Hey guys, as many of y’all know, I want to write a book about my cycling adventure in Canada. The following is a possible chapter in the book I intend to write. Hope y’all enjoy, cheers!
This story takes place Friday, June 15th 2012.
No sooner than I hung up the phone I felt a sting, and another. What in the world? This certainly wasn’t the first time mosquitos had tried to make a meal out of me, but the frequency of the bites seemed hyper accelerated, comparing to nothing that I’ve experience before.
Thinking that it was simply a matter of being on the beach, I ran back to my campsite just a ways back into the slightly wooded and grassy area. Putting a hundred yards or so between the river and myself seemed a likely solution.
Not a chance.
The winged infantry moved on me like the Charge of the Light Brigade, full speed, full force and without remorse. I was swarmed without another moments notice. Slapping my legs and flailing arms wildly I tried to fight them off which proved to be a losing battle.
Opening my saddle bags and tossing my bunjee aside I looked frantically for my cycling leggings in hopes that they would offer some protection, at least a temporary distraction from the assailants. I already had long sleeves on, I was good there. But my face must have been marked with a big red circle and X that read, “Free dinner.”
Thinking back to the conversation I had just ended with my sweety, upon wishing her good night I finished by saying that I wanted to use the last 15 minutes of sunlight to set up my tent. Those 15 minutes had disappeared.
It was dark. Completely dark.
Finding my headlamp/headlight and setting it to ‘bright” illuminated the immediate area and I had my first chance to actually see the mosquitos. I saw them alright, the same way you and I see a black storm cloud. Brooding and bubbling, black and thick.
Hundreds of miniature bloodsucking bats were all flying around, never ceasing to dive and land, pricking and sticking. The blood they sipped from my limbs was being replaced by some alien hate-fluid and filled my body with rage and anger.
Just 15 minutes ago I had hung up the phone, a phone call that’s sole purpose was to describe the picture perfect scene of the camp grounds that I found myself in. The flowing river, the sandy beach, the warm waters, the grassy knolls…just recently trimmed and groomed. The glowing stars, the cool breeze…you know, the scenic view reserved for postcards and senior golf resorts in Florida.
This campground was the product of sirens and nymphs, who obeying the command of the Devil Queen Mosquito Goddess from Hell, who constructed this haven as part of a treaty to spare themselves bites, disease and infection and to lure unwary visitors closer to the nest so they, the Mosquito Clan may feed.
I’m not making this shit up. At least at the moment it didn’t seem like I was too far astray from reality.
How long had I been fighting the mosquitos? Too long, 5, 10, 15 minutes passed and I was no closer to setting up the tent than when I hung up and said goodnight. I had to do something quick, and that was just it…set up the tent.
One quick pat and rub down of my legs and arms, I told myself to focus on one thing for just 5 minutes. Set up the tent. No mistakes, no errors, no breaks to kill mosquitos, no slapping and no flailing about, no angry or interruptive thoughts. Nothing, for 5 minutes.
Nothing but clear and focused attention for 5 minutes.
It took me 7 minutes to set up up the tent. 2 more minutes were spent searching through my gear and tossing the pertinent articles inside my sanctuary.
I was done.
Hopping inside I found myself surprisingly calm, most likely from relief. My skin itched and burned. Sitting in quiet contemplation I thought back to other nights of preparing my sleeping arrangements. Other nights I’ve spent the better part of half an hour fussing over what to bring into the tent, what stakes go where and what angle to set them at to hold and secure the tent and fly. What angle will I facing when I get up? What view will I have? What direction is the sun coming up? None of it really mattered now, and I don’t think it ever did.
Only two events or happenings interrupted me later that evening before falling sound asleep:
1. There were three mosquitos that had followed me in the tent, they were quickly dispatched.
2. Laying my head down near the entrance of the tent, seconds after closing my eyes, an all too familiar buzz caused my body to twitch. It wasn’t that I was not that familiar with the buzz, it was the intensity of it.
Turning the headlamp back on and shining it towards the entryway, I counted 30+ mosquitos flying about and other quietly sitting together in different parts of the vestibule.
They were waiting.
Ha, fat chance! I’m never coming out of here…like never, ever. That is… unless, oh no, please God, not now, don’t do this to me…I have to pee.
The funny part is, at least it was to me, is that I wasn’t too annoyed by this simple biological calling. I had to go, so I went. Outside of course, but I took my time and didn’t rush.
I knew the mosquitos wanted at me, I knew I was gonna get bitten or stung, but it really didn’t matter. I had my bed, it was warm, I was tired and I had a great day of cycling. Nothing, not even buzzing and bloodthirsty mosquitos were gonna take that from me. I slept pretty damn well that night.
PS: The following morning I looked around at my clothes and around in the tent- If they were ever to make an R-rated version of Gulliver’s Travels, the one where I goes berserk and slaughters the ‘little people’, yeah…that would describe the scene. Bloodstained, gut spilled, mosquito-part-crusted-and-caked-on shirt, shorts and socks. It was brutal.
As always, please feel free to post comments and let me know what you think. Hope y’all had a wonderful weekend.