Last weekend, we returned home from a wonderful trip down to Welaka, Florida. If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably seen many of our Welaka adventures before. My husband’s parents live there, and we go down one or twice a year for a week-long visit. We usually bring a kitty or two as well. This time we just brought Kylo Ren along with us. Caster and Kylo are the usual road-tripping duo, but since Caster has retired from the adventure lifestyle, Kylo traveled solo this trip.
Our first day there, we decided to go for a hike in the nearby Welaka State Forest. There are a few different hiking trails of varying lengths, and a couple of them even lead down to the St. Johns River. We grabbed a map of the forest with the trails outlined and started the journey. We opted for a 3-mile trail that would take us down by the river. Or at least that’s what we thought we were doing…
It was a beautiful day – sunny, but not too hot. It was actually very comfortable hiking in the shade of the forest. Kylo was into it. Hiking is his favorite kind of adventure, after all. He trotted along the trail, stopping here and there to sniff out different things or climb on fallen trees.
The trail we were on started off nicely, but the deeper we got into the forest, the less-maintained the trail became. We continued right along though, checking the map every now and then to make sure we were heading in the right direction. The map was a bit confusing though, and the trails were not well marked either.
About 45 minutes into the hike, my mother-in-law had to stop because she felt something painful bite her on her stomach. We checked it out, and it was a tick. She pulled it off, and we continued on our journey. Not too long after that, I noticed a tick on the back of Bobby’s leg. When we stopped to pull it off, another tick fell from the trees onto my hand. I bent down to check Kylo and found one crawling on his harness. We quickly realized that there was a serious tick problem going on.
We decided to turn around and head back to the car. It was then that we realized we were not on the trail we thought we were on. We were on some other trail that wasn’t even on the map! Thankfully we were able to find our way back to the car without much trouble.
As soon as we got home, we all thoroughly checked each other for ticks. Bobby had 4, my mother-in-law had 3, and Kylo Ren had 3 (thankfully none of his were actually attached yet). I miraculously didn’t have any. Over the next few days we continued to do the occasional tick check. Bobby found 2 more on him, and then I found 2 more crawling around our room – one on the bed and one on the floor. GROSS!!!!!
Though this particular adventure was a big fail thanks to the tick infestation the Welaka State Forest seems to have, there were some positives! Kylo Ren got to test out his new backpack carrier, which works very well. And we were all having a good time until we started finding ticks… Now we know we never have to go hiking in the Welaka State Forest again!
Stay tuned for more of Kylo Ren’s Welaka adventures…