Crawfish Creek (I like to call it Mississippi Mud Bug Creek) was another brutal experience. The four mile/ two-hour hike to our wetlands was a nightmare filled with boggy surprises, seeps that will swallow your limbs, thermal areas, stream crossings, hoards of hungry biting flies, blood thirsty mosquitoes, steep mountains, intense heat, huge swaths of downed old-growth trees, dense forest with spider webs in the face, etc… By the time we got to our first site, our shoes, socks and pants were completely waterlogged and mud-soaked from experiencing the entire array of the ways one could get sucked into the muddy center of the earth. The wetlands–at least the ones that weren’t dried up–were nice to survey. Thankfully, most were large ponds or wet meadows that were easy to navigate. There’s nothing I hate more than a large, untrustworthy wet meadow (ex. Tanager Lake) but give me a small one with a few little pools in it and I‘m as happy as a pig in mud. We caught a lot of chorus frog tadpoles and a few spotted frog tads (which were enormous). Once again, Andrew made the most of it and was hugely entertaining. Most of the time we bonded over guns, gun rights, gun legislation, self-defense, violence in society, etc… We also talked about our favorite actors from Bruce Campbell to Anthony Hopkins to Daniel Day Lewis and Tarantino movies. I had my suspicions before but this catchment made me realize that Andrew does not think of me as a girl and I love it. Most of the time we talk about guitars, cigars, guns and politics…all the things I enjoy but no one usually talks about with me. It’s totally refreshing and I’m going to miss it. The walk out went a little quicker but the biting flies were unbearable. The field notes from previous years said to don head nets because of the flies but neither of us were that prepared. They wouldn’t have made much of a difference though. The flies attacked the entire body regardless of clothing or nets. They were an unstoppable force of pain. I could even hear them chuckling at our attempts to deter them with bug spray. They bit my stomach, through my shirt, and intensely focused their attack on my hands. By the time we got back to the car, our hands were completely chewed up and swollen and my welted stomach hurt for several days after.