I Dare You To Eat a Bacon-Wrapped Cicada
This is a guest post from our great friend Scott Moore. Scott is a Military Veteran and currently lives a life of environmental and conservation work. He dedicates his time learning about nature and how to improve his surroundings.
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 conservation work collecting BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land inventory data and potential wilderness characteristics for public lands surrounding the majestic Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area in northern Nevada.
Collecting From The Wilderness
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…it’s 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.
It's Always Better With Bacon!
Soon afterward and just down the road, we find a suitable campsite for the night and return our attention to hunger. I volunteer to undertake the first sample of our new found 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 kebab’. 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.
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 and our public lands. We were thankful for the opportunity of solitude and freedom provided within these lands, thankful for the opportunity to help protect these lands and thankful for the abundance of nature that thrives therein. Thankful for this free treat that is wilderness and all of the experiences it provides… along with some other treats, much more tame in nature.
Would you eat a bacon-wrapped cicada? Whatever your answer may be, consider trying something new today. Perhaps go exploring in the wilderness and make discoveries you never had before. Perhaps you can explore a proverbial wilderness by immersing yourself in another culture.
Life is full of unspoken opportunities, large and small. Dare yourself to be adventurous (safely) and introduce yourself to the unfamiliar. You’re likely to learn something new about yourself and the vast world we live in, and you just might end up having a good time doing it.
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