The sun is shining, and the temps are moderately warm; high humidity is thankfully absent at present, so the family dog, Chewie, and I shared a brief escape from the apartment complex this morning. He and I walked one of the many Greenway Trails located in Metro Nashville. Today, our jaunt was down part of the Stones River Trail, which begins below the Dam at Percy Priest Lake.
It was a great day for walking, and once past where the trail goes under I-40, one could almost convince herself that she was in the woods walking along a gently rolling river instead of in a metropolitan area. Chewie was so excited; he had to stop, sniff, and pee (or attempt to pee) every few feet. When passing other canines, Chewie wanted to charge over and share the dog handshake – the sniff – but he found that not all of the other dogs were open to that idea. After all, we did not see any that were as large as Chewie. Reactions varied from “come on and sniff – I’m ‘down’ with that” to “you just scared the pee out of me” to the teeth-bared warning of the police dog that said “stay out of my personal space.”
Before too long, the old boy was panting so hard that I didn’t think he would make it the 3 miles round-trip I had intended, so at just past 3/4 of a mile, we turned around and walked back to the parking lot located below the dam.
Once home and cooling down, I felt a stab in the middle of my back. Struggling with sweat-drenched clothes, I finally was undressed enough to see that I had a stowaway from the Greenway who not only hopped a ride on my back, but who also decided to make me his breakfast. The only skin not protected by clothing that I had not covered in all-natural bug repellant was the back of my neck, and as I worked to get the tick off of my back, I vaguely remembered thinking I saw something fall from a tree limb as we neared the end of the trail. Later, I remember feeling something on my neck, but I thought it was sweat rolling down. Nope, it was a pesky, nasty tick!
The freeloader removed and ousted, I took a long, hot shower, soaping myself from head to toe while looking for other stowaways not content to stay in their wooded paradise.
Next time I head to a Greenway to hike, I think I’ll leave the dog at home, and I’ll be more careful to put bug repellant on all exposed skin. Once home, I think I’ll go straight to the shower to rid myself of any unwelcome guests who may have hopped on me for a ride and a meal.