I promised a camping story and now I will tell it to you. First I need to tell you about our camp set up. It was a long narrow campsite. We set up our sleeping tent in the back of the site farthest from the road then our dining fly across from the fire pit and finally our vehicle sat in the camp driveway.
So to fill in the rest of this picture the fire pit is behind me (acting photographer) and the vehicle is to my right, D's left.
Do you have a mental picture of the site? Feel free to fake it if you don't. Anyways we leave the site to go out to dinner because D was brilliant and thought camp set up would take a bit out of us. We did not cook at the site the first night.
We head off to bed but have some issues with the tent being on a slight incline, D felt he was rolling out of bed and I felt I was following him. So after changing the mattress orientation we start to dose off. I was awakened by a pickup stopping at the site's driveway. Since it was early in the season we had the loop to ourselves. The pickup drove on and I went back to sleep, sort of.
I wake up to the sound of rustling in our dining fly, like it is being searched. My heart starts racing because I have no idea how long it has been since the pickup stopped and this noise started. I don't know who or what is out there. I do know I no longer feel safe and happy.
At this point I try to wake D by tap, tap, tapping on him. No response. I try again with a little more urgency tap, tap tap. No response again. I try a third time, this time with all the urgency that is building inside me TAP, TAP, TAP. While I am thinking to myself Dude you gotta wake up!
D wakes up confused till he hears the noise. He knows how skittish I am, you can not live with me for 10+ years without seeing me freak out about some noise or another. He wraps an arm around me and calms me a bit. I start using a finger to stroke the back of his hand. He thinks I am trying to calm him till the intensity of my nervous energy starts to wear away his skin in one spot. His hand was my own personal worry stone, and man I was worried.
The noises are continuing, searching, searching. By now I have convinced myself that it is either a bear or an homicidal freak. D's hand is starting to get tender from all my rubbing, so he leans over and asks me if I want to go to the car. Heck yeah I want to go to the car! The problem is we have to pass by the danger zone to get there. What to do? What to do?
Finally I decide the car is better than our current situation in the tent. As long as I take the keys with me I can drive away. We quietly put on our shoes in preparation to make a run for it. I ask one last time Are we doing this?. When the answer is affirmative from D, the zipper goes down and I start moving. I don't think either shoe made it out of the tent but I was not stopping. (You will be happy to know that I had keys in one hand and Dozer the stuffed horse in the other. I'm not leaving him behind for a bear to get!) I may or may not have been in the car before D made it out of the tent. The timing is a bit fuzzy on this.
When I'm sure D had made it to the car I hit the locks and the lights to see what we can see. Nothing! No eyes, no movement, nothing. The material on the dining fly reflects a lot of light but still?
So there we were laughing in the car at 3 am. We sat and talked till the dawn. It was a bit like high school, sitting in a dark car talking in the driveway.
When dawn came we took a bathroom break and went back to sleep in the tent. Only to be awakened by more scurrying noises. Well it turns out I am not quite as afraid in the day light (No bears in the daylight), I get up to investigate the noise. I see something behind the dining fly that I am pretty sure was not there the night before. It was a plastic bag with a dice game, a couple of batteries, a gnawed on glasses case and a couple of ripped open packages of Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix.
Who can turn down Swiss Miss? How did we miss putting that away the night before? Crap!
So we had visitors checking our clean up work each night after that. We also added a new prayer to our nighttime routine. We're now calling it the bear prayer, it went like this, Thank you Lord for this wonderful trip but we ask you for no bears! Amen
We think the visitors were raccoons and not bears. One even wiped his paws on the towel we left out for him.
Camping it is always interesting.