Mosquito Bites

Here’s a short post, mainly to get a few more photos online, since I’m unexpectedly at a motel with wifi again. The reason for being at a motel in Newberry and not camping at Tahquamenon Falls as planned is mosquitoes. I got to the state park, eager to do some hiking, and found the entire area to be infested with hell swarms of mosquitoes, which my big repellent did little to deter. I swiftly made the decision to move on. I did get to see the view to the upper falls (photos below), the area of which was mysteriously mosquito-free, and took in enough to know that it’s unfortunate I  was run out by bugs – the river and the hiking trails throughout the park seem to be really beautiful. But I have yet to encounter scenery beautiful enough to be worth having to be careful not to inhale mosquitoes because they’re so thick. 

I planned to camp near Newberry at another state forest campground. The reason I turned back was not so much the short but intense downpour (which hit right as I turned onto a sandy dirt road and got an astonishing amount of sand up into my gears and brakes in just a couple minutes) as the forest ranger I ran into. “I was going to get to the campsite and see how bad the mosquitoes were. How do you think it’ll be?” I asked. Looking doubtful, “Pretty bad would be my guess.” It took about a second for me to turn around and head back to town for a motel. 

If I had anything to prove about how tough I am, I figure trekking all around the Middle East would take care of that. I feel no desire to power through any nights of trying to cook while swarms of mosquitoes drink more of my weight in blood then I’m taking in from food. What’s more unfortunate is missing the hike I had planned on. 

I’m planning on taking another risk tomorrow night and camping on Lake Superior, at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The shores of Great Lakes so far usually seem to have a nice breeze. Here’s hoping that will hold true tomorrow and keep the bugs down. 

I’ve encountered a few swarms of blackflies, too. Instead of itchy welts they leave open, bleeding wounds. What a wonderful place I’ve chosen to ride through!

Foggy day for the ferry ride from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace on the UP. 

I wonder if the proprietors are aware that their store is called, in German, “The Poison House.” Perhaps it’s some sort of assassins’ supplier. 

This view became the norm up here. The forests are now mostly spruce, fir, pine and hemlock, and the feel is quite remote and northern. 

Occasionally the monotony is broken by a beautiful lake or wetland right by the road. 

First stop on the shore of Superior. Off in the distance, Canadian shores seem to be covered with windmills. This is the mouth of the Tahquamenon River, which I planned to hike along. 

Sample wigwam. Reminds me a bit of a Bedouin tent, though less portable and hopefully more waterproof. 

Camp at Andrus Lake, near Paradise. Another night, another campsite by a lake more beautiful than almost anything in Pennsylvania. I slept in until 9:30, something I haven’t done this trip, or even come close to doing. I fantasize all day about going to sleep. 

Another roadside lake. Nature up here is amazing; I just wish it would stop spewing millions of bloodsucking insects all over me every time I stop pedaling. 

Upper Tahquemenon Falls. The lower falls looked even more beautiful in the phitos, but I wasn’t about to risk an 8-mile hike through mosquito hell in order to see them. 

The foam, I learned, is not due to some hideous form of industrial pollution. Rather, it comes from water with low mineral content being whirled around really fast. The brown color is from tannins,  exuded by tree roots, as seen in the Pine Barrens near Philly. 

A nice view from the stairs that led down to the river. The hemlocks here look very healthy, but apparently the woolly adelgid is poised to kill them all if it isn’t stopped. I wonder how many more iconic species will go the way of the chestnut thanks to bugs and spores from other continents. 

After barns, buildings crumbling in picturesque ways are my next photographic go-to when the scenery is bland.


3 thoughts on “Mosquito Bites”

  1. your bleeding wounds sound super gross so i’m glad we won’t be seeing each other for a while. are they on your face? your butt? post lacks details on locations of “open bleeding wounds”–please rectify asap.


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