Camping Is… for Other People

One of my most memorable camping experiences occurred about 10 years ago at a popular campground in Northern California. I recall that after my friends and I drove around for miles through a remote redwood forest, we finally found the perfect spot. We parked the car at the campsite and proceeded to unload all of our gear and food.

After a few trips to the car to unload our supplies, I noticed a seatbelt twitching back and forth in the car. When I got closer, I realized that there was a raccoon sitting in the driver’s seat. Luckily, his legs were too short to reach the gas pedal; otherwise, that could have made for quite an interesting 911 call…

Frantic Caller (Me): “Oh my God, our car was just stolen!”

911 Dispatch: “Ma’am, please calm down. Did you get a look at the person who stole it?”

Me: “Yes, but it wasn’t so much a person per se. The culprit was really fluffy and stood about a foot tall. I know this sounds crazy, but it was actually a raccoon.”

911 Dispatch: “Ma’am, let me get this straight: you’re calling to report that a raccoon stole your vehicle?”

Me: “Yes, that’s correct sir. A raccoon just sped out of here with our car and our camping supplies!”

911 Dispatch: “Ma’am, have you been drinking?”

Anyway, so there sat a raccoon in the driver’s seat of our car. My friend rushed over to the car, swung the door open, and out jumped this raccoon, running like a raccoon out of hell into the forest with half a loaf of our bread. The most mind-blowing part was that the raccoon (we’ll call him Mr. Belvedere) seemed to be civilized and have manners. Mr. Belvedere hadn’t just ripped open the bag of bread as I envisioned a savage, rabies-ridden vermin would: he actually took the time to take the twisty tie off the bag and take out individual slices of bread one by one while killing time in the car.

Later that evening, as I struggled through one of the most uncomfortable nights of sleep imaginable amongst rocks, pinecones, and creatures of the dark, I heard a rustling noise outside my tent. Heart racing, I pointed my flashlight in the direction of the noise and laid eyes on what appeared to be rascally little Mr. Belvedere. Only this time, he was sitting on top of my cooler, meticulously unwrapping slices of Kraft singles with his tiny, oddly human-like hands and fingers.

Well, at least he didn’t get the Cracker Jack’s! Um… hey, wait a minute… where are the Cracker Jack’s?! He’s lucky he’s cute, or there’d be hell to pay!

My friend tried to make the best of the situation and get me re-energized about camping, so he started telling me things like:

“You don’t see that in the city.”

“That raccoon was awesome.”

“There’s some amazing wildlife out here.”

“I like how it’s so rustic.”

Riiight. Rustic. A fancy way of saying that we voluntarily gave up wonderful modern conveniences like electricity, hot water, and toilets in order to suffocate each other with our own smells in a tiny microcosm of re-circulated air (commonly referred to as a “tent”). Also a fancy way of saying that if we didn’t slather ourselves in toxic insect repellant and lock up all our food, we would be violated and pillaged in the night by mosquitoes and the aforementioned “amazing wildlife.”

A couple years later, I must have suffered some type of brain injury, because I actually agreed to go camping again. This time, we ended up near a scenic lake infested with mosquitoes. It was so horrible, I couldn’t even pull my pants down to go to the bathroom in peace. As soon as I did, hoards of mosquitoes swarmed my butt cheeks, covering them like sprinkles on a donut. This forced me to have to multi-task (and by “multi-task,” I mean that I had to go to the bathroom and swat mosquitoes on my rear end simultaneously while trying not to pee in my shoe). It was awesome.

How nice. But, I don’t miss YOU.

If you haven’t already, y’all should try camping sometime. If you are fond of the idea of being homeless and out of your element, it’s definitely a fun way to spend a weekend… for those of you who are clearly insane.



Filed under Silva Nuggets (Random)

20 responses to “Camping Is… for Other People

  1. Mum

    LOL… raccoons are adorable! Saw a family of Mama, and 4 babies on the shores of the Colorado River last weekend in Laughlin.. Also saw a skunk! Awesome…But, was not camping.. 🙂

    • They ARE adorable! That was the only saving grace for Mr. Belvedere, because I was so mad he ate our bread and cheese! Thank God I haven’t seen any skunks. Those things stink so bad, I don’t think I could stomach the smell.

  2. Michelle Gillies

    Camping is definitely not my thing. I did go camping a few times in my late teens early 20s and was traumatized every time. I always ended up being the invisible girl because every mosquito & black fly in the place would make camp on me to the extent that you couldn’t see me for them. Everyone else would just be having a blast without one bite. I think they just asked me along as bait.

    • Ha ha, I know the feeling! I think in every camping group one person is the “designated driver” and one person is the “designated bait.” Unfortunately for both of us, we were the latter! 😦

  3. Hahaha! I do love to camp! And racoon’s are surprisingly smart! They are always watching and ready to strike when you are not looking 😉

    • You LOVE to camp?! Wow! That is impressive! What part do you love specifically? The being in nature part, the being with family away from the hustle and bustle part, or the alcohol and S’mores part? 😉

      • belleofthecarnival

        I love being in nature, wine and campfires, getting away from the hustle. The things I hate going to the bathroom at night (lurking bears), the showers, and setting up the campsite. We are considering a trailer next year…Yippee!

      • Wow, a trailer? That sure beats a tent! I think the only way I could do camping and actually enjoy it is with an RV. A big, plush one. With beds, a full bathroom, and a kitchen! 😉

      • We looked at those and I thought now that would be lovely to park by the lake for the summer. But then when you are looking at those babies a five star luxury vacation seems like it might just a little better 😉

  4. Slapping butt cheek mosquitoes is priceless! Well done–both in the slapping and the writing! HF

  5. Clearly I’m not insane. Haha. The wild seems to adore you. ;D

  6. That raccoon is rad!!! I love how meticulous he was – that kills me! If you hadn’t gone camping, you wouldn’t have this story to blog about though, so in a way, it’s a good thing! Plus, the mosquito bites are just another reason to revert back to those good-ole childhood memories of pink calomine lotion. I’m fairly sure nothing looks hotter than pink spots dabbed all over your tush. Forty percent sure, anyway

    • It was mind blowing how much like a little human that little raccoon was with regard to intelligence and actions. I was actually thinking about taking him home with me, dressing him in my clothes, and sending him to work in my place, so I could enjoy the weekend a bit longer. He may have done a better job anyway (and I could have just paid him in cheese slices). 😉

      • Yeah, but then he would get more and more greedy, soon wanting cheese slices that AREN’T individually wrapped, and then entire cheese wheels made only of the finest cheese. And then he would have gone on strike until you paid him in said cheese wheels and eventually, you would have gone broke! What a sad story that would have been. So, close call! 🙂

      • I know, you are probably right! Perhaps I should have set the bar lower to spray cheese or SPAM… Kraft singles may have been a little too ambitious! 😉

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