Blueberry – and Skeeter – Pancakes

Early Mornings in the Arctic
Grin and bear it!

Every morning by 7:00 A.M. I am sitting by the fire, sipping a cup of cocoa, while my Dad or Heimo makes breakfast (I am the camp’s lunch cook). Usually we have oatmeal for breakfast, but for a treat my dad fixes his special crispy pancakes with fresh-picked blueberries. After a steady diet of Arctic grayling (fish), I gobble them up like a ravenous grizzly coming out of hibernation. The mosquitoes, it seems, are as hungry as I am. Whether it’s warm or cool, I’m dressed in layers, determined not to leave a stitch of bare skin for them. They swarm around me as soon as I leave the tent and no amount of swatting or spray or smoke from the fire discourages them. They also like the pancake mix, so along with the blueberries, the mix usually contains a dozen or so mired mosquitoes. “No big deal,” my dad says. “We need the protein.” When they drive me to the point of madness, I jump through the fire like an exotic circus performer. I hear that sizzle and crackle and I am filled with a sense of satisfaction. I’ve gotten those “dirty little bastards” (Heimo’s phrase) back.  Inevitably some of the dead mosquitoes end up in my pancakes. Though I’d prefer pancakes with sun-soaked blueberries from the Arctic tundra, blueberry and skeeter pancakes are pretty good, too. They taste sweet – like revenge.

Gritty Gal at the campsite
Me at the campsite