Mosquitos v. Bear

If this were who would win in a battle here in Manitoba: a swarm of these dragonfly-sized mosquitos or an average-sized black bear, I would bet on the bear, based on how I’ve seen Banjo react to mosquitos.

She doesn’t, is the thing. They’ll cover her so that we have to wipe them off her before we’ll let her in the tent or trailer, but she never twitches or bites at them (like we do!). My guess is she’s not allergic to whatever venom they use to soften skin so they can puncture it; that’s the stuff that makes people’s skin itch and swell. She just walks along, covered in the brutes, oblivious.

We, clearly, are affected by them. I tried to capture in this shot the literal swarm of them behind Tracy on a hike on the peninsula between east and west Blue Lake, but I didn’t want to get close enough for a good shot; his swarm would then merge with mine and we’d be engulfed.

You can see 4 or 5 of maybe 50 here. I also tried to take a shot of one on my hand, but as soon as I stopped long enough to turn on the phone app and focus on my hand, they had me surounded and I had to flee.

They get under your eyeglasses, in the folds of your ears, hung up in your eyebrows; they bite your scalp at the part of your hair, they bite through your clothes. They are insidious and vicious. If we decide to spend any time outside of the tent or trailer, we’re either kayaking on the water or walking really fast with lots of insecticide all over. (We do wear pre-sprayed clothing, hats, even a mosquito net over my hat, but they still find ways in.)

So, my guess is that bears must be immune to mosquito bites like Banjo is, although that’s not the point of my headline.

I’m thinking more along the lines of: Which scared the pants off me more here at Blue Lakes Campground? I think it was the bear.

I was on that same walk between the two lakes, but on my own (I like solo walks because I can book it along and get a good workout). I saw this bear foraging with its head down off the trail, so I stopped and waited to see which way it was going. Toward me, of course.

So I backed up slowly—and took this photo, no zoom!—until the bear lifted its head and saw me. At which point, despite knowing that solo black bears are no threat at all, I totally panicked. The bear did a double-take involving standing on its hind legs, then turned and ambled off away from the trail and into the woods.

It was probably an everyday experience for this bear, but I would say that I run into bears:

  • in close proximity
  • when I’m in the woods
  • by myself

maybe … never.

So, I was on high alert for the rest of the walk, knowing I had the trail loop of the peninsula still to cover with a certain bear certainly in the middle of the loop.

The walk was worth it though: bear and mosquitos and all. The bear scared me; the mosquitos are driving us insane, but the beauty of this spectacular lake is what I hope I’ll remember.

Okay, probably it’ll be the mosquitos.

4 thoughts to “Mosquitos v. Bear”

  1. It’s weird, despite growing up in Edmonton I’ve never experience mosquitoes at those levels. I obviously didn’t explore the rest of Canada enough. I do know that they can drive people literally insane but hopefully you leave before it gets to that point!

    1. I’ve spoken with a friend who grew up in Manitoba, and she doesn’t remember the mosquitos being this bad, either. We have 8 days left in Canada and I wouldn’t rule up the insane outcome!