Sunday, April 5, 2009

Walking an Orange

Yesterday I was going to work in the garden. Really I was. Well maybe not so much in the garden as the lawn. With all the winter moths that we have been getting, our trees have been stressed. Because of this, their branches die off more quickly than normal. Then this winter was a hard one with lots of snow and ice storms. That makes for a carpet of branches all over the lawn. It was time to pick them all up and put them in the brush pile.

Yesterday morning I had it all planned out. Go out early and get the job done before the rain starts. It didn't happen. My friend IMed me and asked and I quote directly, "want to go walk an orange with me?" All I could think was that she had gone insane. Was this some weird health regimen where you walk your food before eating it?

Now a year ago I would have known immediately what she was talking about, but I've gotten soft. I haven't been orienteering in over a year. We used to go every weekend in season and we would host meets ourselves. I even went to the effort to get myself nationally ranked one year in the W21 category (on the red course, the longest hardest course for women). I was 27th in the country. Whoo hoo. Ok so only 29 women actually succeeded in finishing four A meet red courses and got ranked, but there I am in the top thirty. Ignore that I messed up my knee that year and had to walk two of the courses instead of running them.

So I should have known that "walking an orange" meant walking an orange course. Orienteering courses are all color coded. White is the easiest, beginner's course. Orange is an intermediate course. We had a great time walking through the woods.

The only problem with going with a friend is that we started gabbing and not about how to get from one control to the other. So we really weren't paying attention. If we were on a beginner's course we would have been fine, but you go off trail for Orange. Add that with not paying attention and you get lost. We made a classic mistake of going 180 degrees in the wrong direction. I had my compass in my pocket. I often don't even need it for Orange courses since they aren't that hard for me, but again not paying attention is bad out in the woods. Combine it all and you get lost. We figured it out soon enough and retraced our steps.

But the sticks didn't get picked up yesterday. Instead we picked up way too many ticks. We were picking them off all the way home. Ick. What do you do when you have too many ticks? You strip in the laundry room. Wash the cloths immediately and put them in the dryer on high heat for over an hour (the drier kills the ticks by dehydrating them, the washing mashine does nothing). Then you do a through tick check, take a shower and do the tick check again. Hopefully we are tick free. And I'll get to those sticks today once the sun comes out this afternoon. Really I will.


  1. OMG, I hate ticks so much. I will have nightmares for weeks after reading this. I will never go on on of those course either. I do hope you got them all! What a nightmare, I am still muttering. Arghhh!

  2. Gulp, I'd rather pick up sticks---one of our most frequent and not even least popular chores here at Hawk's Haven---than ticks (#1 least popular) any day. Yikes!!!

  3. Oh blech! Ticks! Blech! I hate those little suckers sooo much! You're not a real woman until you've had someone remove a tick from your scalp though... oof - been there, done that.

  4. I think I would pass out if I ever got a tick. You are a brave one! Glad you found your way back, and good luck with the sticks. I chopped/picked up a bunch today, my wrists are feeling it from all the clipper/lopper action.

  5. Wow I didn't know that ticks would have such a strong reaction. A reaction yes, but not so strong. I hate ticks too for their potential to cause illness, but they don't freak me out at all (spiders on the other hand). And Kate yes I must be a real woman. That happened to me as a kid. I've always spent a lot of time outdoors and that comes with some penalties.

  6. I was about to say " what fun" then I read the part about ticks. Shiver!! I can't stand ticks, so I guess I will not be joining you on an "orange walk"