Any Alaskan will proudly tell you that they are recognised as the official bird of Alaska, and although we saw many of them, they were not the monsters we had been warned about. Yes they were big, yes they tapped on the windows, yes they gave a nasty bite and yes they made a mess when you killed them. However, it was not until we reached Canada and British Colombia that we experienced the full horror of these monsters. Now, maybe it is because it has got warmer, probably, but either way I Hate them. I am talking about mosquitos if you hadn't already guessed and they are AWFUL.
The Canadian ones are smaller and harder to squash, which means they manage to find a way into our camper at night. Before going to bed we do a quick sweep to ensure the camper is clear and go to sleep, just as you are drifting off there is that whine around your head - god dammit, light on, locate and squash; back to just drifting off…….whiiiiine, light on, locate and squash - this gets very boring and tiresome, so you pull the sheet over your head, put in earplugs and drift off only to wake in the morning looking like you have chicken pox.
Also it is lovely to sit out in the evening, beer in hand and admire the scenery, chat to friends, enjoy a meal; but once again the monsters appear and are relentless. A good smokey fire does the trick though, even if it leaves your face tear stained and your clothes reeking.
We recently did a 3 day trek to a set of 8 cascades at Monkman Lake near Tumbler Ridge. The camp site was the worst I have ever encountered, not only were the monsters mosquitos, but also wasps and flies, all vying for that patch of skin that was not covered by at least 3 layers! It was humid in the forest, no breeze to blow them away and we suffered. The campfire kept them away briefly, but as we emerged from our tent in the morning there were hundreds waiting to welcome us to breakfast. We ate breakfast, drank our coffee, broke camp and packed our rucksacks in record time. Dave was amazed at how quickly we were on the trail out of there!
I don't know what the solution is, smoke, deet, mosquito net, whichever is best, British Colombia is again reminding us that we are not at the top of the food chain!