© 2012 Aaron Atkinson


During our trip to Minnesota’s Boundary Water Canoe Area we saw a lot of wildlife. Eagles and hawks soared  overhead. Loons welcomed the evenings and mornings with their shrill, haunting calls. Ducks and mergansers fluttered and swam about. But the official bird of our trip had to be the mosquito.

The BWCA’s warm wet weather this year has been perfect for the mosquitoes. We were warned when we went in, and Paulette at the Ranger Station didn’t stretch the truth when she told us that the swarms were more like clouds this year.

While the evenings stayed light long past 9 p.m., we got into the habit of retiring early. Like a humming alarm that sent us retreating to our tents, at about 8:45 each evening we started to hear the buzz as the swarming cloud of vampires descended upon us. Once inside our tents, we spent the first five minutes hunting down and swatting the half dozen mosquitoes that managed to slip through our unzipped door.

And as we drifted off to sleep, we did so to the humming drone of 10,000 mosquitoes that swarmed around our tent. Knowing that they couldn’t get in, turned the threatening buzz  into more of a soothing lullaby at the end of a long day of paddling.

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