. Several people took stabs at identifying the offending object while other dispensed medical advice. It was suggested that a) I call 811; b) that I apply Vaseline to the affected areas; c) that I use rubbing alcohol. After the fact I became aware of “tick kits” and Atlantick Outdoor Spray.

Not having any rubbing alcohol for external use, I did what any self-respecting Maritimer would do. I opted for the internal use of alcohol and grabbed a second can of beer.

I was made aware of an app (thanks LM) that can help a person find out exactly what kind of tick has attacked them. I downloaded the app at We sent off a picture and two hours later received definitive word. Prior to this, a good friend and respected veterinarian, Alyssa informed me that the tick in the picture we had posted was a dog tick. eTick had come to the same conclusion.

The drama was over.

The following morning, I was out for a walk. Coming through a path at the rear of our apartment building, I stopped amongst a stand of trees and chatted with a neighbour. I felt something bite my arm. Instinctively I recoiled. I put my hand to my arm and came up with bloodied fingers. You cannot imagine my relief and joy when I discovered that I had been bitten by a garden variety mosquito. Rarely has a mosquito bite ever felt so good.

I entered my apartment, cleared away this latest bloodletting, and turned on Youtube. I thought it was only appropriate to listen to an old Jethro Tull favourite… “Tick as a Brick”!

Have a great week.

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