Biting Insects

As wilderness paddlers, we often have to endure some degree of hardship - headwinds, wet shoes,  muddy portage trails, snoring tent partners,  less than  perfect food.

But there is no problem that can match that of mosquitoes, blackflies and other biting insects.  

     A buggy portage in late May with hordes of blackflies chomping at our exposed wrists and ears is an exercise in profound misery which can only be understood by those who have experienced it.

Perhaps our only consolation (however slight) is to think of how lucky we are in comparison to those who have gone before us.  We enter the battle armed with bug jackets, screened tents, DEET and other weapons.  We can only imagine what it must have been like for the voyageurs, sleeping wrapped in a blanket under the canoe, with a piece of cheesecloth wrapped around their heads.

Oh, those flies!

God in his wisdom made the fly ... and then forgot to tell us why.

Ogden Nash

And the blackflies,
the little blackflies,
Always the  blackfly, wherever you go.
I'll die with the blackflies a-pickin' my bones
in North Ontario-i-o
in North Ontario

Wade Hemsworth

"I confess that this is the worst martyrdom I suffered in this country."

A French Missionary
Ottawa River, 1620