Game Changers

There are a few things in life that are game changers.  When a couple brings a baby into the world, that’s a game changer.  If you devote yourself to a new religion, that’s a game changer.  Serious illness, finding the love of your life, the unexpected death of a loved one, these are all game changers.  There is one more item missing from this list: mosquitos.

Mosquitos

Not an inch of skin exposed; hiding under rain gear, a head net and my pack cover.

Like babies and illness mosquitos change how you see the world.  I was in the most dazzling on canyon meadows, walls of sculpted rock on either side and a floor of grasses and flowers beneath my feet as I followed the unrushed meanderings of a stream on its adventure down canyon and all I experienced was misery.

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Jack Main Canyon: Yosemite National Park

Trapped beneath long sleeves and a head net on a sweltering morning there was a scratch on my leg, a pinch on my shoulder, a buzz in my ear, three mosquitos on my headnet just in front of my eyes blocking my view, and a vague taste of Deet in my mouth.  I couldn’t stop to eat becau se I’d have to raise my headnet and expose myself to the onslaught.  Even stopping to take a picture of a quaint scene I’d managed to recognize through the blur of misery was all but impossibleOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA because any warm body that was not in constant motion would be instantly coated in blood seeking mosquitos.  I will spare you from any discussions about what happened when you should have to relieve yourself in the woods – a death defying act requiring you to drop your pants.

There are few animals in this world that I will viciously kill with zero remorse, but any animal that explodes with an eruption of my own blood when doing so is on that short list.

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