Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Do you know who left foot prints all over our picnic table at the Salt Creek campground?

Here's the story. It was our first night at the Salt Creek Campground. We were calmly gathered around the fire, waiting for supper to be ready, when a visitor boldly crept into our camp. It was still daylight, so we could see him clearly. He was clearly not afraid. His intentional stride did not slow even when I stood up in surprise to see him coming toward us. Everyone was surprised and explanations broke out on all sides behind me for there, only five feet in front of me was a very large raccoon, intent on finding an evening meal.
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He stood still and stared at me even when I started to move toward him, and only backed away when I got very close to him. I knew then, that any food that was not secured in camp was in danger, not from big dangerous bears, but small masked bandits. That night we took extra efforts to make sure it was very difficult to get to our food. The ice chest and food boxes were secured with many bungy cords. I have heard raccoons are very cunning, and their paws nimble. I went to sleep that night wondering how many friends that raccoon had, and what our campsite would look like in the morning.

The food boxes were still secure in the morning, with no evidence of chewing. But the yellow table cloth was covered with dozens of distinctive muddy footprints. They looked just like the ones on this web page that has more information about raccoon tracks. If there had been food left out, it would have been devoured. Thankfully that fellow had given us a warning visit, the evening before, because otherwise I would have not been as careful. As it was, they seemed so used to humans and campsites, that I'm sure they found something to eat that night and every night. The campground belonged to them. And to them we left it.

The kids named him Footprints.

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1 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

Pamela said...

One night when we took our kids camping I woke in the wee hours to go find the potty.

I took my dog.

It was still dark - when suddenly this creature stood up in front of me and the dog. Of course it was racoon, but it looked like a little man at first and I nearly jumped out of my pajamas.