Sunday, June 14, 2020

Tick Tick Toe

So at this point Lydia and I had camped, hiked, ate at, and generally rolled around in 31 Missouri state parks and had not a single scarring, horror movie type experience. Well here we go. We had had so much fun stomping around Missouri up until now that some of our friends were asking about tagging along. So we invited our friends Viry and Lolo to accompany us to St. Joe State Park.

So there's some sort of scam happening where land that has been environmentally abused by industrial corporations ends up turned into parks through some sort of government program(s). St. Joe is an example of this, being a former lead mining facility in Missouri's "Old Lead Belt". Just to the north of the park you can see a town charmingly named Leadington. North of that is Mineral Area College. Missouri is a big lead producer and is home to the largest active primary lead smelter in the United States.

So St. Joe is one of two parks with a big motorsports focus. Their website had this cheery warning concerning the LEAD MINE that we are all playing in:

"Lead tailings in the "Mine Tailings Area" may pose a health risk, especially to children six (6) years of age and under. The more contact a person has with lead, the greater the chance of health effects occurring.  Lead can cause behavioral and developmental problems in children and may have other harmful effects in adults.  Actions you can take to lower your exposure include avoiding or limiting your time in the main tailings area, washing face and hands before eating, and removing as much dust and soil as possible from clothing, equipment and vehicles before leaving the park."

So we're all hiking along a nice trail, minding our own business. There were ticks. More ticks than I have ever seen. I barely recall ever having a tick on me period, and today I even had a couple bite me. There were so many ticks here that they would climb onto my shoes while I was flicking others off. It got to the point where I was sort of hop running through the trail to try to limit my contact with the tick covered grass that covered the poorly cared for trail. Maybe this ticks were imbued with the life giving power of lead. 

These are commonly known as lone star ticks because of the spots on their backs and their Texas accents. This having never happened to me before I made it clear that I believed that this was Viry and Lolo's fault possibly due to their sweet, sweet blood.

Definitely one of the worst hikes of my life and I will never ever return to this dystopia. We're all going to be googling possible Lyme disease side effects for weeks to come.

Most Missouri parks have the plain brown welcome sign that suits serves as a nice standard introduction to the park. Missouri Mines State Historic Site said F that and came up with the best sign ever.

For most of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Missouri was the global leader in lead production, making it strategically important during the Civil War.

Well it was time to make our blood as inhospitable as possible to any remaining ticks via some good old alcohol consumption. Zoe and Emily met up with us there.

So being out in the country where people have a lot of lead in their water, the people at the winery were giving us a lot of stink eye for wearing mouth coverings due to the pandemic. I've heard it joked recently that the real pandemic that America is experiencing is stupidity, so while I was annoyed that these people existed I was happy to serve as a model of human behavior for them.

I got some cool ski gaiters that I was pretty excited about wearing.

Sand Creek Vineyard seemed to be patronized by people that were a degree more literate so I was able to relax a bit more and enjoy myself. This may have been the first time we bought and consumed anything from any on premise establishment since returning from Kenya in March.

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