What is the purpose of a gnat?!

As summer is winding down, I am reflecting on just where August went.  My husband and I took a trip to upstate New York the last week in July (I’ll save that for another post), and the next thing I knew August is almost over.  I remember coming home and getting to work finishing a client’s quilt on my longarm quilting machine, and then starting a stainglass quilt I am making for my church (check out the progress on JenniferSkinnellQuilting.facebook.com).  I remember watching a lot of Olympic coverage while working on these projects.  And somewhere in the middle of this, my husband and I met our friends in Farmville, Virginia to ride on the High Bridge Trail.

You may think this post is another cycling trip post, but not entirely.  Soon, I’ll delve into a topic that has bothered me for a very long time, especially when I’m riding my bicycle.  But first, let me tell you a little bit about our trip.

0811 High Bridge Trail 006The High Bridge Trail is approximately 31 miles end to end and the middle is located in Farmville, Virginia.  Farmville is home to Longwood University.  We stayed in the Longwood Bed and Breakfast, which used to be home to the president of the college way back.  It is a beautiful B&B and I would highly recommend it.


On Thursday afternoon the four of us took off west on the trail since that was the direction the famous High Bridge is.  We were also told this part has more shade, and it was already over 90 degrees.  We figured 15 miles out and 15 miles back each way would get us a 30 miles ride each day and worth the 4 hour drive to get there.

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The High Bridge is a 2400 feet bridge that crosses the Appomattox River and dates back to pre-Civil War days.  For more information on the High Bridge and the Trail go to: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/high-bridge-trail#general_information


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The views along the bridge are spectacular and definitely worth the trip.  There are also places along the trail to park if you would like to walk to and across the bridge.  This point was about 3-4 miles into our 15 mile ride from Farmville.


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And if you would like to look down, the Appomattox River is running below.  God’s work in our countryside at it’s best.



We continued our ride and realized that once you get to the end of the trail, it is kind of a let down.  The trail just stops at the tree-line.  No sign telling congratulating you for making it to the end.  Just trees.  So we turned around and headed back to town.

The next morning only three of us were up for the ride on the eastern length of the trail.  We started around 8:30 and it was already in the 80s.  Now, if you have read my previous blogs then you know I like to have scenery to get me through a ride.  There was a little bit more than just trees on this part, but not enough.  It was hot, muggy, and as you’ll see in a little bit, there was part of the trail that had big clouds of gnats!

I hate gnats when I go out to work in the yard, or just go out to get the mail.  But riding in clouds of them is absolutely the worst!  So as I was trying to keep them out of my mouth and eyes, I kept thinking “What is the purpose of a gnat?!”  I vowed to come home and google it.  I’m sure God put them on this earth for a reason other than to annoy me, so what was it?

Apparently, according to an article in the Washington Post, gnats are an important food source for some birds, bats and larger insects.  Seriously, can’t they eat something else?! Most gnats also only have a lifespan of 4-5 days.  And evidently there are several different types of gnats.  They are also a cousin of the also annoying mosquito.  Boy, is that a great gene pool!

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All I know is that when I’m riding my bike or walking in my yard, I do not need them hanging around.  This picture is evidence of what happens when you ride through a gnat cloud.  Their lifespan was definitely less than 4 or 5 days!  Yes, all those black flecks are gnats!  YUK!!!  I managed to keep them out of my mouth and eyes, but the rest of me was covered.

My conclusion after my research, there is no great reason to have gnat.  Especially when I google the word, an the majority of links are for ways to get rid of them, not preserve their species!


Sorry if I ruined your breakfast, but sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words!


One comment

  1. Jennifer, I always enjoy reading your your blog, and have to agree: gnats are very very disgusting. Enjoyed all the other pictures, especially the beauty of looking down upon the river. Almost made me forget the gnats. Almost.

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