Saturday, April 04, 2009

Never Ran So Fast In My Life

One of the few television shows that I actually take time to watch is Man Tracker on the Outdoor Life Network. I made a Facebook comment a couple days ago saying it would be interesting to see an episode of the show shot up here in the Arctic. Kara then made a comment about how it would be interesting to see an episode shot during Northern mosquito/black fly season. In the High Arctic (at least not around my area here) we don't see the biblical hordes so often associated with Canada's North. I have had my fair share of run ins however and Kara's comment reminded me a day trip I once took down to Wood Buffalo National Park on a warm June day.

I jumped on my mountain bike for a jaunt to the park for a few hours to enjoy the sun and snap some pictures. Over the Salt River and into the park I jumped off the bike to explore a boardwalk which meandered through some of the karst land for which Wood Buffalo is known for. Big Mistake. The boardwalk followed a short loop of perhaps 700-800 metres. I'm sure it looks great in a brochure. Instantly after entering the bush a million little hellions descended on me. For every mosquito I killed, five more appeared out of nowhere to replace it. It was the fastest 700m I've ran in my life I'm sure. The scenery was quite unique, don't get me wrong. I managed a few picture of the karst. They aren't the greatest since I was engaged in some severe multi-tasking - running, taking pictures and swatting mosquitoes simultaneously. Here are a few of the half-decent pictures I managed to get. I biked back to town much the wiser about the relentless nature of the northern mosquito and nursing some rather large welts on my arms and legs. On the whole though, the views were still worth this little ordeal by mosquito.


dogsled_stacie said...

Oh man I can relate! I spent a few summers/falls working north of Ft. McMurray and hoo boy the mosquitos were UNREAL there. At one point, a co-worker was wearing a red shirt and on her back seemed to be hundreds of those little buggers. We had a game - swatting her back to see how many we could kill with ONE hand. I think the record was in the 30's or something... brutal.

Then the black flies!!! They buzzed at your face ALL day. I remember going to bed one night, and still being able to feel them dive-bombing my face. That's when you know there is a too many flies out there. I don't really miss those days, lol!

Jackie S. Quire said...

I watch Survivorman/Mantracker every Friday night (it seems I have no personal life...) and I was *JUST SAYING* how Survivorman should pick up his balls and come north... and this week's episode was outside Pond!

Just watch, Mantracker will be in Nunavut next week....

(Also, I have 2 friends in town who may or may not have submitted for that show.)