Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gnat Attack!

No photos on this entry! Just a story about the gnats at Hovenweep! Gnats! How bad can gnats be? They are so tiny! So defenseless. They have nothing going for them! Just because they can fly and I can't, how bad can a gnat attack be?????

I'm here to tell you that these Hovenweep gnats are THE worst gnats I've ever encountered!

When we got to the Visitor's Center (aka gift shop!) for Hovenweep, the guy behind the counter asked us if we were going to walk to some of the ruins.

Well, I wasn't interested in his small talk. I wanted to shop. I was on the hunt for postcards and other little treasures that just had my name on them, begging me to buy them--to rescue them from the prison of the gift shop and into the world of the paper bag that signals to them that they have a brand new home.
No, I wasn't interested in his small talk about gnats. I wanted to shop!!!!

But Zip LOVES to talk to people so when the guy behind the counter was making small talk about us hiking to see the ruins and how the gnats were really bad this time of year, Zip was listening! Zip likes all the history stuff and learning about the ruins and how the people lived and who built what and what happened to them blah blah blah!
We did watch a very informative video on Hovenweep (that was AFTER I bought my treasures!). Yeah yeah, it was interesting! History is over! It's done. It's the past. Let's move forward. For some reason, Zip doesn't feel that way. Zip LOVES history!

Okay, back to the small talk about gnats. The behind the counter guy talked Zip into buying the very last bottle of "bug off" spray!

I didn't ask Zip why he actually bought bug spray for gnats. First of all, the bug spray didn't cost that much. Secondly, bugs like me for some reason. We can be outside in our backyard and not one mosquito will land on Zip. Me on the other hand--I'm like a landing strip for ALL the mosquitoes in the neighborhood. So it wouldn't hurt to have some bug spray since I didn't bring any!

I had packed a survival bag, filled with Survivor type stuff--a bottle opener, a space blanket, a small tool kit just in case I needed to unscrew something, my Epipen, in case I got stung by a wasp, duck tape (you just never know!), a small first aid kit, two mean-looking survival knives, flashlights, plastic bags, Chem Sticks and other kewl things like that.

But bug spray! Rats!!! I didn't bring any!

Well, with my bag of treasures in hand, we left the Visitor's Center, ready to go on a hike to see the ruins!

We walked on this very modern thing called sidewalks. Yes, it was fully paved, just the way I like it. I thought--how bad can this be? I'm really enjoying myself.

We walk about 300 feet to this scenic overlook. It's just so beautiful that photos sometimes cannot capture the beauty of it all. We stand there, admiring the scenery.

I'm thinking to myself--I'm sooooooooooooooooooo fricking glad that I didn't live back during those times. Yuck!!!! Living in a house made of stones, dirt floor, high on a hill, with no Wal-Mart! How in the world could I live that way????
So, while it was truly beautiful, I was also very thankful that I live now and not back then.

Well, after about 2 minutes of standing there--taking it all in--it happened! Yes, you know what I'm talking about right?
The gnat attack!

Before I knew it, I was slapping myself silly, trying to get those darn gnats. They were everywhere!
In my ear, up my nose, and trying hard to get into my mouth. Holy Crap! That guy was right! The gnats are really bad! AND, the gnats were getting Zip too!

So what did Zip do? He whipped out the last bottle of bug spray in the Visitor's Center and starts spraying my exposed arms and neck.
I'm standing there like one does at airports when they wand you. You know the stance!

Arms out, level with your shoulders, feet wide apart. Zip is just spraying away! After he does me, I do him. We think we're safe!

WRONG!!!! The gnats just laughed at us! Bug spray didn't phase them at all. This nice hike turned into something else.
Not only were the gnats following us as we walked, the nice sidewalk turned into this dirt path lined with rocks.
Oh no!!!! This was not going to be fun after all!

Then I got scared because of something I read back at the Visitor's Center--
"Beware of snakes. . . watch where you walk"!!!!

Snakes!!!! I hate snakes. I kept a look-out for snakes, in between slapping myself. Why oh why didn't we just go to the gift shop, buy the postcards and get back into the car??? Why???
Mean vicious biting gnats! Possible snakes. . . and what do you think I do?
I begin to see things! I thought I saw a cougar or something awful like that.
Something moved. Was it a cougar, a mountain lion, or just a rabbit??? Maybe a mean hungry bear!?

We had gotten to Hovenweep rather late, so there was nobody else walking except for us.
What would we do if we were attacked by something? Or what if we saw a snake?
We didn't bring our knives or anything that could be used as a weapon. All we had was bug spray that didn't even scare away gnats, postcards, a key chain, and bookmarks!

By the time we got back to the car, I was so happy that nothing wanted to make "happy meals" out of us that I actually thought I had fun out there!!!!

We visited Hovenweep on 17 or 18 May (can't remember exactly). I'm writing this story about the gnat attack on 27 May. I have so many places where they "got me" it's really not funny; you can still see them--all along my neck, my forehead, my shoulder--tiny little gnat bites! Talk about itch. Itch Itch Itch!!!!!

The next time the person behind the counter makes what you think is small talk about bug spray and gnats--buy your postcards and get back into your car! Forget about the "one with nature" crap! It's just not worth it!

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