Creepy Crawly Critters

Because I’m about to embark on a ten-day backpacking trip in the high country, outdoorsy stuff has been on my mind a lot. Then this little tidbit from Field & Steam shows up in my email:

If you would like to see mosquitoes at their most impressive, visit the Arctic or Subarctic in summer. There you’ll encounter them in clouds, literally, and if you don’t have a headnet you’re in trouble because they’ll go up your nose and in your mouth and in your eyes. I’ve fished Kasba Lake in the Northwest Territories, and while the lake itself is bug-free, if you fish the feeder streams you’ll encounter mosquitoes in numbers beyond counting. I dressed in chest waders, a rain jacket, gloves, and a headnet with not an inch of skin showing, and so they didn’t bother me, but if you have to take a leak you are in deep trouble, and if you have to go Number Two, God help you.

The insects are the only thing I don’t miss about the south. During the wait between college and the Marines, I worked for a land surveyor. It was about as miserable of a job as you could imagine in the summer: every day we’d come home drenched in sweat and covered in ticks, chiggers, and skeeter bites. About once or twice a week you could count on upsetting a few hornets or yellow jackets…the First Rule of Surveying was “If you see somebody running, don’t ask questions -just follow them.” And we won’t talk about snakes. Ever.

This little jaunt we’re going on will be in the Rockies, not Alaskan bogs or Southern marshes, so I doubt hope we won’t encounter swarms of man-eating ‘skeeters because they’ve always been particularly attracted to my blood type, which to their little insect taste buds must apparently taste like chocolate. Or pizza.

All this is by way of letting ya’ll know the blog will dormant starting next Saturday (the 15th) through the end of the month, as I’ll be on a little stroll through the mountains with Oldest Son and a gaggle of grabasstic teenagers. Don’t go breaking anything while I’m gone.