We have often been asked whether we have purchased head nets and lots of insect repellent for our northern venture. The stories of travelers devoured by black flies in particular seem to have impressed lots of people. And I have to admit that in my case, the questions about insects take on an additional meaning. Family, friends, and colleagues have noticed insects, of the plastic kind, in their homes and offices after I have paid them a visit. What can I say, I love bugging people.
In places like Labrador, where there are trees and bushes, blackflies thrive and find shelter. We do not expect to encounter them at Cape Sheridan, which will have little vegetation. Nor can either Genny or I recall reading any journal entries in which Peary’s men commented about insect problems. We know we will be found by mosquitoes, that is inevitable, but hope that we pick a campsite with enough of a breeze to discourage swarms. We are resigned to the fact that the mosquitoes we encounter will be big and hungry, a fact of life for all warm blooded mammals that venture north.
I write this from Ottawa, where Fred, Genny, and I had dinner together and are preparing for our flight to Resolute. Peary stayed in the hotel room. Security screenings, traffic noise, and the heat got to him.