Worst F’ing Hike Ever!
So…I used to hike a lot when I was younger. Probably the worst hike to date was getting trapped up on a ridge just below Flat Top Mountain in Colorado in a freak spring ice storm. That is until yesterday. Yesterday was the stuff of nightmares.
Let’s set the stage. It’s the Greenbelt Trail that I usually do on Sundays. However, lets look at what has transpired about 7 to 10 days ago. We had a major rain event here in North Texas.
So once again, being intrigued with the Equestrian Trail, I decided to try it again despite the fact they still had it chained off. I quickly found out why.
About 200 yards into the hike you end up walking along a pond…the entire area was still wet, drenched, and covered with MOSQUITOES! Now yes…I had sprayed myself with insect repellent; however, I didn’t realize how ignorant I was of the product I was using. I tried to get past the pond as quickly as possible, but I couldn’t seem to shake them. I finally got out into the open as the trail take a right and goes through the electrical right away for another 500 yards. However, with every step, the cloud of mosquitos would rise up and start their feast. About a mile into the hike I finally came to the railroad right of way and was faced with about 2 feet of water that was too wide for me to try to jump. I could tell walking through it would simply disturb what ever creatures awaited to devour me.
There was only one way out…to backtrack.
So…back through the mosquito hords….I passed under one power tower that was covered with vultures. I figured they were waiting for the mosquitoes to kill me so they could finish me off.
I got back to where the trail heads back into the wood and decided at this point to bush whack to find the main trail. After getting to the trail, I figured now would be a good time to reapply the repellent….
I quickly discovered the repellent was nothing more than laughing gas to these little bastards. I continued on my hike…but could feel them landing and starting to feed. At some point I’m sure I looked like the human helicopter waiving my hands and hiking stick trying to kill them. I tried to out hike them picking up my pace. Every time I turned around and looked over my shoulder, I could see them keeping pace with my sad 3 miles per hour.
I finally found peace once I hit mile 4 and I was out away from the woods, the wet and out in pure sunshine!
My hope was that it was all behind me and that the mosquitos I had to deal with were left over from my failed traipsing through the woods…how wrong I was.
I started heading back and the minute I hit the woods, here they came again. By this time I was out of repellent. I had nothing to protect myself. As much as I wanted to stop and rest, every time I stopped to take a breath, here they came. The descended on me like I was the first hunk of food they’d ever seen in their lives. I was tired and exhausted. I was nearly in tears. I was so tired and just wanted to stop and take a break. It’s not like I could call anyone. “Oh hey…I’m in mosquito hell, would you mind walking out here and getting me?” Yeah…that wasn’t go over with anyone. I had to push with no breaks to make it through the last 3 miles of a 13 mile hike. What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger. However, keep all this in mind if I come down with West Nile.
As the end was in sight, along came a family. It was a dad, mom, a 4 year old son on a bike and a baby in the carriage. They too were slapping at the bugs…I told them that it wasn’t going to get any better down the trail…in fact it gets worse. They too commented on the fact that nothing seem to drive them away. Hopefully they decided to do the right thing and abandon the day…..
…and for the record, I did some research on repellents. Deet at 30%. Accept nothing less. I’ve ordered 4 cans of Off Deep Woods Sportsman II. I’ll report back next week.
Tail of the tape: