By any name, the Maine blackfly is a tough hombre. He bites by tearing off flesh with lancetlike blades that slice into the tissue. He then smears on an anticoagulant to keep the blood flowing and drinks until gorged—or crushed by his victim. Dr. Ivan McDaniel, an entomologist with the University of Maine at Orono, thinks a warming trend in the weather may be another reason why Maine woodsmen in the Orono area are now contending with the pests the entire summer. He has found no single homemade or commercial repellent that will discourage the insects equally well for everyone, but suggests—lamely, we think—that those venturing into the woods should experiment to find what works best for them.
Up in Alaska, Guy Okakok, Barrow correspondent for the Tundra Times, knows what to do about the big, lush mosquitoes that move in on the fall hunters in his country. You take a tip from the Kakmoliks.
"Whenever they shoot a deer," Okakok writes, "first they open the belly and rub their hands and face with the blood, all over them. After the blood dries, mosquitoes never sting them at all. And it always works, too. Why not try it?"
You'll like it?
GRAND CANYON SWEAT
Now that the daredevil season has temporarily subsided, there is reason to believe that maybe the grandest feat of courage was not Evel Knievel's abortive rim shot nor Mike King's record 155-foot dive into eight feet of water but a little-publicized run Bill Emmerton made one blistering day last month into the Grand Canyon and out again.
Emmerton is the 53-year-old Australian distance runner (SI, Oct. 6, 1969) who six years ago this summer ran 100 miles nonstop through Death Valley and temperatures averaging 125� in 36 hours and 35 minutes. He said after his latest run that he would repeat the Death Valley trip 10 times over before ever facing the canyon trip again.
Terrified of heights, Emmerton found himself racing along trails that at times were only 18 inches wide, solid cliff wall on one side and sheer drop on the other. Once, in the descent, he almost did go off the South Kaibab Trail when he rounded a sharp corner and saw nothing but space directly ahead.
From 7,000 feet, Emmerton covered the seven miles to the canyon floor at 2,200 feet in an hour and a half. After an 11-minute stop at Cottonwood Ranch, he began the torturous ascent to the north rim (elevation 8,200 feet and 14 miles away) in midday temperatures of 110�. He skittered past three rattlesnakes, stepped on rocks that bruised the soles of his feet severely and barely escaped a large rock that landed on the trail behind him. Toward the end, having had only three mouthfuls of water to drink, a handful of raisins and a small bar of chocolate to eat, Emmerton was, for the first time in his life, beaten. At several points, out of fear and fatigue, he almost crawled. His head spun; his legs, which had grown sore on the way down, pained him fiercely. In the last mile he began to bleed at the nose. Never in his life had Emmerton thought of quitting. He almost did this time. When he arrived at the top, seven hours and 45 minutes and 20.6 miles after the start, he apologized for being unable to complete his planned trip—doubling back over the same route—and finis. He will not defend his record against any man with the grit to go after it.