Trombiculidae is a mite, and the scientific term for what we commonly refer to as chiggers or jiggers. Specifically when in their larvae stage is when they creep in and host. It seems the only logical explanation for my condition—but how they get through my jogging pants, shirt and socks? It had to be that brief two minute rest on the lichen-covered rock? They had burrowed in through the light pants I had on and had lunch! So no, I hadn’t been totally alone that day, and yes there had been sex involved—just not with my active participation in the microbial Kama Sutra world.

After nearly a month of time had passed—what with the condition itself, waiting for the doctor’s appointment, and various life interruptions—I was now ready to try again. This time there would be no resting, save for the standing variety. Anxiously arriving at the park entrance, I was met with a huge sign stating that parking lots would be closed the weekend of the 27th–30th due to the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, fought on June 27th 1864—which happens to land on my birthday as well. Getting spooky isn’t it?

The National Park Service had planned for a minimum of fifty thousand guests. They had taken measures to secure satellite parking locations throughout town, and buses for the tourists to be shuttled to and from the various sites within the park.

So much for exercising. Might as well plan on attending the various lectures, re-enactments, and monument dedications being given; and perhaps learn more about the history of the hiking trails I had been using.

For a history enthusiast like me, this event was akin to a gold miner hitting the mother lode.

After a brief bus ride I arrived at Cheatham Hill—also known as the Dead Angle—where 1,500 Union soldiers lost their lives in one single 45-minute battle. It was part of three engagements fought on that day collectively known as the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. This was a staggering defeat for the North and a frontal assault not to be repeated.

For the record, the Battle of Gettysburg (which gets all the attention) was fought over the course of three days and resulted in 3,155 Union troops killed. So the frontal assault across a small clearing and up Cheatham Hill was carnage on an unprecedented scale. One eyewitness account had written, “Looking out I saw nothing but a field of blue one lying on top of the other.”

The large number of uniformed re-enactors with their musket and cannon firings, along with the lectures and vivid historical accounts of the day, brought the whole scene alive; and at one point I was truly reduced to tears.

The National Park Service—and specifically our local Kennesaw branch of rangers, staff and volunteers—did a stellar job: The event was a huge success and extremely well organized.

To be continued