Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ticking the Easy Way Out.

I think it may be time to take a break from hiking. This past weekend's hike didn't pan out so well. We decided to take a break from the mountainous, rocky (bear) region of New Jersey and head south to Allaire State Park in Monmouth County. According to the trail book, it was a 4.5 hike on sandy trails. Sounded like a nice break. 

Well, heading south on a Saturday in July is kind of what everyone in North Jersey has in mind. The traffic just to get on the Garden State Parkway was stopped. So, Bright Ideas Mary decided to take the exit just before and backtrack to the Turnpike. After all, the book said you could get there from the Turnpike. Well, guess what? Traffic was WORSE on the Turnpike. We sat in traffic up until the exit, which was probably at least 10 miles.

It was frustrating, and I turned black and blue from beating myself up over and over for not staying the course. But there was nothing we could do. It was really quite interesting and amusing to watch people driving in the shoulder, weaving in and out of lanes and trying to cross over to the other section of Turnpike where they obviously thought there was less traffic---even though there wasn't and even though the signs above their idling cars said, "For official use only." Turns out everyone wants the Easy Way Out. And certain laws apparently don't apply during times of personal crises.

We finally made it to the park, and followed the instructions in the book, unlike last week, where we relied on a certain person's memory, which did not coincide with the trail blazes. We discovered a lush forest of grass and shade with a nice, flat sandy path. No bears. The tradeoff? Ticks.

Hundreds of them. No, probably thousands of them, since we picked off hundreds. That tall grass? Not so great. About a half hour into the hike, we stopped because Brian found a tick on his leg. Then he found some more. I looked and saw about 10 ticks on my legs and socks. A mixture of wood ticks and black-legged ticks (aka deer ticks). Then we looked at Lucy and she was covered with them. Good thing she'd just been groomed the day before-her coat wasn't as thick and they were easy to find. 

Should we turn back or go on? was the question. Well, it took us over two hours to get here and it should only have taken an hour. We've already gone about a mile. Let's just keep going and pick off ticks. 

The book was wrong. The trail was only about 2.5 miles and part of it was paved. Normally, I prefer a wooded path, but at that point, I was actually glad to be out of the woods!

What is it with these obstacles? Last week it was a bear---let's turn back---no let's keep going. Then it was the road closures---let's keep going, no, let's turn back. This week it was ticks---let's turn back---no, let's keep going. Turning back would be the Easy Way Out. Yes, the ticks were disgusting, but we sprayed DEET on us, which would either kill them or keep them off of us. We would just have to be diligent and pick them off of Lucy, who did have tick treatment on her. Disgusting, yes. Deterrent? No.

Just like the road blocks the other day----how often do we hit obstacles and we try to find the Easy Way Out? Sometimes, like with road blocks, we are forced to go back. When things get in our way, we are inconvenienced and we don't like to wait or add time to our journey because of a detour.

But sometimes, like this week and last week---we hit obstacles that give us a choice to either press on or go back. Going back is the Easy Way Out. But Going Back also seems like Giving Up. We usually learn more by Pressing On. 

So, what did I learn from Pressing On and not taking The Easy Way Out? That there were a heck of a lot more ticks on the path. That people who say ticks don't jump are liars. Ticks jump. I saw them. They jumped on, they jumped off. Ick!

But I also learned that I have more endurance than I thought. I have the ability to press on even when I don't want to. And I can even enjoy myself along the way. And we can't let fear make us turn back (I sound like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz...and all I kept saying was "I want to go home. And they sent me home...oh there's no place like home!") 

Pressing On through the fear makes us an overcomer! So go out, press on, be an overcomer! 

Blessings Along the Path,

PS-I was going to include a picture of a tick, but when I googled tick images they were so gross I couldn't stand it. What I thought was infestation is nothing compared to some of the images I saw...ew, ew, ew!

Video of the Day
There's No Place Like Home (Wizard of Oz ending)
Allaire State Park Link

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