Tag Archive: survey

Our Namesake

Jacque was covered in ticks at Blues Creek!

Ticks are nasty little buggers. Actually, they are arachnids, not bugs at all, with eight creepy little legs. Some ticks are bigger than others — seed ticks are teeny tiny, while deer ticks are a little bigger. They all make us cringe!

Sometimes we discover ticks on us while we’re in the field, which is preferred because that usually means we’ve found them before they’ve had time to imbed themselves into our bodies! Every so often though, a few hours after leaving the woods (or even a day or two later) we’ll feel a little itch… and there it is, a damn tick! How did we miss it?? We always do a tick check, afterall! Those things are just plain devious.

Last time I found a tick on me, I was driving to work and felt something on my head… it was an imbedded tick! I pulled it out immediately! I know they say to light a match on its butt or use nail polish and this and that, but after all these years of getting ticks, I’ve found all of that to be a major pain. The first time I was covered in ticks was after a visit to Ocala National Forest (that place is wrought with them). I immediately went to the doctor, and this is what he told me: 1) It’s rare to get Lyme disease in Florida. 2) A tick has to be imbedded for at least 24 hours to transfer the disease. 3) There is no way to actually test for Lyme disease, it’s just based off of symptoms (flu-like ones such as dizziness, headaches, fever, sore throat, joint pain) and the level of probability that you could have contracted the disease based on answers to a questionnaire.

So I was sent home, Lyme disease free (supposedly!). Ever since then, I haven’t worried too much about it and have learned to embrace being a CHICK WITH TICKS!!

Well, that was a long time ago. That dread got buried under many more days of unknowing…and defeats. That initial feeling of uncertainty got lost in the brambles and dark shadows of each forest we explored. Each vine we cursed. It got lost under years of experiences and disappointments. It got lost under the Knowing.

We had never finished that initial survey. It had slipped our minds. Leave it to John to ruin a perfectly good forgetting! John reminded us that we needed to go and resurvey the reach at the site. I am not sure what went through Kristen’s mind, but I had a moment of utter shock. What? We had to what? Not that site. It was a nightmare. I don’t think Kristen wanted to go back any more than I did. But, we did.

As we arrived, I mentioned that I remembered the upstream of our reach seemed more visible. It might be worth recon to see if it was more typical of the stream before the hurricane damage. We know now that looking at the site would show severe affectations from the bout of hurricanes. This would have done considerable damage and possibly morphological (big word for shape of the stream channel) changes that wouldn’t be typical before the hurricanes.

Funny thing – hurricanes are natural. Even if a system was destroyed by natural events – it’s still natural – but, it’s not usually typical. We needed to ditch the crappy horror of a reach that we busted that day so long ago and find something that still resembled the original stream. This may not be as horrible as it was! Horrible – YES – but maybe, just maybe not as horrible.

The Knowing - everything has changed!

We packed and began hiking in. Huh? This doesn’t even look like the same site I remembered. The palmettos weren’t so bad, in fact, there was a path of sorts. The vines were just vines. Nothing like a hundred other sites. We got to the stream and…it was so cute! It was a little gem of a stream with some damage that was evident.

This would be a dream come true. A “cake” site. We could shoot this in just an hour or so! What? Had we really changed that much? Had we really been to so many difficult sites that this NIGHTMARE seemed like a picnic. We laughed. We cried….we remembered. We realized that all the years in the field had changed the way we looked at everything. What seemed impossible – was a vacation! We had done so many sites, hiked so many miles, seen so many things – this was nothing!

We finished our recon – the site upstream was PERFECT. We setup the shoot, and finished in a couple of hours. We took our time and went to the original reach – it was harmless. There were no monsters waiting for us. There were no dark shadows hosting our fears and doubts. There was only a stream that deserved better. I can’t explain what happened to us that day. I only know that there are fewer shadows. There are less demons and monsters.

There are more streams that deserve better. I only hope we get there in time to capture them and preserve the story they have to tell. But, I can’t help but wonder….where did all those monsters go? I hope they didn’t find you! If so, just walk past them into the dark murky water. Reach down into the rotting leaves on the bottom. Grab a handful and take a deep breath of them. Look between the ripples and you soon forget they are there!

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