In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we become overwhelmed with work, the city, traffic, family obligations, and the stress of too much responsibility. A great way to escape all of this pressure is a rejuvenating hike through nature. Allow yourself the peace of mind by experiencing the beauty of nature, as you go backpacking along the trails of relaxation.
Once the decision has been made to embark on a backpacking adventure, you must prepare for the awaiting excursion. Ensuring you have all of the necessary gear such as, water, matches, a knife, and so forth is essential to a fun, safe hike. Something else which must be considered is protecting yourself from the less than hospitable inhabitants of the forest. Deer ticks cover the forest, patiently awaiting their next victim. It is important to properly prepare your body and clothing, to prevent ticks from latching on to your skin.
The warmer months are preferred by ticks and other creatures of the forest, so stay cautious as you hike the trails. Ticks like shady, cool areas, so it is best to stay on a clear unobstructed trail. Veering off the trail will lead to thicker underbrush, where ticks are abundant and waiting. There are often sections along a trail where the brush has grown over the path, or a tree has fallen. It is important to stay on the specified trail and not stray off onto a different trail, or deep into the woods. Taking a map of the trails along will help ensure you stay on the correct path and most importantly, keep you from getting lost.
One of the easiest steps in preventing exposure to ticks is bug spray. Cover all of the body and even cloths in a mist of bug spray to give your body a coating of anti-insect perfume. When selecting the proper kind of bug spray, look for brands which specifically state, “Protection against ticks”.
Protecting the legs from exposure is very important, as it will prevent cuts from brush and bug bites. There is a simple and effective way to prevent ticks from getting under your cloths and onto the skin. Tuck your pant legs into your socks and then pull your socks up high on your leg. It may look silly, but doing this will create a layer the tick will have trouble finding its way through. This is not a guarantee against ticks, but it will drastically lower the chance of them getting onto the skin.
During the summer months wearing pants may not be feasible, so an alternate method must be taken. Douse your legs in bug spray and try not to brush up against any foliage along the hike. Should you spot a tick on your legs, remove it immediately so it does not have an opportunity to attach itself to the skin.
Wearing light colored clothing is a very effective way to spot a tick which has found its way onto your body. A deer tick is dark in color and will stand out more easily against a light colored background. Wearing dark clothes with provide a tick with excellent camouflage and make them very hard to see.
Checking your body for ticks along the hike may prevent one from attaching itself to your skin. If you are hiking with a friend, check each other every few miles, to ensure none of these little critters have found a new home. Once the hike is finished check yourself and your buddy again to make sure you are tick free.
After returning home from a rejuvenating hike through the woods, it is a good idea to take a shower immediately. This will help wash away any ticks or other parasites which may have found their way underneath your clothing. Should a tick already be attached to the skin, pinch it as close to the skin as possible and pull it out. Make sure the head of the tick comes out with the body, so the skin does not become infected.
These are just a few simple steps for backpacking safety in deer tick country. Enjoy the outdoors and everything it has to offer.