Saturday the 14th at around noon I finished with the highlight scenery section of the Cory Pass loop in Banff and was plunging back into the humid, bug infested, 3 mile return through moderate scenery within earshot of the highway sometimes.
Then I stopped in Banff, the town, to replace some worn hiking socks (if you had "socks" or "his will" in the what-vital-trip-component-will-fail-next pool, you win. Read on)
There was traffic and parking difficulties. I know that there will be no $9 hiking socks. This is a resort town so I'm resigned to paying 13 or 14. When I find them they are 2 pair for 40. NO. I find a slightly lesser make for 2 for 36. One of the store guys asks me if I need anything. I reply, "I need hiking socks for less than 15 a pair". He looks around then sells me the lesser ones for 14 a pair.
I go back to the hostel canmore. No one seems terribly happy there except the two guys playing bollards outside my room past my personal bedtime
The Canadian Pacific railroad comes through town at 2am and then 4am.
Sunday morning I leave the hostel in intermittent rain. The plan is to hike to rockbound lake and then kill time inside somewhere in Lake Louise before camping Sunday night (and Monday as well).
At the trailhead I am a little better prepped and have everything I need except poles in the cabin with me so that I don't have to deal with bugs while 'booting up'
Sure enough, when I open the door, the rain has stopped bug the skeeter are out in force. I start up the trail doing an odd gait that sequences: left pole into ground, stride, check back of left arm and left flank for mosquitoes, repeat with right side of body, look down at chest and belly for bugs, repeat.
I do this for 45 minutes walking uphill on a damp old wagon road with nothing to see but small pine.
Than I snap. I am NOT happy. Am getting eaten in a boring forest while wearing clothes soaked with sweat, drizzle, insect repellent, and dead bug bits. What I have to look forward to is two days in a campsite in the rain with a plague's worth of bloodsuckers filling in the gaps between the droplets. The ranger told hike I want to do the next day is all covered in snow and is impassable.
I turn around and start back to the car. My periodic anti-bear whoops become slightly hysterical. I shout, "I WILL KILL EVERY F*(!ing mosquito in this forest! " , "if you come near me your life is forfeit ", "I want his brother dead, his family dead, if his has a teenier mosquito as a pet I want that dead too!"
Did I mention that no one else is on this trail?
I decide to cancel the camping and cancel the two nights after that near Jasper. I do not want to drive further north. That way will definitely not be home and weather forecasters say it is not going to be fun either.
Somewhere on the way back to the car I get a little more composed and I think, "yes, I definitely cancel camping in the rain, but maybe i'll finder cheaper acccomdations back in Canmore and continue on to Jasper in a couple of days"
Then a mosquito landed on the *inside* of my glasses. It took up an entire quadrant of the lens. Nope. Not staying. Getting the hell out of dodge and driving south.
Drive south I did... for 3.5 hours in mostly rain to Pincher Creek, Alberta 30 miles north of Waterton national park. Waterton is adjacent to Glacier nation park in Montana across the border.
Next post: it all turns around,
Original post title: was DDT really so bad?