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[Yosemite]

Plague

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Plague

Postby Darmak » Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:49 am

I visited Yosemite April 2019 and going again this July (this time we will be camping). Upon arrival in April, we received the official Yosemite guide/magazine from a ranger. I was shocked to discover a small section in it about plague in Yosemite! I didnt know it still existed. There have been two cases in 2015 and a campground has been closed as a consequence and 4 sites have been identified as affected or possibly affected. Now I understand how ridiculously unlikely it is for an average person to be bitten by a plague-infected flea. The problem is, for some reason fleas are really attracted to me, more than to other people I met. I've been in situations where a domestic animal had fleas and they would attack me like mad, while leaving others alone. This makes me a bit concerned about the fleas in Yosemite, as silly as it sounds. Will be visiting in July so long trousers aren't really an option and I dont want to ruin our amazing trip by being concerned with the plague.. any thoughts? I know the official Yosemite advice on how to stay safe, but I'm still slightly worried I would come across random infected fleas somewhere along my hike/camping (fleas don't live on animals, they live in the animal's environment). Thanks in advance!
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Re: Plague

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:13 am

Why do you think long pants are not an option? I absolutely NEVER wear shorts in Yosemite, or anywhere else in the Sierra, no matter the temp. Because I don't stay in the valley for long and higher elevations are just not that hot.... I also really don't care to be sunburned and refuse to break the bank lathering up sunscreen constantly.

Permethrin treated clothing helps, as does not letting the squirrels get close and personal - they beg for treats all the time. I doubt you'll be sittin around in the weeds or grass either. People do feed the critters, and mice get into the tent cabins because people take food in theirs (against the rules for that reason, but people don't care, clearly) so if you stay away from habituated furry things and don't stay in the tent cabins, you're likely to fall into the 99.99999999999999% of visitors who don't get sick.
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Re: Plague

Postby Darmak » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:59 am

Hi there and thanks for your reply! My mistake, I thought it will be way too hot in July to wear long pants. I live in the cold gloomy UK so was looking forward to feeling the sun on my skin and I thought wearing long pants in July just because of the very unlikely possibility of coming across plague infected fleas was taking it a bit too far. Especially seeing how almost everyone is wearing shorts there and doesnt worry about the plague at the slightest. I wonder if long socks and shorts would be a good in-between solution?

As for "sitting around in the weeds or grass" I am actually really hoping to do some drawing and painting in Yosemite, which would mean sitting in such places and on rocks. I would also love to have a picknic or two on the grass. Would it be unsafe given the fact that fleas are weirdly attracted to me?

Thanks so much for your advice

Daria
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Re: Plague

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:16 am

Sitting in the grassy meadows is actually against the rules. When it was permitted, the many thousands of visitors started to damage the meadows, so there are now raised boardwalks and railings, and rangers to fine people for trying to picnic in them. But, there are plenty of picnic tables around in the day use areas for you to use.

Ticks and fleas and other bugs will be in areas where they have grass, weeds or leaves to hide in. Staying clear of them is a good measure to take to avoid them. And I would take both shorts and pants, and choose based on the conditions at the time. If you're staying in the valley only, it's variable and sometimes it does get quite warm. I'm simply not prone to sitting on the valley floor as it's where all the people are. And I do treat clothing with permethrin, because I'm more concerned about ticks and mosquitoes than fleas.
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Re: Plague

Postby dan » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:16 pm

Stay away from the squirrels and chipmunks and you should be OK.
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Re: Plague

Postby Phil » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:53 pm

...and Dan knows these things...

When you look at his avatar you might think he's just another one of us strange Yanks in a silly outfit but, Nope, it's his specially designed rodent and flea-bite-proof suit. So, with one of those (Union Jack colors are always optional) and a big enough roll of duct tape, you'll not only be perfectly safe at all times, you won't need to carry a sleeping bag, and you'll lose 12 kilos of water weight before you even get to Nevada Falls. :D

Or, you can be like me, hike exclusively in your underwear, add 3 days to every trip you take in order to pet as much vermin as possible, go back to England, and it'll be just like 1347 all over again.
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Re: Plague

Postby balzaccom » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:04 pm

What are you putting in your coffee, Phil?
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Re: Plague

Postby Phil » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:07 pm

balzaccom wrote:What are you putting in your coffee, Phil?


I've recently shifted over to coffee consumption being a function of quantity over quality.
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Re: Plague

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:06 pm

balzaccom wrote:What are you putting in your coffee, Phil?


I was guessing he drinks that bullet proof stuff. Or he's hitting that Irish coffee hard...
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