All we want from Christmas is a break from mosquito bites. The Hiawatha National Forest is a world-class mosquito breeding ground. After a few moments, you can immediately tell the locals from the tourists. The locals wear long sleeve shirts and pants; light jackets with hoods; hats with integrated mosquito netting. The tourists wear short sleeved shirts, short pants, and flip flops.
We departed for a 40 mile roundtripper to see Spray Falls and the dozen other attractions along H-58 in our shorts and tees, ridiculously and mistakenly confident in the can of Deep Woods Off in the trunk. Heading out for the feature attraction, Pictured Rocks, we hugged the side of a crumbling shoulder on a long uphill grade doing our best to out run the mosquitos. The view points were pretty, but nothing like what we’d seen out west. It’s not fair to compare, but we do anyway. To be fair, it is hard to stop to enjoy the view while doing the swat dance.
The beautiful landscape is kept at a distance, guarded by constructed steps and overlooks. No way they were letting us get near this waterfall.
As we played hunter-killer with the squadron of mosquitos that had snuck into the coach, we contemplated living life in a campground. The dozen insects seemed trivial as we watched a rough and tumble couple living out of their car dumpster dive for a sack of returnable bottles and cans. The insects were the least of their worries.
Each area we have explored is unique and you have to learn to adapt to the local environment. As the sun set, we vowed to figure out how to live large in the land of the mosquito. Running the generator for an hour, we put back some of the charge we had used on the Como batteries, fired up the hot water for a quick Betty shower, and planned a day in the heart of the enemy.