Hell is around the corner.
Those days you wake up, and in your mind you picture everything to be perfect, be very very wary. After yesterdays ice plunge, I had a nice warm night staying cool in my hammock. The pop-tarts, of course, never get old (Strawberry Frosted).
Coming off the mountain, the day was mounting up to be a hot one. Pulling out cooling rag given to my by Melissa, I snuck it under my hat to prevent it from running away as it had tried so many times before. Just as I was reaching the bottom, they came.
Mosquitoes. Like I had never seen before. Buzzing, hovering, over EVERYTHING. There were so many of the god damn things that it looked like a cloud had descended on the forest. I remember my guide saying that this would be a long low altitude stretch, so I popped myself into high gear and took off.
At first, I don’t think they were able to keep up. Or maybe I stank that fucking bad. But as the morning wore on, I would turn around to see a massive gang of them trailing me like hungry dogs. And as my speed increased, so did their persistence. One, then two, than three. They kept coming. There was absolutely no way I was going to shake them. I reached a stopping point just after running across a highway nearly getting hit to drop my pack down and put on bug spray. After dropping the pack, I made a rolly lighting quick
A) Because I needed a cigarette after hauling ass the last few hours
B) Because I hoped the smoke would ward off the bugs
Within minutes, The bugs had given my body a break for a short period. However, glancing at my backpack, the portion against my back was COVERED in them. Dozens of them viciously stabbing the material in search of blood. Other continued to circle around me, but the smoked seemed to protect me.
I sprayed poison on my forearms and calves in an attempt to repel them. After finishing my smoke, they slowly but firmly began to launch their assault on my body again, biting all the places that weren’t 100% covered by insect poison. I threw my pack onto my pack, vengefully killing the bastards, and stormed on again.
Reaching a section along a river, the buggers got even worse. I didn’t seem a damn soul out on the trail today, so my misery was my own to bear. They circled and snapped and munched down like the little ass holes they are. I swear I began to feel the affects of blood loss. Adrenaline from anger and endorphines from the pain finally kicked in, and I’d had enough.
That’s right. This big loser began running through the woods like a bear was chasing him. Flailing my arms, screaming in frustration. I waved my poles and legs like I was on fire.
My trail runner ferraris had been slightly overpowered, and down I went as I slipped on a flat in-trail rock. I stood up for a split second, to see if anyone had seen, and resumed my endeavor at a brisk walk, steam shooting out of my ears.
Another fall. I rolled over, grabbing my wrist I had used to catch my fall. It wasn’t broken but pretty sore by now. Had a nice bit of blood trickling down my hand from my palms that my winged enemies were all but too happy to partake in. I finally gave up and resumed my walk, taking the bites to more falls and ankle twisters.
Finally after an hour, I reached the beginning of a summit. 3 hikers were sitting down at the trail head, waiting for something to begin their ascent.
“Hey man, you alright? You’re super red…” One of the girls asked as I walked/ran up swatting my hands here and there.
In response, I uttered something borderline inhuman, words that didn’t get caught in my social filter slipped by as I muttered something about “mosquitoes” and “bug spray” and “no good” and “I’m getting the fuck to camp”. My eyes were probably rolling around in my sockets, as I couldn’t see them clearly.
They parted and allowed me onto the path, and I continued again my stupid walk run to get back up into elevation. As I neared the top, more fucking rocks began to surface themselves to me, coaxing me to be slipped on.
And slip I did boy.
Back on my ass again, a nice butt bruiser this time. And the mosquitos were still on me from the moment I was down.
At this point, a fuse blew in my brain. A wire popped somewhere with such high voltage that I instantly attained a new level of insanity. Looking at my arms, pulsating with mosquitos and blood, my veins began to widen. My vision narrowed. I grabbed my trekking poles, planting them into the ground as hard as I could, and shoved myself up with minimal effort. The forest dropped to a mute, and all I could hear was my breathing, heartbeat, and rage that boiled inside. Each step was so deliberately placed, a tornado crossing the trail couldn’t uproot the tread my shoes plowed into the trail, let alone my will to get to that fucking shelter and into my hammock.
My vision became quicker. In milliseconds I was looking at where my foot was to earth itself next, making micro-calculations that would guess how much traction my shoes would have. After landing my foot, I could feel the most minute trace of a slip occurring, and I instantly shifted body weight into my poles and other foot to compensate for the loss of traction, preventing another fall. Then the next footfall followed as I unearthed the last one, my poles biting the trail like vicious snakes, ripping the dirt and throwing leaves in their wake.
20 minutes later, I reached the shelter. I don’t really remember what just happened, but I know I just hiked a little over 2 miles in 20 minutes with a fully loaded pack. I heard distant voices, and as my pulse went back down, I heard the sound of Boy Scouts arguing about oatmeal flavors and cheese crackers.
I had landed myself right in the damn middle of a camping trip, and there was not a single place left in the shelter. Boys running around with laser pistols and jetpacks crawled all over every surface available, shooting each other to death. I think a camp counselor is trying to talk to me, but I’m crashing so hard from the adrenaline rush I can’t hear him. Or I don’t care. I see 2 trees, instantly scoping them out to be the proper distance apart. Quickly deploying my hammock with record speed, I set about to make my one solace, my one comfort food: Mac & Cheese.
I swear these god damn things are biting me through my mosquito net.