Campfire Tales: Mr. Raccoon Has His Day (Conclusion)

Hey Gang!

(Continued from Previous)

Sleep was hard. I had gotten taller since I last camped, which meant my torso was completely exposed. This caused a problem as a snap cold front came through and it dipped down into the low 30s. I was freezing. I put on all of my clothes and my hoodie, yet I still shivered. I used my hiking backpack as a pillow and shivered the whole night. I woke up with the sun around 5:30. I had to pee but it was about 10 degrees colder outside than in my tent. I did what any good man would do, got on my knees and urinated out the door of my tent. Not glamorous but it worked.

We had to move our tents the next day as we had accidentally camped at the wrong site. This other campsite was close to the old one but in a less glamorous area that was downhill. We repeated the steps and night came again. Chad regaled us of why we should fear the night and I listened to that voice in my head that grew. It screamed, “You will be eaten!”

I literally jumped into my tent, zipped it fast, and breathed a sigh of relief. Obviously, a creature could not penetrate a zipped tent door nor the material. I hear the laughter from a campsite near and it kept me sedated. I played a game on my cellphone until I fell asleep. I had come to realize that my imagination was just playing with me. Life is a lot more than silly stories.

I AM AWAKE.

I heard something outside my tent. It cracks as it moves around me. It moves to the front of me and begins hitting my tent’s door. Bigfoot. He is here. I stayed silent. The great beast moved on from me and began rummaging through the make-shift, all-in-one kitchen we erected. I knew if I moved, I would be killed.

“Hey, get outta there,” Chad yelled from outside my tent. “Why you little son of bitch!” I hear as his tent unzips. The beast scurries away with a clang. Chad zips his tent up and I fade back to sleep after a long silence.

I found out what happened the next day. An even bigger raccoon had made its way through our camp, tipped over our psuedokitchen, and tore apart our trash. It was like a terrible horror movie when the monster turns out to be a cute-looking fuzzy bandit. What was better was on my tent’s door I found….muddy claw prints….dun-dun-DUHHHHHH!

The next day I woke up early and essentially did the same thing the raccoon did to me to Juan. I pawed at his tent and he punched at the air. This went on for longer than I care to admit. We went home and the sun set on our adventure. I am not sure there is a moral here or but there is a lesson: My imagination scares me more than nature. Which is also scary.

Here’s to my next camping trip and yours!

-Chris

Campfire Tales: Mr. Raccoon Has His Day

Hey Gang!

I decided to go with some friends to this beautiful campground close by last year. We drove the 30 minutes or so to the lake where our campsite was. The trek to the location was somewhat far in, about a quarter of a mile. This made it quite difficult to lug all of the equipment to the campsite. I am very much a minimalist. I enjoy having a tent, a sleeping bag, matches, a hatchet, and gumption. All of which failed me, but I will get there later.

My friend brings a multi-tool furniture contraption that is a sink, a stove, a wrack for dishes, and a waste disposal. This, as you can imagine, weighed a ton. It took us around 30 minutes to get everything set up. I put my tent together in no time, situating it near the clearing facing the water. It was beautiful and blue, shimmering with the setting sun. I wanted to watch it each morning as the yellow rays crept over the gentle ebb and flow of the water’s motion.

Chad puts his tent up rather quickly. It is a one-man tent. He has all the bells and whistles: sleeping bag, inflatable mattress, in-tent warmer, three fleece blankets, and three pillows.

“Nice hotel,” I scoffed.

I am man! I went to the woods to chop wood and fish. To scour the land and rough it. The thought of having “amenities” was deplorable. Plus, why the heck would someone need three blankets when it is 80 degrees out?

Juan was unfortunate enough to not have a tent. Chad gave Juan his spare tent, which turned out to look more like a coffin. It was only suitable for lying down. Seven feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet high. Perfect for sleeping or practicing being dead, your decision. He put his up with some help and we decided to wander. The day was filled with amazingly uneventfulness. The wood gathered was from a bin near the front for 10 dollars a cord. Most of the time was passed by sitting in silence as the trees swayed and the sounds of nature surrounded us. Nature is beautiful and I love being in it, however, being in a hot forest while bored is not conducive. I walked down some trails, which led to other people’s campsite. We saw each other and the immediate response was, “What the hell are you doing in my woods?” I have no idea why but it feels instinctual to stake claim in wooded areas. “This is my area, that is yours. Keep it that way!”

I eventually find some downed trees and take a stick. You guessed it! Carved wood. I tried to make a spear for fishing. It just sounded right. In the woods, I could only imagine a bigfoot coming out and killing me. Irrational, I know. I admit, I have a flair for looking into paranormal stuff and cryptozoology. Urban legends, folklore, and cyberlore are my favorites as well! (Maybe I should post a few of my favorites…) So, I became obsessed with the fear of possibly seeing a mythical beast. I mean there have been sightings in the area…in the 70s. On top of that, Chad would give little quips about “creepers.” Those people who surprise you or you catch watching you. Basically, a boogeyman in real life. I already have an overactive imagination and had just started reading stuff about the dark net. Not conducive to being in a tent alone.

Night comes and I have freaked myself out. We look up at the stars and they are amazing. Massive out in the woods. I enjoy it but I hear those sounds of the night. Wood creaking and people at campsites in the distance. Guitar carries across the water where a lantern glows. A sound cracks from behind us and we walk over to investigate. Nothing. We go back to the table and talk about nothingness. Another pop followed by thrashing of paper. We shine a light and see a raccoon as big as a medium-sized dog shredding through Juan’s tortilla chips bag. Its eyes glistened a greenish white.

“Hey! Get the hell outta there!” Chad screamed into the night and the little booger ran away. We laughed about it for a while and made sure to secure our food before heading to sleep.

(To be concluded…)