Not-so-Great Pond Mountain Wildlands Hike

spotYesterday, Lonnie and I, and the pooches of course, attempted a hike to one of our favorite secluded spots in the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands/Trust whateveritscalled, or as I now call it, the Tick Sanctuary. It’s a PERFECT spot where we can make a little fire, hang our hammocks for a nap, take a dip in the lake, and not see one single other human. There is even a picnic table! To get there you have to walk around a mile on a dirt road, then you take a left down a slightly groomed grassy trail.  We have been going to this spot for at least 4 years, maybe 5. Yesterday, when we turned onto the grassy trail portion of the trek, we were immediately inundated with ticks. We both ran back to the dirt road and had to strip off our socks, shoes, and pants to make sure we got them all off us. We quickly checked over the dogs and they seemed fine, we assumed their collars the vet recommended were doing their job. We turned back and decided on a Plan B adventure. Next time, we will kayak there like we did last year!

When we got home, we realized the dogs were not fine. They were very ticked up. We have spent last night and today thinking we got them all, and then finding another. We are all skeeved out and itchy and never wanting to go outdoors again. Fortunately, the collars actually DO do their job, and none of the ticks have been attached enough to feed.

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Throwback to Luna’s first visit to “the spot” in 2014. No ticks.

But WHY!? Why all of a sudden does it seem like ticks are taking over the world?? As I mentioned, we have been going there for years and have NEVER seen even ONE tick.

While driving to the grocery store, I theorized to Lonnie that I think it’s related to climate change. Maine’s shrimp industry is failing because of warmer water temps, wouldn’t it make sense that warmer temperatures would make ticks happy, happy, happy? Not completely sold on that theory, Lonnie theorized that ticks are becoming genetically heartier and more resistant to all climates. (Don’t you wish you could come grocery shopping with us zany kids!!?? LOL)

Well of course I had to do some research when we got home, mostly to prove my theory was right and his was wrong. #keepinitreal

Apparently the 2 largest factors in the tick increase are the mild winter, and acorns. Yup, acorns. Little did we all know…. in 2010 there was a bumper crop of acorns, resulting in an increase in the mice who eat them. And ticks love them some mice, so they increased too. Fast forward to 2107, shitty acorn crop, less mice, ticks still gotta eat.

So basically, I was right. Ok… not entirely right, but since my rightness occurs so rarely with him. I’m taking it.

Oh yeah… here are a couple of my sources because I am a grad student and that’s what we do 😉

http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/the-year-of-the-tick/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/06/2017-may-very-bad-year-lyme-disease/100120496/