It was the third little park we visited on July 17th. The first two parks had been interesting and fun. But we should have known that the fun could not last. The first omen was when we were handed the bloody map.
It wasn't that dramatic, really. We stopped at the Ranger Station and asked for directions to the Hiking Club trailhead. "Oh, another hiker just came back," said the Ranger. "Here, he left behind his map." I took the map. It had blood on it.
|note the blood, right on the star marking|
Hayes Lake State Park
"Is this a bad omen?" I asked Joe. "That's not blood," he said. "Must be sap or something. How bad could it be?" Lots of things cause blood. Mosquitoes, angry packs of rodents, thorny bushes, bears. There was a bear warning in the Ranger Station window.
|Bears out for blood? No, probably just out for dinner. Joe's favorite gif.|
Reader, we were eaten alive. By mosquitoes, not bears. We might as well have coated ourselves with honey and stood in the middle of a stagnant pool. It was agonizing. We were so miserable we were barely able to enjoy the park. Prior to our trip we decided that we would train for a 5k together; this trail became our first training run.
|The start of the trail/race route|
There were interpretive signs on the trail, but we didn't read them because we were too busy swatting mosquitoes and running. "That one was about Glacial Lake Agassiz!!" I shouted as we ran by one of them, chased by a swarm.
We went to go see the African Queen the week before we left on the trip. I felt like Katharine Hepburn's character when the boat gets overrun by bugs.
|Oh Mr. Allnut!|
The trail itself might have been nice. It went alongside Lake Hayes, which is a pretty blue lake under the prairie sky. It's an electric-motor-only lake, so we didn't have to listen to the whirrr of gas motorboats speeding along. It's supposed to be a good fishing lake too: northern, crappie, and sunnies.
|Faded Hiking Club sign, edge of the lake|
There are plenty of camping facilities in Lake Hayes State Park, including a Primitive Group Camp. Joe finds this funny: he imagines a circle of neanderthals huddling around a campfire.
|This way to caveman fun and games|
We could not get back to the car fast enough. Although both of us were attacked, poor Joe bore the brunt of it. His arms, legs, back, and even his noggin were covered in mosquito bites. Good thing this was our last park of the day - if we'd started out at Hayes Lake, we might never have gotten to the others.
|Joe got bites, Joe mad!|
Total miles hiked today (this park): 2
Total miles hiked in 2015: 19.3
Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Elly - 1; Thunderdog - 0
Total ticks in 2015: 9
Countdown to All Miles: 24.4 to go