Saturday, May 24, 2008

Virginia: We're full of blood-sucking parasites!

I was in Virginia over the weekend to attempt to complete my open-water scuba certification. I failed to do that because I had to abort my dives because it felt like my left eardrum ruptured. The doc said no the next day, but that sure isn't the way it felt. I had planned to do some geocaching after the dives, anyway. I just got an earlier start. What I didn't expect was to have to be picking hordes of these beasties off of me all day while I searched. What is worse, of course, is picking the ones I missed off myself later on. Sometimes my camera can pull off getting good detail on tiny things. This one was about the size of a 12 point font letter O. And it was probably one of the bigger ones. I'm still not completely sure I got all of them. I'm sunburned, too, which doesn't help because it itches and feels like stuff is crawling around on me even though there isn't anything there. And I am taking antibiotics because, even though my eardrum doesn't have a hole in it, there is now suddenly all kinds of fluid behind it and it either is or stands a good chance of being infected. So, with all these little buggers, not to mention the mosquitos battling for their spot, and of which I crushed several, I thought maybe Viriginia might want to adopt "Virginia: We're full of blood-sucking parasites!" as it's state motto.

So the first cache I tried to find was near this spot. This was at the base of some weird looking radio tower that tens of thousands of people drive by every day on I-66. At least there will be plenty of video of me wandering off into the woods to go geocaching. And picking ticks off of myself.

So far I've been warned about water hazards and electrical hazards. Now radio. This one seems to suggest that the chain-link fence is somehow protecting me from the giant tower . . . er, towering above me. Or maybe if somebody who wasn't qualified climbed up the tower, they would microwave everybody on I-66. Either way, this wasn't the way I had to go.

Looks remote, huh? But it's not. It's just a patch of undeveloped land between two very busy highways. There were only sounds of cars (mostly on I-66) and that was it. No other animal sounds. They were probably all dead from tick-borne illnesses. But in fairness, the page announcing this cache did say there were ticks here.

So. I think this is poison ivy. I'm not really sure. The only way I know for sure is that later on, I have an allergic reaction to it. I've got a little bump on my thigh that looks like a blister from poison ivy--but it makes no sense for it to be there because nothing on my thigh would have come in contact with anything that touched the plant.

From there I went to what I suppose was downtown Haymarket. Ahh. No ticks. No poison ivy. Just people. Of course, people are sometimes more of a problem. But not this day.

It was around here where I made my second cache claim for the day. From there, it was on to James S. Long Regional Park, and back into the woods. And more ticks.

They have odd trees in the park.

While I was wandering around, picking up ticks and searching for the cache, I saw many trees that had been chewed through.

This seemed like it might have been a good spot, but it wasn't. And neither were lots of other spots I looked in. I found stage one of this multipart cache, but never did find stage two. Maybe if I go back to the area to try to dive again, I will give this cache another try as well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008 

Category: Life

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