1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

'Iceland! Greenland!': The Peaks and Pitfalls of Living and Hiking in Northwest Florida

Beautiful but deadly Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) at Bear Creek Educational Forest
When I was a young lass long ago, about Middle School age (we called it Junior High back then), a friend of mine and I--we knew somehow that we were Misfits, aka Nerds--thought that we could transcend the Difficulty Du Jour by aligning it with either Iceland or Greenland. Simply put, if the temperature in winter-time P.E. class was bone-chilling cold, we would exclaim to each other, "Iceland!," hoping that the warming geothermal properties of that region would make themselves felt in our parallel universe (Illinois). As you can imagine, "Greenland!" could just as easily make our sweat-soaked, late-summer school days seem cool and spring-like. It might be the remnants of nerdity in me, but I still find this "Opposites or Negatives Attract the Positive Effect" useful or at least interesting in certain situations.

For example, on Friday afternoon, SAM and I were thinking that a hilly hike along Bear Creek Trail on our way to Tallahassee this weekend would be a great way to unwind from a fairly flat week. It was a much warmer day than we had anticipated, but as we were approaching the exit from I-10, I told him that I was at least more than happy to not be bothered by ticks in all of our forays into the forest (so far) in Florida. There I was, as usual, patting myself on the back and pleased as can be.

Humongous fungus in Bear Creek Educational Forest, late April 2013
Then, as we took to the trail, I stopped along the way, as usual, to take a few pics of fascinating things like this humongous fungus. Apparently, Opposites or Positives (thinking we were finally immune from ticks) can also Attract the Negative Effect. This must be a law of some kind, I'm sure, and not to be trifled with. As you can imagine, all the way home, even a day after the hike (ticks can and do hide and wait for you in vehicles), we were picking off ticks and pushing them out the car window or dropping them down the rest area toilet as we found them feasting on various body parts.

Every time I sent a tick sailing through the air or flushed away to Septic Paradise, I thought to myself, "Iceland! Greenland!" A simple stress solution from childhood. Not a bad idea even now. Oh, and keep moving while hiking in Florida. That's an even better idea.


  1. Oh dang...ticks scare me so bad!!! This is such a problem up there! My friend in Gainesville contracted Lyme, and I believe I had a tick on me (although probably NOT a deer tick) and freaked out with my vet, and our dog and cat flea medicine only covers DOG ticks. Anyway, my lone supposedly possible tick bite healed and hopefully I will live. Is there anything you can do to keep them off of you??? Just askin.

    I can see you now saying, yelling or thinking ICELAND, GREENLAND during this de-ticking process! Funny and cute story!!! You and your girlfriend really were big nerds!!! Hey, when my brother addresses me, he always ends the phrase in "BIG NERD"! I've grown accustomed to it, I suppose!!! hahaha.

  2. I hate ticks! We have them in Michigan too and it keeps me mostly on the cement paths and out of the woods because of lyme disease.

  3. Dear Walk2Write,
    to be sure I looked into a dictionnary - and yes: tick was what I thought. They are in Southern Germany more than in Northern (but moving forward), and the pharmacists are making big noises about them each year - there are some diseases that some (but not all) can transmit. But that you will know much better than I, being in health profession, so I assume your woods have those ticks that are harmless, though unnerving, I think. When we were bitten as children, it was always a procedure to get them out whole (because they can stay with their head in) - but thank God we never had an infection. That's what I wish to you too - complete health!

  4. Ironically now Iceland is becoming more like Illinois due to global warming and rising temps bring more tick too. I enjoyed this glimpse into your childhood.

  5. Believe it or not... we used to yell "Galapacos" Or 'Siberia" lol. there's a certain magical thought process that children have that we lose as we get older. I, for one, miss it and try to recapture it whenever I can.

  6. Hiya .. I've never heard of this thought process before - but it does make sense doesn't it ...

    Ticks - the bane of our lives, when we're hot and sweaty anyway .. just an added nuisance ... they must be food for a bit of fauna!

    Love the photos though ...

    Cheers Hilary

  7. I know the feeling well! I've picked off no less than 6 ticks today. They are an awful thing and yes, they surely do hide and wait for you in vehicles. I think it odd you've only now experienced them in Florida but you know when I lived in southern Alabama they were not so prevalent there either. I hope they are not moving south like most of the nation;)

  8. I reckon we are lucky in my neck of the woods as we have never experienced a tick issue. I just knocked on wood three times in hopes I did not jinx myself with that statement. Now Chiggers, well that is another story as they seem to love me and let me know with just about every walk outside.

    Your meatballs looks much better then tar balls below. Yum...

  9. I've been lucky never to have been bitten by a tick...I think...but chiggers are another story. Glad you were brave enough to venture into the forest anyway--the mountain laurel is lovely.

    I'll have to remember to yell "Greenland" this summer when the temperatures soar and make me miserable:)

  10. Julie, when I was young, "nerd" was seldom heard, but there sure were geeks, freaks, jocks, and "socies" (socialites). I was comfortable enough as a geek and still am in fact, though technology has nothing to do with the geekiness. As for keeping ticks off, SAM said he used to use sulfur powder, but some of the ticks must have pinched their noses because even that didn't deter them. They are determined critters.

    Christi, until now I wasn't afraid of walking in the woods in Florida. I guess we will have to be more careful from now on.

    Britta, when I was a kid, the favored methods for tick extraction were either coating them with clear nail polish or touching the body with a burning match head that had just been extinguished. As you said, getting them out intact is not easy to do.

    Sarah, I'm glad you liked my story. I believe that Iceland has always had its own issues with warming because of its very active geothermal features. The surge in tick population probably has more to do with the surge in deer population than anything else. We did see many deer tracks along the trail.

    Claude, it's true what you say. We tend to lose the key to happiness as we get older. It's locked up in the simple joys of childhood.

    Thanks, Ms. Hilary. I keep reminding myself that ticks must serve a purpose in life. Food for thought, if nothing else!

    Tina, we need to come up with a new, nontoxic method of tick prevention. Maybe some kind of ultrasonic device that would send them running in the opposite direction.

    Skeeter, I'm familiar with chiggers too. They don't carry any diseases as far as I know, but I think they rival the ticks in being an itching annoyance. Glad you like the meatballs. If you ever get down this way, I'll fix you some.

    Rose, we were clueless to the tick hazard that day. For some reason, we had never encountered them here in Florida before then. I'm glad I could help you stay cool this summer. But it probably only works if you do yell it out loud.

  11. Yikes. No hyperbole here. I'd rather run into a grizzly bear in Montana that a flock of ticks anyplace. Several friends and relatives have gotten some really nasty stuff from them. The ticks that is...:(

  12. Hi w2w,
    I'm sorry those unwelcome critters discourage forest lovers from the pleasure of wandering without care.
    I once was bitten by a mountain leech. Since I removed it soon, it wasn't much of a problem, however,its biting trace remained for a while.
    "Iceland""Greenland" approach is so cute. Now I have to think of some alternative charm to prepare for upcoming summer.