Touring - Stealth camping NJ- The locals are happy to have you
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06-29-10, 03:31 PM
I just read a trip report on CGOAB about a cyclist who stealth camped in NJ's Pine Barrens. And apparently,he got away with it. But not in the way he thinks.
For those of you not familiar, Jersey's Pine Barrens are a beautiful place. Clean water flowing up from one of the worlds' largest underground water supplies, sleepy little back roads, and a cedar and pine forest that makes you say "This is New Jersey?" Yup, it is. And to top that off when in those woods you are the apex predator. Well almost. But, no bears to speak of, or wolves, or mountain lions. No alligators to ruin your afternoon swim. And few snakes that could give more than a scare.
Unfortunately, there is one beast to worry about, and it's smaller than a pinhead. It is the deer tick. And these wood are infested with them. So much so that a one minute pit stop foray into the cover of bush could change your life forever.
And, i should know. I come off the Doxy next week.
It was quite a coincidence that while reading the Crazy Guy journal that within that report is a picture of the author's stealth campsite. He camped on the exact trail where I picked up my hitch hiker. That the author escaped tickless is just luck. Friends who kayak the rivers report the ticks are crazy this year. Along with the deer flies, the noseeums, and the mosquitoes. Cold winter, wet spring will do that. So a word to the wise, thinking about stealth camping in the Pine barrens? I 'd rethink that plan. But if you do, the locals are glad to have you. For dinner that is!
Great write up :) Does DEET repel deer ticks?
06-29-10, 06:23 PM
Deet will help to repel ticks but I would also use Permethrin on my cloths.
PERMETHRIN TICK REPELLENT
Spray your boots, socks, pants, sleeves, gloves, and hat with permethrin spray. Do not apply it to your skin and apply it outdoors. The permethrin spray has the same active ingredient as the Damminix® tubes mentioned above only in a lower concentration. It not only repels deer ticks, but it will kill them. It is relatively long lasting. Follow all label directions carefully.
WHAT IS PERMETHRIN?
Permethrin is a synthetic chemical developed to simulate the natural chemical pyrethrum that protects plants from insect attack. Permethrin is not a natural product. It is different from regular insect repellents in that it will kill insects and deer ticks as well as repel them. Also, the labels state that one treatment lasts 2 weeks. It was developed in the 1970s by the Department of Agriculture and has been used successfully since then.
Avon makes Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535®, but tests by Consumers Union and a group from the Mass General Hospital (published in the New England Journal of Medicine) showed this product not to be at all useful in repelling insects. DEET was reported to be the best repellent.
Insect repellents containing DEET are widely available and offered under many brand names. They can be used on skin or clothing. Many authorities suggest you use repellants with less than 10% DEET on the skin of children. All repellents should be applied to the skin carefully. Avoid getting the repellents in eyes. Adults should apply repellents to children. Follow label directions carefully. DEET repels insects by its vapors, so applying DEET to clothing can be effective.
Never heard of Permethrin. I have to definitely check it out. Thanks!
06-29-10, 11:37 PM
Lyme is no joke. My ex mother in law got it about 10 years ago and still has not fully recovered. They didn't diagnose it until late in her case, but still.
Yeah, I cycled through the NJ Pinelands earlier this month, and saw what a great place it would be for stealth camping, as well as blueberry picking and other activities, though very buggy. I'd hear mosquitos bouncing off my helmet as I rode, and every time we stopped, it was just seconds before the first deerflies would appear. I didn't see any ticks, but I know they're out there.
But about this tick thing... it pertains to all camping, right? Not just stealth camping. And they're everywhere, aren't they? Not just NJ.
Permethrin...one treatment lasts 2 weeksWell, if you wear the same clothing for two weeks without washing it that is. :D
That is good information though. I'll try this on the fabric of my hammock. We're never too careful.
We can also de-dramatize the problem with ticks a little.
The one best way to avoid Lyme disease is to fully clean up your body a couple of times a day. Less than 1% of tick bites result in transmission. The tick has to remain attached to you at least for a whole day for that to happen. What I do is to wash before bed and sometime around noon, when it is too hot to ride most often anyway. Then I sleep off the heat and the Permethrin should prove useful for that moment.
The other thing is to be aware of the symptoms and get treatment early.
There's too much enjoyment into living outdoors to be had to let bugs smaller than a pinhead or as big as a bear be a deterrence.
Ditto the permethrin, it is specific for ticks, more so than DEET.
The ticks generally die off in winter when it gets below freezing for a number of days, but then south jersey doesn't get as cold as the ADKs and points north, even north jeresy/southern hudson valley/catskills sometimes stays fairly mild in winter
As far as mosquitos and stuff, the bat population has taken a major hit this past year, some kind of white nose fungus...
