Bug Bandana


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bug bandana

Optimist showing off his bug bandana in New Jersey. For some reason the bugs seem especially attracted to his ears.

I’m being much more positive in NJ than I was in PA. It may have something to do with the fact that for the first two days of the state, we’ve had sunny weather and it rained nearly every day in PA. I’d like to think it is my attitude that has me more positive now though.

Evidence of this positive attitude comes from my solutions based reaction to the new trail nemesis that has emerged with the passing of the rain: Bugs! Bugs don’t like the rain much and were pretty well nonexistent with all the wet weather we had. It was glorious to have no bugs. A few times we commented on this while it was raining, but for the most part, we took it for granted. I have a hierarchy of bug dislikes starting with my least favorite, the tick, because they latch on and are a pain to remove. They also carry the debilitating Lyme disease which I am afraid of. Second on my bug nemesis list is the mosquito followed by gnats and flies.

So on to the solution. I have used my bandana to keep the bugs out of my ears and off my neck. There is nothing worse than bugs buzzing in the ears and many of you know my history with bugs in my ears and how this may have scarred me. I fold the bandana into a triangle and tie it in a knot with the knot on the front with the top of the triangle pointing down my back. Now I know this is not rocket science and it’s not even a new idea. But out here with limited resources, I was quite pleased with myself today that I was able to keep the bugs off of part of me throughout the entire day. The other added benefit is that when we’d cross a stream, I’d dip it in the water and it would keep me cool for quite awhile as the temperatures were up close to 90 degrees this afternoon.

This does not solve the tick issue though. I do check my legs frequently, especially on days like today where we pass through lots of brushy plants along the sides of the trail. We do a tick check of each other most nights (we probably look like the monkeys at the zoo, grooming each other and picking at each other’s skin). However, the reason I probably dislike ticks the most, other than that they can give me Lyme disease, is that unless I change my wardrobe, they are hard to keep off me and it’s only vigilance on our part to keep them for staying on too long.

So I’m happy and doing my best to deal with the bugs. They are here to stay for the summer and I don’t see us getting along too well so I will keep trying to think of ways that I can deal with them and keep a happy and optimistic attitude for the rest of our time out in the woods.

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