Annie, who doesn't hike, suggested for out last day together that we go for a hike. I'm game, you know me, a regular hiking fool.
I carry the 10 essentials (thanks for asking-whistle, compass, space blanket, waterproof matches, extra clothes, sunscreen and sunglasses, map, firestarter and first aid kit) in my hiking backpack. Extra water is important too. I'd add to that, protection from bugs-stay tuned. Of course, I'm 3000 miles away from my trusty backpack.
We drive to east Jesus, way up in the North country, almost Canada, passing beautiful lakes and creeks and occasional fishermen/women. Arriving at the trailhead, there were quite a few flies and I turned to Annie and said, 'bug spray' and she said, 'nope.'
Ahhh so we started out gayly enough but these bastards:
began tormenting us by swarming and landing on our faces, necks, hands and anywhere else they could bite us. We were sweating and swatting and at one point I felt something warm on my face and it was blood. And no 10 essentials. We prevailed and ended up coming back down the trail on our butts because it was so slippery and wet. No matter. The insects were merciless. At the trailhead we lost our minds and COULDN'T LOCATE THE EFFING CAR. We went down road after road, becoming more and more disoriented. When I had one bar on my phone I called 911 and got a ranger. Thanks to the lawd for GPS tracking. He got us out of biting insect hell but I gotta say, I have the worst bites on my hands and the back of my neck. I couldn't sleep that night because every time I closed my eyes, I saw swarms of horrible flies.
My sister doesn't hike so she doesn't know about flies between May and July when everyone sits around on their screened-in porches and watches the sunset.
I'm still scratching.
As a Buddhist, I revere life. Most of the time. But I'll certainly squash a black fly in a heart beat. They are tiny dicks.