06-30-10, 10:36 AM
Lot's of good info on this thread.
No drama intended. Noone should let ticks stop them from enjoying the woods. Butttttttt, in the context of the touring cyclist it's a different story. Which is why i posted. Touring cyclist aren't prepared to deal with deer ticks. They haven't soaked their clothes in a chemical bath to ward off the little bastards and most don't have the means or inclination to shower twice a day. Which by the way, will not get rid of an attached tick.
To answer a question, the deer ticks in question are most prevelent in the Mid Atlantic and New England. The habitat is low shrubs and high grass. Still, i've gotten them chest high. They are programed to crawl up and out. Once they find you they may crawl around for hours looking for the right place to sink in. Thus the advice to shower after being in the woods/field is good advice. They always crawl up and out. favorite places to attach are behind the knee, and the nether regions of the buttakal area. Armpits are favorite tick hangout.
Because many of my activities put me in contact with the tick habitat i usually come away every season with two or three bites. This was my third this year. Ironically, it came from a non woods activity, a road bike ride through the pine barrens. one with a pit stop. And, i'm highly aware of the ticks and very cautious. Even when stopping for just a pit stop. The point being if i can get one while taking care not to, anyone can get one. The tick population has exploded in the Pine Barrens this year.
As I said, this post isn't directed to hikers or other woodsy types who are prepared to deal with the ticks. It's aimed at the stealth camper who sees a path and unknowingly is making a big mistake.
The best way to avoid them is to know their habitat and to avoid it if possible. You are as likely to come into contact with a deer tick while picking up a stray golf ball as you are mountain biking. And, most ticks don't carry Lyme. Still, there is no way to know which do and don't. And, waiting for a bite to go nuclear will put a damper on any tour. Getting Lyme will end it. Even if you are strong enough to ride through the illness, the cure, Doxycyclin, is highly photosensative. The tick might not stop you, but the sun will.
As you say, excellent, even vital information.
About showering: are you sure that it won't work? Even if I use Irish Spring soap, the good one all green and white? It sure keeps my girlfriend Nicky at 10 feet away. ;)
06-30-10, 11:13 AM
Sorry, I forgot about the Irish Spring! It repels females of every kind!
06-30-10, 11:44 AM
Another thought here.
The place the Crazy guy tourer chose to camp is surrounded by campgrounds. Now, make no mistake, a campground, in itself won't protect you from deer ticks. But the campgrounds do offer cleared campsites. One of the campgrounds has sand campsites. No ticks in the sand!
The campgrounds, three state and one private are located two miles west, two miles east, and five miles south of where the tourer stealth camped. Regardless of what direction he came from he had to pass one of these campgrounds. He happened to come from the north west, so he passed two of them within 10 minutes of calling it a day.
The cost of a site at the state camp grounds is $2.00 a night.
A good map and a little pre planning could have gone a long way here.
06-30-10, 10:53 PM
Deer ticks are around and Lyme disease really sucks... if you spend time in the woods in the north-east get a blood test done every once and a while. Learn how to remove the tick quickly... check yourself with a mirror. If you find a tick within 24hrs, the chances of it transmitting the disease are low. The disease itself is only transmitted when the tick finished feeding and leaks some it it's stomach contents back into your blood-stream. If you notice a Bullseye rash on yourself, quickly get to a doctor and have it documented and you'll be put on a round of antibiotics.
Just another thing on top of poison ivy, giant hog weed and wild parsnip.
Deer ticks are everywhere and very tiny in the beginning of the season. They mostly go for the warm spots, be sure to check around your belt-line, sock-line, armpits, groin and scalp(quite hard if you're not bald).
07-01-10, 02:03 AM
It is a real shame that LYMErix is no-longer available. There is some research (http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/vaccines/article/EarnhartHV3-6.pdf) going on for a new vaccine but after the LYMErix controversy (which was found to be completely unfounded) it may take a while before one is available.:(
07-01-10, 10:04 AM
You may be able to get away with stealth camping in South Jersey, just don't try it in North Jersey -- the counties adjacent to NYC especially. Street thugs present a real danger in the urban areas. In the wealthy suburban areas, the cops are an even bigger danger.
The permethrin works. You treat a suit of clothes then wear them if you are going in the brush. I always carry a small bottle of full strength DEET on my bike. I spray my shoes and socks if I will be riding or walking through grass. For the most part I stay on the trails and out of the brush in warm weather.
I think you are OK if you camp in areas that are regularly mowed, but even then I would spray my shoes.
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