Minnesota “State Bird” Reflections

Minnesota “State Bird” Reflections

Last week, with the prospect of a few good weather days, Rob was eagerly anticipating tackling a power carving project. His frustration with recent heavy rain recalled, for one reader, the pesky outcome of too much rain in Minnesota lake country. – Editor

I am sure this rain is enjoyed by your Minnesota mosquitoes. I have only been to your state one time. I was driving home from a trip to California and the west coast up into Washington and Mt. Rainier, way back in ’63. We had been to Duluth earlier in the day, and it was getting on toward darkness. We were looking for a place to spend the night. I would be sleeping in my sleeping bag on the ground, but my buddy Pete would be sleeping in the cab of my truck. He had seen a scorpion on the road in South Dakota on our way out to the coast, and he never slept out on the ground the whole rest of our trip. We were traveling through the lake country, and I found a lake with a campground after it had been dark for an hour or two.

I drove down to the campground close to water’s edge. The campers were all sealed in for the night. I observed that every tent or mobile camper was sealed tight. Outside, between those campers and our truck were millions of mosquitoes. Clouds of them. As we had approached the camp area, I had noticed a picnic site with a hand water pump on the hillside just above, about 100 yards up the slope. I beat a hasty retreat to that site. There were no pesky winged blood suckers flying around the site, so I rolled out my sleeping bag and pulled the flap over my head (just in case). Pete closed the truck windows and we went to sleep.

The next morning, it was still dark, and I am an early riser by habit. (I grew up on a farm in the Massachusetts Berkshires, and the cows taught me that before the daylight was chow time.) As I was coming out of my slumber, I became aware of a roar. At first, I thought it was a waterfall, but as I gained my senses I realized the country all around the lake had no serious drops in elevation where a waterfall was even possible. I realized it was the roar of the mosquitoes. I climbed out of my sleeping bag. There were no bugs of any kind flying around our private campground. I worked the pump and splashed water on my face and body, got dressed, packed my sleeping bag onto the truck, woke my pal and suggested we get rolling.

Pete, who was not naturally an early riser, climbed out of the truck, blinked his eyes, grabbed a towel and suggested he would go jump into the lake to wake himself up.

“I don’t think that is a good idea,” I warned.

I might just as well have saved my breath. Pete was on his way. In the dark, I heard a couple splashes as he charged into the shallow water, and then, “Yeowww!!!” and a couple more splashes. Suddenly, from out of the darkness, a very excited and naked Pete appeared. He refused to go back to get his clothes or even his towel. Since I had suspected his ordeal, I had no intentions to go retrieve his clothing. Somewhere, around the Minnesota lake country, there are mosquitoes wearing his skivvies left on that lake shore. Those mosquitoes were actually THAAAT BIG! – Wayne Tinker

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