The weather was holding up for us as we packed our belongings and made our way up north; clear skies, 89 degrees. Call us crazy but we decided to give the previous destination we had stayed at a whirlwind go again. Except this time, we planned to cover the area a bit more in hopes of setting up camp in a different location within the Appalachian mountains. But before doing so, we thought that if we’re going to be living this way for quite sometime, that it would be a good idea to shop for more camp gear. Let’s face it, it is by no means easy camping 24/7. Ahh success, yes! No more sleeping on hard rock ground. We now had sleeping pads that would finally bring comfort to our aching bodies and allow us to get better rest and duffle bags to be better organized.
We trekked up further, making our way to the other side of the woods; walking through bushes to cobwebs, crossing our fingers that we’d find a spot. The leafs were flickering under the bright sunlight, creating glimpses of shade. As we walked the trail, we noticed a few areas that looked like a place to camp. We walked deeper into the woods when we heard what sounded like running water. Right before our very eye’s was a stream, it seriously had the sound of what you’d experience when walking into a spa resort; so tranquil, and calm. To our left was a cleared out bare spot. It may have not been state park worthy but to us was perfect! The area was already paved out for us, which included a fire pit; no prior work needed to setup. Yay.
Now…we were a bit skeptical at first though because it looked as though it had been frequented for the passerby’s, reason being was because not only was it perfectly paved out for campers but also because when we looked to our far right of the stream, there appeared to be old beer cans and an abandoned white and red Coleman cooler. However, it still seemed almost too perfect to pass up.
The following days to come would be just what we had in mind, peacefulness, clear skies, and tranquility. Talk about finally catching a break. Our sleep was no longer getting interrupted, we were now able to de-layer unlike before from the chilly weather we had, and the mornings greeted us with the chirping of birds that sang the tune of a melody, it was nature at it’s very best!
A few nights went by when began realizing just how many drivers pass through this dirt road. The noise was especially awful in the night, which starting happening more and more. Spiffy and I did a full body check before going to sleep one evening as we usually did before getting some shuteye in order to be sure neither one of us had a tick; this was the season when they are at their best worst. When morning rolled around; the 21st of June, Spiffy felt a bump “what on earth is this, I don’t recall this being here before.” He tried getting a good look at the lump but couldn’t, it was too much on the inner left thigh, making it a hard to reach area, so he decided to have me check it out instead. To our surprise, it was a tick bite. To think we could get away avoiding a single tick all summer was a joke. The bite resembled that of a freckle with a scab like feeling. We panicked or should I say I panicked. I didn’t know what to do, I mean I did but being mentally prepared verse physically prepared are two completely different things. I had only ever read horror stories of these blood-sucking creatures. We immediately dashed to the car, treated the area with rubbing alcohol and tweezers, slowly and gently yanking the tick. Unfortunately, the pressure was on me to get the job done after Spiffy had a failed attempt trying to do so himself. It was so tricky; if not done properly, you can accidently detach the body from the head leaving the creature to continue infesting itself under your skin. I had gotten myself so worked up on thinking I couldn’t get it that I literally couldn’t. It was now left it up to Spiffy once again; a little tug and a little luck, he got it! Few! What a relief.
Since we had time to kill around camp with nowhere to be or nothing to do the following day, June 21st, Spiffy was on the search for stepping-stones. I thought that with the mucky grounds around camp, having a walkway outside of our tent would make getting out of the tent to put on shoes a whole lot easier on us and further prevent our feet from getting more dirty than they already were. Time had passed; “where is he, it’s been an awful long time,” I thought to myself. I made my way down the trail, just when I did, Spiffy made a shrill of a noise and leap backwards. He had found a mountaintop of abandoned flagstone that he thought would make an excellent walkway. However, with it came a hidden treasure, and I say that not in a joyous way… He was so taken back and surprised by what he saw, he thought I should have a looksee as well. As he threw a piece of stone back, a 3ft SNAKE slithered from beneath. This was definitely one for the books.
Sometimes you can never be prepared for the things that lurk within the woods.