Of all the campsites…you had to show up in mine.

Thursday, June 14 I received an offer to use someone’s campsite at a state park. Early Friday morning, the transfer was confirmed. Krissy spend most of that Friday buying camping supplies and packing our gear for a two night stay. When I got home at 4:30, there was still some packing to be done, a two and a half hour drive ahead, and a stop for supper at a food stand.

A little after 8:30 at night in the easternmost part of Maine, we pulled into our campsite and started setting up. I had a 10-man tent to set up and Krissy was going to get the food organized.

We set up well into dark and then relaxed around the campfire, slowly letting go of the stress of the day and the rest of the week. After staring at the campfire for a couple hours, Krissy got the sleeping arrangements ready while I piled the food, trash, and recycling into the car. I decided against putting the cooler in the car because it was dirty on the bottom (I didn’t want to get the inside of my car dirty) and I figured it was air-tight (that’s why the ice takes forever to melt, you know). With arrangements made, the two of us city folk went off to bed…imagining wild bears terrorizing the campground.

At 2:30 in the morning, Krissy woke me up to listen to a rather loud sound outside the tent. It was obvious that something rather large was at our cooler (a bear??). From the sounds we heard, it was obvious something was completely destroying the cooler, ripping it top from bottom and maybe even busting open the sides just to show how strong it was. We couldn’t move. Krissy didn’t want to attract the creature’s attention, but she couldn’t seem to stop whispering. We prayed for protection. For some reason, she just didn’t feel at the point in her life where she’s ready to be torn apart by a wild animal. I guess it’s a maturity thing.

I finally convinced her (quietly, of course) that we would be much safer in the car, which was actually closer to us than the cooler was. (Now I know why I parked the car right up against the tent…it didn’t make sense at the time….) I knew that when I hit the “unlock” button on my car remote, the system would beep the horn twice and the headlights would flash. I figured this would distract the creature, stun it maybe, while we made our break. Other than that my only hope would have been that it was sluggish from eating all our chicken and hamburgers, plus from its awesome display of strength immolating our cooler. Not for the first time I wondered why I didn’t have a weapon.

Krissy, not wanting to attract the beast’s attention, made sure to get out of her sleeping bag, rummage around for her glasses, scramble for her clothing, and unzip the tent…all while I’m just grabbing a flashlight in one hand and my car remote in the other. For someone who didn’t want to attract attention, she hadn’t been quite since the second she woke me up, though I had warned her that whatever was out there had better hearing and smell than it did vision. I guess that’s why we did everything except show ourselves to it while we were scared.

We somehow made it safely on our short flight from the tent to the car. Krissy hopped in the passenger seat on top of the food carrier that I had placed there (out of animals’ reach). I got in the driver’s side, started the car and turned on the headlights. Fortuitously enough, the headlights were pointing straight at our cooler…which was in the exact same place we left it and apparently undamaged. Something was out of place on the ground outside the cooler. Krissy wanted to go get advice from the park ranger, though nothing really looked out of sorts. Because nothing looked out of sorts, I wanted something to wear besides just the shorts I was in. Krissy thought I was crazy, wanting to go back for clothes when we were running for our lives, but I thought that was an empty opinion from someone who had stopped to get her clothes before we ran for our lives. I decided to take the flashlight and investigate.


I scanned the flashlight around the campsite before I went back into the tent. There was some rustling in the brush outside the site, but no creatures were visible. I went into the tent to get my wind pants and a shirt. I put them on and grabbed another flashlight to search the campsite. With a light in each hand, I looked around. Nothing moved or reflected in the woods. On the ground outside of our cooler was the Tupperware container that we had marinating chicken in. It was now empty. A couple feet way from that was the container’s cover. Then a small stick with marinade on it. Then a reusable ice bag from the cooler. That was it. Everything else was in order. Oh, the cooler latch was open. I looked inside. Something with grubby paws had rummaged around inside the cooler, but nothing else was out of sorts. Something came in, opened the cooler, took out the Tupperware, opened it up, grabbed the chicken, and walked off.

That sent us running for our lives!!?? A stupid raccoon! What else could have done such a thing? How annoying.

We knew we really wouldn’t sleep well the rest of the night, so I lit the fire and we stayed up until daybreak (seriously, it was earlier than 4 AM when it started getting light in the east near our site…4AM!). At 4, it was light enough for us to feel comfortable taking a nap. We woke up again at 6. A chipmunk was chittering outside the tent and rummaging near the cooler. I would have none of that. I opened the window and shouted at him. No chipmunk is running me off.

We napped again until 8, at which point we got up to start breakfast. Breakfast over the campfire was along affair with some portions getting cold before others had gotten hot. Such is camping life.

We knew, again, that we wouldn’t be able to sleep if we decided to spend the night there again, so we decided to spend the day and head out around dark. Unfortunately, the day was overcast. The wind coming off the water was chilly. We were pretty much overtired and miserable. Instead of pretending to enjoy the rest of the day, we packed up at 11 in the morning and drove 2.5 hours back home. We unpacked a bit, took a long, deep nap, and did actually enjoy the rest of our Saturday.

Preparation for camping: 6 hours
Drive to and from park: 5 hours
Time spend setting up/taking down: 2 hours
Amount of sleep: 6 hours, with lots of interruptions.
Total time at campsite: 14 hours

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4 Responses to Of all the campsites…you had to show up in mine.

  1. Cousin dave says:

    Camping 101.. Thou shalt not leave food outside on or near the ground. For future camping advise ask an expert camper (ahem.).

  2. Roger says:

    Yeah, I thought I had that part down. Obviously not. It’s not like I didn’t know, since I put everything but the cooler in the car…

  3. Scoob says:

    Ah, man versus nature and nature won again . . .due man’s laziness.

  4. Ah, I do seem to find the most wonderful times to come read your blog. This was wonderful!!! Lisa would totally do what Krissy did. And I would have been in my tighty-whities, flashlight and keys in hand.

    I had to read this aloud to Lisa. I laughed myself to tears in doing so. Lisa also had a good chortle over it. Thanks so much for this story!

    I don’t see you ’round the RMFO much lately. Of course, I’m only semi-regular myself.

    I hope you and yours are well.

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