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Date Sent:      April 30, 2009
Subject:           Ticks, trails and park benches
From:               John Bondon
Hi All,

We had at least 35 hikers show up for last Sunday's trek at Inspiration Point along the Nimitz Way trail. Was a beautiful day for a hike as well. The morning started a little on the chilly side but you certainly didn't notice once we got underway. Was plenty warm with the sun shining down on us.

This is tick season and typically we don't think of checking for ticks after hiking paved trails but in fact I discovered how active ticks are along the Nimitz Trail this past Sunday. I think this has more to do with where my dog ventured than where I did. I stuck to the paved trail, of course. And for the most part he did as well, but there where many times he liked to walk in the tall grass along the edge of the trail. And even sat in the grass several times to take a panting break as well. Before returning back to the car, howver, I removed at least 3 ticks from Casper and later discovered a 4th on him at home. The next morning I was shocked to discovered (completely by accident) one on myself as well! And my wife later found one on her as well, and she hadn't even gone hiking!! All this after we had thoroughly checked both myself and the dog the evening before for stowaway ticks.

Being a dog owner I have to be especially aware and vigilant when it comes to ticks, but this experience should serve as a good lesson for all of us to get in the habit of always checking for ticks on ourselves (and our loved ones) even after hiking those locations where you wouldn't immediately suspect such a threat.

Ironically I heard an interesting story on the radio the other day about ticks that I wanted to share but now I can't find much about it online. It related to a recent finding about ticks at Tilden Park. What part of the park would you expect to have the highest risk of encountering ticks? As a hiker you might automatically answer something along the lines of "in the high grass" or "going off trail" or the like. But would you believe picnic benches?!! Yes! wood picnic benches have been found to have a potentially high concentration of nymphal ticks in Tilden Regional Park. And these ticks are so small you may not even be able to see them! For this reason, medical professionals are "encouraging the use of tick repellent when picnicking on wooden tables."

You will find more information about ticks and lyme disease, including related links like how to properly remove a tick, under the Misc section of the Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs) page .

A Preview of our upcoming hikes, by the hike leader(s):

Howard says of the upcoming Shell Ridge - Rockspring Pl entrance hike on Sunday, May 3 at 9:30 AM: "As sometimes stated, ".

John plans to lead the upcoming Utility Trail to Canal Trail hike on Sunday, May 10 at 10:30 AM

You'll find more details about each of these upcoming hikes, including starting time and directions to the trailhead, posted on the East Bay Casual Hiking website. In the event of rain, please check with the hike leader as to whether the hike will proceed as planned.

Happy Trails! :)

Happy Trails,

John




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