This hike/climb has been on my radar for several weeks now, even more so now since my wife and I plan to climb Mount Hood at the end of March. We figured Stein Butte would be a good warm up if we followed the New London Trail. Almost 1000 feet elevation gain per mile sounded like a good cardio workout to me, plus I have heard that the views are pretty good from the summit. This was confirmed by the views seen from the road on the way to the trailhead. There were several peaks with plenty of snow on them that were very scenic.
Now from reading the route descriptions on this peak, we were aware that there was the possibility of picking ticks up on this trail. My wife had forewarned me, "If I get any ticks on me we are turning around." Well, I guess it was wishful thinking, or hopeful thinking or whatever you would like to call it, but I was figuring we would make it out unscathed. We did wear light colored clothing just in case. Well, so far so good we drove to the trailhead, and no ticks yet, so the hike was still a go. We started out on the trail staring down our legs occasionally (every 2 minutes or so) and had made it probably a little over a mile with no trace of ticks. I was getting excited that we may actually reach the summit. Well about the time that feeling came across me, my wife looked down at her legs, "yuck, yuck, that's it." Let me tell you she makes darn good time descending. She had 3 ticks that ambushed her all of a sudden. I looked down at myself and I had two scaling my class 5 pant leg. Thankfully, these ticks did not bring their harnesses and ropes so they found themselves freefalling. Now at first, I was somewhat irritated that my wife turned around so quickly but that stupid thought soon left me as I brushed 3 more ticks from my pant leg. "Honey, slow down," I said, thinking that ticks can't run that fast. Well if we have this pace for Mount Hood we should have no problem at all. She brushed 3 more ticks from her on the way down to the car, as did I. It gave me flashbacks of our summer climb of Mount Bailey when we were absolutely swarmed with mosquitoes, only we both find ticks quite a bit more disgusting. We finally reached the car and carefully inspected each other for remaining ticks. We gave each other the clear, and then she took off her jacket and caught sight of two more. She promptly brushed her ticks off and then we got into the car. "Drive, drive, drive," she said. That sounded pretty good but I had to find out what was tickling my arm, wouldn't you know it, another tick. So I opened the door and flicked the tick, was getting ready to drive off and another one decided to hitch a ride on the car door, I quickly disposed of it as well. So overall I think we came in contact with at least 15 ticks in under an hour. So that, my friends is how we got TICKED off of Stein Butte