Mosquito War at Potholes State Park (I lost)
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We made good time from Seattle and arrived at Potholes in about three hours. It was early evening with plenty of light to set up camp. Unpacking the tent, I discovered that the tent poles were missing. Great! A friend packed up the tent last year and I just assumed the poles were inside, but it turns out there were left in the garage. Oh well, I've slept under the stars many times before, but before I could totally voice that thought to Anne, the swarm of mosquitoes moved in. Within minutes we both had dozens of bites. We decided to hop back in the car and head into Moses Lake (about 11 miles) to Wal-Mart and buy a small tent.
After a very cramped night, I woke up around 6am and made breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns and bacon before waking up Anne and letting her know the food was ready. I was glad I took my small cast iron skillet....it worked quite well with the Coleman stove.
When we finished breakfast, we drove to the Columbia Wildlife Refuge. It still amazes me that the eastern part of Washington is high desert. Miles and miles of sagebrush, mesas, and small potholes of water. After driving down a dirt road for a few miles, we pulled over near some water filled potholes to do some bird watching. I managed to take a photo of an egret...it turned out fairly well considering I had a big lens and didn't use the tripod (ever time I tried to open the tripod, the egret would fly away) and I'd have to track him down).
On our way back to camp, we stopped at the general store near the park entrance and bought better bug spray. This one had 40% deet in it. I also found a bigger tent so I could have my own space that night. I didn't really need another tent, having three of various sizes already at home, but it was cheap and I needed some comfort. Back at camp, I sprayed myself down and decided to take a nap. Anne opted to walk to a grassy park area and paint.
It was getting pretty hot in the afternoon and most of the wildlife were laying low in the heat. I was bored and jokingly said to Anne that I had half a mind to drive to Moses Lake and see a movie so I could sit in the A/C. She was game. Once again, the GPS came in handy.
Back at camp, we were still fighting the mosquitoes. We had picked up some mosquito sticks that we lit and put near the tents and picnic table. That seemed to help quite a bit. I must be highly allergic to the bites because I had huge welts all over where they had bitten me and the itch was maddening.. I got 17 bites on my left arm, 5 on my face & neck, 9 on my right arm, 10 on my feet, 8 on my legs, 5 on my abdomen, 20 on my back and 19 on my butt.
Bed again at 9:30 or so. I woke up at 4am to use the bathroom and couldn't fall back to sleep. I noticed that Anne was awake, too, so we packed up camp and headed home...we had enough of the mosquitoes!
On the way home, we stopped in Vantage for breakfast. Vantage is a tiny place that has two restaurants, a hotel, a gas station, and two campgrounds...that's pretty much it. It's located near the Columbia River and the bridge that crosses it for I-90. After breakfast, we drove up the road a bit to the Genko Petrified Forest. A nice little hike up a hill to see some petrified trees.
We were about an hour outside of Seattle and I started to crash. Anne was just as bad, so having her drive was out. We decided to pull over at a picnic area and take a quick nap. I don't think two minutes went by before we were both snoring. We slept abour 45 minutes in the car before finishing our drive home.
While Potholes was pretty, I don't think I'll ever camp there again...not unless they spray!
Note: The woman at the gas station said it was an especially bad for mosquitoes this year. The locals were encouraging the authorities to spray. They were quite concerned because a case of West Nile virus was documented a couple hours away.