Avoiding bugs on Michigan's U.P.I was planning on a weeklong camping/hiking trip in the UP in late August or early September. However, due to work issues, it was suddenly pushed up to late JUNE . . . should I scrap the trip or risk being eaten alive by black flies? Are there better places to go within the UP to avoid the bugs? Thanks! - Meg, Chicago
Wow, that's a tough one. You're right; June is the worst month for the nearly invisible little critters.
But it's not the only time they come out. Two years ago, in late July, we were staying at the Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B near Marquette, and the flies were so bad you couldn't be outside. They can hatch and fly around for a day or two any time conditions are right, such as when there's a lot of moisture in the air and no breeze.
So I'd say, don't let them ruin your vacation. I did the Circle Tour of Lake Superior for the first time in late June, and I was bothered a little in Copper Harbor, while playing tennis, and once while taking in the view on Brockway Mountain Drive. That was it.
Bring a head net just in case the flies are bad, and try to hike where there's a breeze. The clifftop trail in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore would be a good bet; we hiked that in late July, partly in deep woods, and weren't even bothered by mosquitos.
For more, see Michigan's Pictured Rocks.