The Wonderland Trail: Textbook Evil

Saint Andrews Lake
On the first day, the mosquitoes were almost unbearable. When I parked my car to get my gear together, I saw another backpacker doing the same a few spots over.

After hiking six miles, I saw him stumbling back down the trail toward the parking lot, swatting at the air around his head, complaining about the mosquitoes and his lack of a tent or bug spray.

Even when I wanted to stop for a break or to take a picture, I kept moving instead. The motionless get swarmed. The problem is sometimes I need to take a photo. Sometimes I need to stare at a gorgeous view. And sometimes I need to, you know, go to the bathroom.

“Come on mosquitoes! Let a man piss!” I yelled into the cloud of them forming around me, and to every hiker in earshot. 

At Saint Andrews Lake, it was too beautiful not to stop. I threw off my pack and grabbed my new bottle of bug spray that was already a quarter empty. Deciding against conserving it, so it would last the entire trip, I covered my entire body in a fine mist. I closed my eyelids and lips tight to keep the poison on the outside of my body.

My eyes opened to take in the view. A mosquito flew toward my skin, got a whiff, then buzzed off. A deep satisfying breath entered and exited my lungs. And then, after a tranquil three seconds, a mosquito flew into my right eye. "Ahh," I bellowed, as another flew into my mouth. The only two places left unsprayed.

A friendlier insect
He even waved at me
They are relentless. They are evil. They are mosquitoes.

I met some hikers later that day going in the opposite direction on the Wonderland loop, who said they had no problems with mosquitoes in the other sections of the park. My trip and my sanity were saved.

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A Backpacker's Life List by Ryan Grayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.