After Nashville, the plan was to head over to St. Louis and see my former colleagues, but we’d be there during the weekend – a bit too soon. So we took a small detour and spent a couple of days in the nature. We saw this road on the map and planned to drive through there, and maybe even camp for a night, but as it turned out, the whole place was a national recreation area, pretty well maintained and with camping fees: The Land Between the Lakes (LBL). We paid our $7/3 days/person online, as we got there after the welcome center closed, however, nobody even showed up to check or count the campers.
And now, about this area… it’s quite wild. We’ve seen wild turkeys and deer quite often, as well as countless species of birds, but they also had an area for bison and elks (about 55 of each). On our first night we camped in the South, by the lake. We were alone in the camping place but we spent the whole night awake fighting the mosquitoes. Sprays, smoke and manual killing didn’t produce any effect, and by the marks we got, I say we lost the fight. The next day I drove around while Lucy hiked a couple of sections of the N/S trail (I had a bad ankle with some pain).
We spent the night in a different spot, on the same lake. This time we were not alone, but fortunately we couldn’t see or feel any mosquitoes. The sunset was really nice and it looked like we’ll spend a good night. All of a sudden, half way through a movie we were watching, some fierce hissing sounds by the car. Instinctively, I jump out of the car to scare the ‘predator’, making some noise and trying to look big and scary. The three visiting nutrias were obviously not impressed, but quickly ran to the forest, not even looking back. The story repeated a few times before noticing the fluffy slow mammals turned into big eyed raccoons. Scaring them only worked for 5-10min, and they were back. A short summer storm made us hide our stuff in the car quickly, right before going to sleep. And this was another lost battle against the mosquitoes. We left the area bitten all over our bodies (at least 10 bites per segment), including the face and other places you don’t usually get bitten (palm of the hand, back, bottom, etc).
I believe we the intruders in their world, and we paid this in blood, but all in all it was a nice experience.
Now we’re in St. Louis for a couple of days.