Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mosquitos: one kazillion, Strykers: 0

A roadtrip, in numbers

States we drove through: 3 (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana)

National Parks we drove through: 2 (Grand Teton, Yellowstone)

National Monuments visited: 1 (Little Bighorn Battlefield site)(Post forthcoming)

Battery of 120 gig ipod used: almost the entire thing

Campsites: 2 (Rawlins, WY KOA; Yellowstone backcountry)

Cheap-ass motels with funny squeaky beds and ridiculous "art": 1, in Billings, Montana

Mosquito carcasses on the outside of our tent (between the rain fly and the tent itself): Lots and lots

Mostquito bites each of us got: more than a hundred. Each.

Things we learned:

Sometimes we are very lucky and get the last tent site or a great backcountry camping permit on a holiday weekend in an incredibly busy national park.

Sometimes, we don't prepare for every circumstance. We encountered a lot of serious weather (rain, hail, thunder, lightning) each night of our trip, and more importantly, we FORGOT THE BUG SPRAY. Our campsite in Yellowstone was 4 miles into an amazing hike, by a creek that empties swampily into a pristinely beautiful lake, at least a half a mile away from any other people. This meant that we were by far the biggest mosquito targets around.

Here you see our backpacks geared to avoid attracting bears and getting wet. It poured rain most of the night we spent there.

Small towels can work relatively well as makeshift horse tails to swat at mosquitoes, but when you're in a permanent cloud of hundreds or thousands of them, swatting doesn't really help.

Mind over matter (our bites don't itch!) only works so well.

Waking up with the sun at around 5 AM isn't so bad when you're out in the middle of nowhere, until you leave the tent and end up surrounded by mosquitos again.

Old Faithful is definitely worth waiting for, but it'll burp a lot and totally tease you before it blows.

Flowers and plants can live in an area that regularly spews hot, mineral-y water.

Thermal areas smell like rotten eggs.

A half hour delay on a road through Yellowstone could be the result of idiots looking at wildlife. In fact, it's quite likely.

The culprits

Montana is amazingly beautiful, but the cities and towns we drove through weren't especially impressive.

Sometimes the sky does things that you could swear you've only seen in paintings.

Casper, WY isn't all it's cracked up to be, either. No public art that we could see, and the whole downtown was closed on Sunday.

It's OK to cut a trip a day short. It's nice to have a day at home to recover before having to return to real life.


Hillary said...

your photos are lovely! (except for the photo of the mosquito bites - that one is just scary.)

Crafty Mama said...

Glad you had a good time, minus the severe weather and multiple mosquito bites. Your pictures are beautiful.

Leah said...

You poor things. Mosquito bites are the worst! Lovely photos, though (so glad you have a camera again!), and it sounds like a great trip despite the weather.

tmjackson said...

This deserves both an "Awesome!" and a "Yikes!" Good job.

Anonymous said...

OMG, your mosquito bites. I just...cannot get over them. I have one (ONE) on my foot and I'm about to pass out from my itchy misery. How did you manage to write this post in between all the scratching?

GORGEOUS cousin lives in Montana and I would love to visit her someday.