Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Alberta - David Thompson Highway, Easter, and Ticks

Last year, on the way to Easter dinner, my hubby and I decided to take a scenic drive through the mountains.  This was definately the long route, but it was beautiful. 

My hubby had packed his camera, so we made several stops along the way too, which was great.  Too often, I think, it is easy to just admire the view through the windshield and you miss some of the true experience. 

Here is my hubby with his camera and
tripod set up along the shoulder of the road. 
(Yes, I was worried about passing cars. 
No, he wasn't.)
So, our route was to go from Calgary to Banff National Park.  We traveled through the park along the Trans-Canada Highway (aka Highway #1, which connects Canada from Pacific coast to Atlantic coast).  Then, we turned on to the David Thompson Highway, named for an early explorer and map maker. 

David Thompson, who lived from 1770 to 1857, was busy all over North America.  They say he mapped over 3.9 million square kilometers (again, for reference, Great Britain is just under 230,000 square kilometers).  He started his surveying and fur trading career with the Hudson's Bay Company, which was established in 1670 and is still in business today (!), then Thompson moved to the North West Company, etc.   

But enough of the history lesson...

Isn't it beautiful?

This was one of our last stops.

Here's a pic of me from that day...
tick free for the moment...
While we were out, I walked around a bit, off the road.  I didn't feel comfortable on the shoulder.  Although there wasn't a lot of traffic, the cars that did come were flying by. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I like to think I'm just interested in self-preservation.

In retrospect, this wasn't my best decision.

Even though there was snow every where, I came to learn that spring was in the air. I don't know where I was struck, but at some point in my excursion a whole family of hungry ticks decided I looked tasty. 

I found my first one when I was in the car, about twenty minutes from our last stop.  Then I found another.

When we arrived at my family's house, I found another. 

At that point, I asked my mom and my sister to help me.  (My hubby and brother in law laughed at me and went to watch hockey on TV... Hmm... I need to remember that for the future. ;) )  They combed through my giant mass of curls, bit by bit.  (Do you have any idea what curly hair looks like after being searched with a fine tooth comb one tiny section at a time?  I'll just say it was good I didn't have to go into public.)  Still, no one really thought we'd find another tick.  I mean, really... people talk about find a tick or two.  I'd already found three.  It was unlikely we'd find more.  

My luck was a little different.  After many screams and horrified gasps, we discovered a troop of the little bloodsuckers were still trying to set up house at the back of my neck!!  The final count was seven.  Yes, SEVEN!!!  One even tried to jump ship and settle on my mom's head.  If you are ever in this situation, please beware!  The little creeps are fast... they jump and everything!

I swear, as I write this, I can feel bugs crawling all over my skin right now. *itch, itch, itch* 

My sister collected one and stuck it in a jar, in case I started to show signs of lyme disease or some other horrible infection. We'd googled, so we understood the risks. ;) That little guy lived in a jar on my kitchen counter for a long time.  My hubby finally threw it away when it appeared I'd survived the tick's war on my head with nothing more serious than icky memories.

My family has requested that I don't bring any extra guests to Easter this year.


Have you had a beautiful day get sidetracked by an unexpected multi-legged critter?  Do you have a tick experience you'd like to share?  We can create a support group. ;)


Anonymous said...

Okay, now that you've totally freaked me out with the tick story, I'll try to calm down enough to enjoy those gorgeous photos. They are beautiful. So weird to think that spring was there with all that snow.

Now about the ticks - - seven?!?!?! Seriously!?!?! People would hear me screaming in the next city, LOL. The thought of anything crawling on me, let alone trying to dig under my skin, could make me break glass with my screams.

I'm glad to hear you found them all and didn't suffer any complications. I know two people who had lyme disease and it was a long recovery! *shudder*

patonlorraine said...

LOL. Sorry, Mae! I freaked myself out too, if it is any concilation.

I'd never had a tick think I looked interesting before, and I hope I don't have to go through that again! Luckily, based on what I've read, there doesn't seem to be a lot of diseases transmitted by ticks in Alberta. Lyme disease sounds horrible. Still, I was checking my neck obsessively, looking for the telltale bulls-eye rash, for several months before I accepted I was safe.

It is a beautiful drive, though, and if we do it again this year, I'll know better than to think it is still "winter." In fact, I may just stay in the car. ;)