The ‘Coons

The campground was almost completely empty this weekend. Because of this, the raccoon population seeked and and pestered the few campers that were there, ourselves included.  In fact, it felt to us like we had the whole ‘coon population circling us the whole weekend.

The first interaction was Friday night.  I was in the tent getting the bed made and putting on my pajamas. I looked out the open door and saw a shadowy figure moving on the picnic table.  I called to M and he came over to chase it away. I was somewhat astonished.  In all the years I’ve been camping, I don’t remember the ‘coons being so unafraid. In fact, I can’t remember having ever ever seen one.

But this was not the end of it. M and I know what do about the coons. We knew they were looking for our food and were not interested in hurting us in anyway. We did our best to make sure all the food was in the truck at the end of the night and didn’t keep anything in the tent with us. Unfortunately, this wasn’t quite good enough.

When it rained on Saturday, we scooted ourselves, our glasses of wine and our (unhealthy) snacks into the tent. From there, we watched it pore and hail, and listened to the thunder with glee. We were safe and dry and the storm was fun!

When it stopped, we emerged, pulled our only-slightly-damp firewood from under the tarp and lit a fire. An hour or so later, in the middle of twirling a hot dog over not-quite-hot-enough coals, I head a rustle from behind us.  I turned around and shone the flashlight in the direction of the tent.  A tail stuck out of the door we had forgotten to close. We chased the ‘coon off and rescued a box of crackers it was trying to steal.  The crackers and all the other snacks immediately went into the truck and the tent was zipped after making sure no other furry creatures were camping out inside.

A few minutes later, we witnessed a territory spat, complete with growls and lashing claws. The rest of the night, when I shone the light at the pine trees that surrounded us, we saw many fat, waddling, fuzzy and cuddly looking ‘coons, circling and circling, apparently completely unafraid of us.

(Unfortunately, all this time, I didn’t think to try to get a picture of them. I would likely just have been disappoint though… M says his camera doesn’t take great night-time photos.)

When we were packing up, I discovered one of my bags was missing.  It was my work bag, a nice canvas tote my parents gave me for my birthday a couple years ago. It had been almost empty; just a banana and an apple left over from my lunch on Friday.

It had been in the tent.

It didn’t take long for it to register that the ‘coons had struck lucky from us after all. The whole weekend, we thought we were doing such a good job of keeping our food out of their clutches, just like we’re supposed to. Turns out we failed after all.  And I wanted my bag back!

It wasn’t hard to find. It was a mess when we found it, not two meters from the tent behind a group of trees. There was banana smeared all over the inside of it, and it looked like the ‘coon rubbed dirt all over it. It was covered in ants, and if it had been any other bag, I would have tossed it immediately. As it is… I love that bag. I saved it, I will wash it, and I will use it for many years to come.

My Hug a Tree bag

I guess our first camping trip can’t be perfect, right?

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