I was double-dog dared to do this post. And I don’t back down from a dare. But getting back into the saddle after being bucked off isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world.
The story I’m about to tell is one of overcoming fear, not really about Scenic Point, which is awesome, but really how it’s a metaphor for risk, fear, and reward.
That’s why I’m doing a month of dares. I’m daring myself each day to get outside of my comfort zone every day in June. And I’m writing about it, because writing is one of those things I’m daring myself to do..
Writing brings up a lot of fear for me. Fear of being vulnerable, fear of sharing something that may not be “good enough”, fear of pissing someone off unintentionally, fear of being boring, and perhaps fear of self.
Anyway, back to Scenic Point. Two years ago, D. and I took a hike up Scenic Point in mid-may. Scenic Point is a south-facing trail and slope, so it’s one of the first places you can hike in Glacier in May without hitting too much snow.
The hike was beautiful. We got up to the same point where this photo was taken, just below snowline near the summit. The only trouble was I came back with an uninvited guest. The next day as I was letting my dog outside, I felt something in my hair and pulled out a tick. Should have kept it, but screamed and flung it off of me instead (it’s a natural reaction and anyone who tells me different is a liar).
Two nights later I woke up in the middle of the night with a fever, and I thought, “Why do I have a fever?” I swallowed and didn’t have a sore throat. Didn’t feel like I had a cold. And then I knew. I knew immediately what I had even though I really didn’t know much about it at the time. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
It’s caused by tick bites, and it causes fever and an all-over body rash, and can be life-threatening if it’s not caught in time. Fortunately, my doctor was in our small-town clinic the next day, and I got right in, and she believed me. I had a fever, and fortunately no rash (it comes on after about a week). She immediately got me on antibiotics, and I spent a week in a fever, feeling red, blotchy, tired, and scared.
Anyway, it was a scary time, and I learned all sorts of things about ticks I never really wanted to know over the course of that week, and I recovered.
Which brings me to the “getting back on the horse after being bucked off” metaphor. We decided to hike Scenic Point again this Memorial Day, and this time, I sprayed myself with bug spray (even though I am one of those type of people who doesn’t believe in getting anywhere near DEET), and I stayed away from brushing up against vegetation and trees. I kept thinking, “Did I pick that tick up here? Was it here?” And tried to stay cool so that D. wouldn’t think I was a total paranoid freak.
The thing about tick bites is you can kind of never know for sure if you did get bit or not (which is why people get Lyme disease and have no idea where they even came into contact with the tick). Yes, you can find them and you can find bites, but it’s not always a sure thing.
So, we came home, and I inspected myself, and prayed. It’s been nearly a week and I’m fine. I’ll likely keep going back up to Scenic Point, because it’s beautiful, and south-facing, and there isn’t a high chance of meeting a bear on that trail. And because I need to keep taking risks.
For those of you who want some real travel information on Scenic Point, you can access the trailhead driving into Two Medicine Lake campground. It’s a shorter trail with lots of elevation gain, beautiful views, and a real summit. The photo above is of Two Medicine Lake and surrounding mountains (I won’t name them all).