Sunday, July 25, 2010

Insect Food

No, this isn’t Ecuador. This is a lake we hiked by yesterday with our friends Dave and Toni. I know I said my next post would be more about Ecuador and you’ve been waiting…or maybe not…but I got distracted by a hike in the Bighorn mountains yesterday. Can you tell which is the real up and the real down of this photo? The lake was so calm that I could have rotated this photo upside down and you wouldn’t know. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. Is this the original view? 

Or this?  Shoot!  Which IS it?  I've rotated the dang thing so many times I'm not sure anymore. 

Before we even got to this point though, or even out of the car with boots on the trail, we had to stop and watch parenting in action. This mother moose jumped the fence and crossed the highway with nary a look behind. The two babies couldn’t make that jump and were bleating and trying to figure out a way to keep up with Mom. “What kind of Mom are you?” we said, watching from the car. “You left your babies're not even checking to see if they’re behind you….those poor babies….come on Mom, get a clue…” Maybe she heard us, but I suppose it’s more likely that she heard her babies bleating because she turned around and lumbered back across the highway “talking” to them. They “talked” back. I imagine it went something like this. “I told you kids to keep up with me. What are you still doing here?” “But mom….we couldn’t jump that …” “why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t get across before I made it all the way to the other side of the highway?” “But Mom…we” “Those people are looking at me, thinking I’m a negligent Mom. Follow me down the fence. Now jump here. Sheesh.” She marched across with the babies following, and knowing they were all safe on the other side, we continued on to the trail.

It was a perfect day for hiking. The skies were bright blue, there were no clouds, the wildflowers were at their peak, 

the temperature was perfect,and now and then there was a light but refreshing breeze. The ambiance was frosting, but the breeze was cake. It wasn’t only wildflowers that were at their peak. The mosquitoes were having an international convention and we had unwittingly stumbled in on their Meet & Greet. We met them all and they greeted us with stinging kisses. We visited with a backpacker heading out who took pity on us (mostly Toni, who seemed to be the entree of choice) and sprayed us with “OFF”. We must have still looked pitiful because later on another backpacker gave us his nearly empty bottle of bug spray.

We hiked five miles in to Lake Helen, ate our lunch and waited while Dave taught Toni to fish.

I had to put survival skills into play again while I sat on the rock.

The buzzing from the mosquitoes was so bad I felt like I was in the center of a beehive. Not that I’ve been in the center of a beehive. But if I ever had been, I think that’s what it would have sounded like. Dean wandered around doing what geologists do best, but I think he really was just hoping that walking would cause enough of a breeze to keep the buzzing pests off of him. (See those three little blood-suckers on my leg?!)

Coming out we got to cross the same stream we had to cross coming in. The same stream that in past years has always been dry or so low you could easily walk across on the rocks. Just like there have never, ever been mosquitoes hounding us when we’ve hiked here before. Never. Ever. The first time we all took our shoes off and carefully stepped on slippery moss-covered rocks with nearly numb feet. Coming back, the other three methodically took off their shoes and socks and repeated the procedure.

I was tired after nearly 10 miles of hiking and decided the risk of me slipping and falling face first into the water was greater than the risk I'd get blisters from hiking with wet feet.  So in I, socks and all.  The squeaking and squishing of my feet for the rest of the hike didn’t bother me at all and I didn’t even get a blister. And right now, as I type this, I wish I was out there again--mosquitoes, wet feet and all. 

For more photos of the views, the fishing and the flowers you can go here.◦


Art Elser said...

Oh me, oh my, OH!! What wonderful pics. I have a solution for which pic is right side up. Throw a rock into the picture and see which half has ripples. ;-)

Great shot of the moose and pups. Mom won't win any beauty prizes or mothering prizes, will she? And gorgeous wildflowers. I love wildflowers. The hot weather has most of the prairie wildflowers packed up until next year.

The mosquitoes--or mozzies as a friend of mine from Birney, MT, calls them--are out on the prairie where we never have them. We've been running through Off like crazy also. But working in a government hive at BLM should have you used to the buzzing, shouldn't it?

I'm so jealous, you and Dean hiking in the Big Horns. Or is it Bighorns? Different places spell it differently, and I think the gumamint spells it both ways. I can't get Al off his keister to go hiking. Too many animals to tend to.

Cathy said...

Gosh darn that Al. Come on up here, Art. We'll hike with you any time you want.

Art Elser said...

Al invited Kathy and me up for your BLM baseball picnic on the 30th. It will be good to see you and Dean again, and you'll get to meet Kathy, with a K.

Art Elser said...

Al invited Kathy and me up for your BLM baseball picnic on the 30th. It will be good to see you and Dean again, and you'll get to meet Kathy, with a K.

abby rose said...

That definately makes me miss Wyoming, although at least we have fewer mosquitos, at least most of the time!