I love that the boys are finally old enough for more fun activities. No longer cute lumps on a swaddled blanket, they are fully interactive and fun. Easter egg hunt? Absolutely! Quick trip to Target? Of course! Playdate? For sure. So when Memorial Day weekend rolled around, Corey and I thought it would be an excellent idea to take them to Calvert Cliffs State Park. It boasts the little boy trifecta: a huge playground with a pirate theme, a beach, and the opportunity to look for fossilized shark and ray teeth. It was like offering them to go visit Santa at a waterslide park. They were super excited.
I had been there once when I was in middle school. My mom packed me a liverwurst sandwich in a brown bag and sent me off to the paleontology field trip for my “kids in college” summer camp (side note: how did I not get beat up more as a kid?). I remember loving it. I came home with loads of fond memories and a bag full of shark teeth. Now, 30 years later, I was looking forward to taking the boys. Sans liverwurst.
Corey and I drove the two hours down there and found a lovely ranger who informed us that the beach I so fondly remembered was a 1.8 mile hike through the woods. I thought of my kids’ short legs and the long walk, suddenly thankful for the jog stroller in the trunk.
Me, to kindly ranger: “We have a jog stroller. Will that work on the trail to the beach?”
Ranger: “Take the service road. It’s a straight shot to the beach and wide enough for the stroller.”
Sounds simple, right? We found the service road and started out. Gorgeous day, serene forest, fossils waiting, we were on our way! Three miles and almost two hours later, we were hopelessly lost in the godforsaken, effing trees. The only thing the service road actually serviced was a swamp. The ups and downs of the path were so steep that I pushed the jog stroller with Corey behind me, both hands firmly on my butt as he shoved us all up the hill.
We eventually gave up our dream of fossils and the beach and turned back towards the car. And then a snake fell on my head.
By the time we made it out of the woods and back to civilization, we had a grand total of 17 ticks with us. In our hair. Our shoes. Crawling across the dashboard of my car. Attached to Cade’s eyelid. If I wasn’t the mom and therefore required to set a good example for my offspring, I would have set fire to the car and everything we took with us that day, and ran screaming into a vat of DEET.
So far none of us are showing signs of Lyme or any of the other creepy maladies that come with ticks, but I can still see this awful critter marching across my dashboard every night as I’m falling asleep.
Wear hats in the woods, my friends. Or borrow our revised summer plan – we’re sticking to the beach.