Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mosquitoes Devour the Best Laid Plans

Have you ever seen mosquitoes swarm on a three-year-old? It isn't pretty, even when it isn't your own kid!

We brought friends along to Tamarack Nature Center last week, with high hopes to make Richard Louv proud. After months of listening to me brag up the infinite merits of the Wild Place, essentially a city-bound fort-builder's dream, our friends were fully prepared for woodsy enrichment: sneakers, bugspray, snacks....

 Determined to instill heightened powers of observation in our kids, I even packed a nature scavenger hunt. There were some clues simple enough for the Littles, some tricky enough for the Bigs, and prizes (harvested from the playroom) for one and all.

On a gorgeous August day, 85 degrees hot but with a cool breeze promising autumn's return, we started tramping through the woods. Mushrooms were discovered, log bridges were teetered across, and at least one lion's lair was assembled.

Then the bingo cards came out, and the Bigs lead us deeper into the woods. Where the mosquitoes were ready to pounce.

My girls seemed mildly annoyed. Everyone did. Annoyed, but not quite over run. Everyone except Elliot's buddy, whose glasses somehow attracted the entire swarm. Mosquitoes lined his eyebrows. Welts began to appear immediately in multiple places at once.

And the poor guy was terrified, understandably.

Suddenly we were all racing down the path, resting in the sunlit patches that warded off the beastly bugs, and dashing through the ominous, buzzing shade.

A few of us straggled onward, committed to finishing the scavenger hunt and catching ourselves some wildlife.

We shared tales of our nearly caught frog and run-away inchworm when we met the rest of our crew back at the nature center. Meanwhile, tthey had uncovered a wealth of indoor toys available for the overly-edible hiker.

A memorable outing, certainly, but an unfortunate boon for the folks that make calamine lotion!

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