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9 miles of hiking • 250' elevation gain •

Gloomy rainy trip down Swale Canyon today.

I won't make the mistake of taking my dog down this trail again. I had heard reports of ticks, but I did not expect the onslaught of bloodthirsty beasts that I came across today. With the misty rain, we did not notice any ticks until we were around 4.5 miles down the trail, the rain had stopped and the dog was dry. The trail became grassy instead of rocky and we think this is where a large number lay in wait for us to come along. As we looked down our dog was attacked by at least 30 ticks, we swatted them all off and made the decision to turn back. Luckily, most had not bitten down, but the few that had we contended with back at the car after our hasty retreat. Dog was not happy, especially with the bath treatment she received once home.

Today was a rare day in which my partner had the same day off as me, and his first hiking trip since breaking his arm. (Driver in Portland drifted into the bike lane, he had to dodge and broke his arm in two places.) An umbrella worked well to protect it, but the act of hiking still amounted to some pain and swelling. Our turn around decision was made by ticks, but probably for the best.

Next time I'll conquer this trail via mountain bike and hopefully a shuttle car. Less chance for ticks to attack and a better chance to see the whole trail.

Photos on my gps track below.