Previously I mentioned that on a journey to see all the state parks we also stopped at Congaree National Park.
This is the story of the Moth Man.
At Congaree we took the boardwalk trail which ended up being a little more than two miles but all of it was on a boardwalk in a shaded swamp. Now that can be problematic when Annie, our Chihuahua, is accustomed to doing her business on dried leaves back home. At some point she hopped off the wooden walkway onto the ground…in a bed of poison ivy. But she was happy.
Just as we finished the loop a man came up a staircase from the muck where he had been with his coon hound. We exchanged pleasantries and admiration of each other’s dogs. As we all walked back toward the visitor center the man noticed either bird poop or a moth on the railing. He wasn’t sure which until he touched it. That’s when he told me he wanted a closer look at some moths he had seen in the breezeway of the visitor center because “he loved moths”.
Back at the visitor center, Jenni was taking care of business and I was trying to get Annie to go to the park’s water bowl. However, the man we had just met was standing right beside the water bowl with his large coon hound. He was studying the moths which had gathered on the wall during the night. To coax Annie to the water I had to step between him and the wall. That’s when I said “Oh, I didn’t mean to get between you and this moth.” He replied, “Not a problem. We saw her last night.” He continued studying other flying delights.
Annie couldn’t drink worrying that Jenni might be lost and never coming back, so we backed away and waited. (This generally happens 3-4 times per day.) When Jenni miraculously appeared through a doorway we headed for the van and I explained my conversation with the newly dubbed ‘Moth Man’ in a hushed voice.
Thirty-six hours and six state parks later we had camped at Aiken State Park and gotten ourselves lost on the ‘Jungle Trail’. (see last week’s blog) It was close to dark when we reached the camping area. We were cutting through the pine trees headed to our van when we crossed paths with a gentleman who had just come out of the showers and was headed to his tent. We chit-chatted for several minutes before we learned he had gone to Congaree NP earlier this week. I then looked over at his campsite and saw a coon hound tied to a tree. At that point I blurted out “You like moths. You’re the Moth Man!”. He smiled and asked how I knew that!
Moth Man explained he had chosen this state park so he would have electricity to charge his “bug light”. He mentioned this bug light several more times and we deduced that it was not a ZAPPER like we first imagined, but rather a light to attract moths for his viewing pleasure. We then spent another 15 minutes getting to know each other and the travels that were planned for each of us.
Perhaps thanks to his bug light, we had very few insects at our camp that night.
At this point, STEVE has probably returned to Indiana and is preparing for a trip to Texas. I’m asking all my Texas friends and family to leave their porch lights on this month just in case Moth Man passes by and wants to check out your moths!