I started to write this last night from deep in the woods of the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was going to be such a perfect night. So we thought.
From our USDA campspite at Robbin's Pond, there was probably not another human around for miles. Judging by the lack of tire tracks in the forest service road that led us here, there hadn't been anyone else at this site in days.
It was such an awesome wilderness camping spot. The Ottawa is huge – one million acres in size, extending from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. The area is rich in wildlife. Besides several wolf packs, it is home to lots of black bear, deer, bobcat and, to listen to the locals, several cougars.
Those beasts were not our problem.
We were the defenseless prey of the ultimate predator – the Upper Peninsula mosquito.
I wrote earlier this week about our battle with the bugs further west in the UP over by the Porcupine Mountains. But in the Ottawa, the bugs were even worse.
We had been outside in the woods for several hours earlier. Thanks to an interview source, we had borrowed bug jackets – fine mesh netting that you slip over your your body to stop the insects from biting through. The jackets have a zippered hood to protect your face, head and neck and draw strong tighteners around the waist and your hands. That's what I'm wearing in the photo accompanying this post. You could not survive without a bug jacket. Venture outside in the UP woods and you are immediately swarmed.
After exploring the area , we found the far, far off-the-beaten-path campground. As darkness came, we used our George Foreman Grill to cook up some chicken which we put on a salad for a late dinner, cooking inside rather than out because of the mosquitos.
in the Roadtrek eTrek, we started to kill off the several dozen mosquitos that made their way inside during the quick few seconds that the door was open to let Tai outside.
Poor Tai ventured a few few feet outside and immediately ran back inside.
All through dinner, we swatted mosquitos. It became apparent that they were somehow finding their way inside. We searched the screens and saw a tiny little space. I grabbed a roll of duct tape and taped them up as Jennifer kept swatting and Tai looked for someplace to hide.
There is no place in the Roadtrek to hide.
We caught them in our hands. We smacked them as they landed on us. We whacked them when they alighted on walls and flat surfaces. They left blood smears. Our blood. It looked like a Hollywood horror flick in miniature with blood spatter everywhere.
But somehow, even with the windows and screens sealed, the mosquitos found their way inside. And they kept coming.
So, about [11:30] PM, we got going.
We moved to the town of Watersmeet where the Lac Vieux Desert band of the Lake Superior Chippewa operate a Resort & Casino. We thought about spending the night in one of the several very nice RV sites they have, complete with hookups. But the Roadtrek was still filled with mosquitos. We surrendered. We were all swatted out. So we got a room for the night.
Saved by the Indians.
I woke early this morning and went out to the Roadtrek to grab the computer and finish this post. I killed ten of them. I turned on the Fantastic Fan, which helps suck some of them to the covering screen, where they can be squished. I delightfully dispatched another half dozen. But there are dozens more still buzzing around in there.
After coffee back in the room, I'll wake Jennifer and we'll make a counter attack and rid the Roadtrek of the insects. We're headed to Marquette today, where I want to buy a new pair of hiking boots.
And a bug jacket.