Outdoor Updates: Thru-hiker carries blind dog for 800 miles + Tick Surge in Mid-Atlantic

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Man thru-hikes the Florida Trail with his blind dog, carrying her 800 miles

Kyle Rohrig “The Mayor” and his dog, a Shiba Inu named Katana, are no strangers to long-distance hiking. Years ago, the duo successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail together. When Katana was five, glaucoma caused her to lose vision in one of her eyes. Late last year, just two months before their planned hike on the Florida Trail, Katana lost sight in her other eye. “On this hike, with her recently becoming blind, I was really nervous about how she would do,” Rohrig told “The Destin Log.” Adding that she “did a lot better” than he thought she would. When the pair reached a swampy area, or when they had to walk on roads, Rohrig would carry the dog on his shoulders. He estimates that he carried her for more than 800 miles of the journey. They completed the trail together on April 1. The Florida Trail is currently 1,000 miles long, with another 300 miles forthcoming, and spans from Big Cypress National Preserve to Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Surge of ticks expected in the mid-Atlantic due to wet and mild weather

Researchers at Rutgers University are warning the public that record-setting rain and mild winter temperatures have set the stage for an explosion of ticks this spring season. Dry weather kills ticks, but large amounts of precipitation slows down their decline. Ticks spread a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis. In the past two decades, seven new tickborne germs that cause disease have been identified. To protect yourself from tickborne illness, the CDC recommends avoiding areas with high grass and leaf litter, using an EPA registered insect repellent containing DEET, treating clothes with permethrin, treating pets with tick medication, and showering as soon as possible when coming in from outdoors while conducting a full-body tick investigation. If you find ticks on your body, remove them right away.

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