Would you eat a bacon-wrapped cicada?

Our talented field inventory crews spend their summer collecting GPS way points, photographs, and of course stories from the back country.  We are grateful to Scott Moore for sharing his story about inventorying & dining in Massacre Rim WSA here.

Bacon

By Scott Moore

As my stomach begins sending me signals of a slight growl, I begin to wonder… “Will this small can of beans, a handful of trail mix and a juicy clementine be enough to tame this hunger for the night?” My colleague and I are finishing our fifth and final day of collecting BLM inventory data and potential wilderness characteristics for public lands surrounding the majestic Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area. Exploring these remote and alluring lands has been laborious, in the most rewarding sense, and we are looking for a place to rest and make camp for the night. As we skirt our way around the southwest corner of Massacre Lake, our path becomes enveloped with healthy patches of high sagebrush. Instantly, the previous and long-running silence is replaced by a ringing collage of clicks and chatters… the song of the cicada. They’ve arisen from the ground for the summer and are seeking a mate. Millions of them. As we look closely, we spot dozens of these critters perched in every stand of sagebrush among the sea that surrounds us. Aware that these insects are not poisonous, and even used for food in other parts of the world, I ask my partner, “Have you eaten one before?” “No”, he replies. We share a brief exchange of adventurous grins and quickly get to work, meticulously by hand, collecting one by one. After 15 minutes of cheerful procurement, we are satisfied with our cache.

Soon afterward and just down the road, we find a suitable campsite for the night and return our attention to hunger. IMG_1439.JPGI volunteer to undertake the first sample of our newfound cuisine. I try a bite. It has a cracker crunch on the outside with the texture of an avocado inside. As I lend a dose of supportive reassurance, my colleague braves a taste also. “Not bad”, he says. Not bad at all for an abundant and free source of protein. We delightfully finish our first raw serving. We then begin to prepare some more for roasting over the campfire with two small strands of barbed-wire we found nearby, and essentially create a ‘cicada kebob’. Fascinated by the progress of our experiment, we wonder how it can get any better. My colleague then bursts out, “I have bacon we can wrap these in!” Our eyes match with equal levels of epiphany. One of us replies, “I’ll fire up the stove.” Indulgence has begun.  IMG_1443.JPG

That night, as we dabbled in the succulence of our back country delicacy and watched the sun go down and the stars set in the Nevada desert, our hunger was satisfied and we felt a feeling of thankfulness. Not only did we indulge in dinner, but even more so in the gift of wilderness. We were thankful for the opportunity of solitude provided within these lands, thankful for the opportunity to protect these lands and thankful for the abundance of nature that thrives therein. Thankful for this free treat that is wilderness and all that it provides… Along with some other treats, much more tame in nature.

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