Deet is the active ingredient in the most common bug sprays out there and it is very effective. Thru hikers rejoice in watching mosquitoes die when they land on their deet covered skin. It also melts plastic – so I’ve avoided it and lectured anyone that will listen. I’ve been using another product called picaridin. Unlike deet, it simply offends most of the bugs but it is much safer for the environment and your health.
Maine has broken me down. The mosquitoes and black flies are everywhere and they are flying into my ears, nose and eyes all day. Today was especially bad with calm winds and higher humidity. I stopped for a break at a shelter and found a brand new can of Off brand bug spray. It was the fancy kind with 15% deet and a baby powder coating. I snagged it and covered myself in it and felt amazing all day. The bugs kept their distance and I retained what is left of my sanity.
Today was bitter sweet. We crossed our final series of 4,000 foot peaks and it made me a little sad. As we get closer to the finish, I am becoming so much more aware of everything that I am going to miss. Hiking these narrow ridge lines above the trees is one of my favorite. I stopped at the narrow peak today for an extra long lunch and watched a rainstorm move across Sugarloaf mountain.
I am also going to really miss all of my critter friends. I chatted with the red squirrels today and stopped by for a visit with this handsome frog. They shared their beautiful home with me for these last four months. They have quite the place out here and I was so lucky to see so much of it.
The hiking gets a lot easier from here on out but I’ve timed it just right on pace and won’t have to push too hard to still make my planned summit on July 6. I don’t want to rush this. It’s going to be missed.