The Blue Spring Experience

Salutations! It’s me, the poet on blueberry street.  I ‘ve upgraded to a new domain. All part of growing as a writer, I’m told. To those of you who have been following me, thanks. You’re in the right place.

Welcome back to part two of our camping season finale. In last week’s post, I shared how Herb, Buddy, and I arrived at Blue Spring State Park after driving three hundred miles out of our way. I have to say Buddy, our beagle, did very well in the car. He’s a good traveler. IMG_3707

Our campsite was dry, but not level. The fire ring looked like it was sliding off into a ditch. Herb did the best he could with the leveling jacks on the Viking, but when I sat at the dinette to eat, I felt like I was sliding off my seat. Oh well, we thought, at least we can sit outside without swarms of mosquitos buzzing around our ears.

We like to hike in the mornings when we’re on a campout. At Blue Spring we walked the Pine Island Trail with Buddy. The trail coursed through a beautiful shady hammock into an open field. When we returned to the campsite, we sat down to enjoy our second cup of coffee and discuss our plans for the day.

“How about renting a canoe?” I asked. Herb thought that sounded like a good idea. When I changed into my swimsuit, I noticed a tick on my leg. “OH NO!” I panicked.

Herb tried to get the tick out with tweezers. Unfortunately part of its body was still attached to my leg. I felt upset with myself.  I realized I’d let my guard down regarding hiking in Florida in the summer.

I wasn’t wearing clothes sprayed with Permethrin.

I didn’t spray my legs with insect repellant.

I didn’t check myself right away when we returned from the hike.

I didn’t take a picture of the tick.

I was a bad hiker.

So where did all those mistakes lead me? To the ranger station, of course. I walked up to the window and told a ranger about my problem. “You better get medical attention,” he said, “You could get an infection if the rest of the tick isn’t removed. We’re also seeing something new in the southeast now. People are getting the meat allergy disease from ticks.” He directed me to a walk-in clinic in the area.

Herb and Buddy waited in the car while I sought out help at the clinic. Can you believe it was my first day on Medicare? Luckily I had my card with me. I signed in at the desk and told the receptionist about the tick. “Glad you came in,” she said. “Have you heard of the meat allergy? It might not be all bad, you could become a vegetarian, and be hip.”

I liked her humor, but I didn’t laugh. I filled out the forms and waited. Two hours later the rest of the tick was finally removed. No, it didn’t cost me an arm or a leg in the process, thanks to Medicare. The nurse practitioner prescribed an antibiotic. So far I’m still eating hamburgers with no adverse reactions. Follow this link for more information about ticks. This trip was not our first experience with ticks. The pests tend to be more active during the Florida rainy season.

It’s not really fair to only write about ticks without sharing the beauty of Blue Spring. The campground is a five minute walk from the spring. One morning we saw a manatee. Campers have access to the area before the park opens to daytime visitors. Our last day in the park I rose early. When I arrived at the water’s edge the sun was beginning to light up the scene. The water changed to a brilliant emerald color.  Every time a fish surfaced ripples radiated through the still water. All was quiet except for the call of a great egret on a limb.  This sight helped me forget all  of the bugs, heat, and humidity of the past few days.

IMG_3786I can’t leave without sharing the photo of the egret.

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I’d love to hear from you. If you enjoy nature, or want to share any tips about ticks, leave a comment.