With temperatures predicted in the high 80s we headed back to Rock Lake to spend the weekend swimming and staying cool by the water. Scout joined in for some swimming but going out to the rock was too much for her.
We were plagued by deer flies and stable flies aka ankle biters aka Adirondack Meanies. The deer flies were annoying, but mainly buzzed about our heads and they were slow enough to enable swatting. The stable flies were another matter. They were numerous, fast and vicious – especially attacking Scout.
The stable fly or biting house fly is a blood-feeding pest known to attack almost any kind of warm-blooded animal. It looks like the common house fly except that its mouth parts are adapted for biting and sucking blood. The stable fly feeds by inserting its proboscis (beak) through the skin and then sucking blood from its host. The proboscis is long enough to penetrate some clothing.
Females can live up to a month and may require several blood meals during this period in order to continue laying eggs. It is a daytime feeder, with peak biting occurring during the early morning and late afternoon. Stable flies prefer to attack people around the ankles; hence being called ‘ankle biters’. Fortunately, it does not appear to be an important vector of any human diseases. The immature stable fly (maggot) can be found breeding in many kinds of moist, decaying organic matter. The variety of breeding sites, and the fact that the adults fly several miles to feed but spend little time on the host, make it difficult to manage stable flies. They didn’t seem to be daunted by repellents or the bug lantern employed by Kathryn.
Eric worked the fire to provide a full on smoke attack which worked, however.
Speaking of the fire pit we pulled broken glass, aluminum foil, cans, Coleman propane bottles, and a broken golf club out of the fire pit and campsite; yielding about 10-15 lbs of trash. Below is the before and after versions of the fire pit. We ended up leaving six metal grates as Kathryn expressed her limit of what she was willing to pack out.
Dinner consisted of chicken and fresh baked biscuits – a definite keeper. In the evening we were treated to an evening sunset.
On our way out we experimented by putting the dog in one of the last sections in the canoe. We paddled over to the site where we stayed last week to see if the bugs were as bad there. They were less annoying, perhaps due to less vegetation or a more open site. We saw a rough legged hawk hunting over the swampy inlet, although Kathryn had to consult her bird book to be sure.
After lunch we paddled across the lake and loaded up for the portage out. Eric astounded us by volunteering to double carry the kitchen backpack and the cooler backpack the last 2/3rds of the way out so Kathryn could continue to pack the Bill’s Bag and trash.