Into the “Wild”

Last weekend I took the kids camping at Kanopolis Lake. We stuffed the car full of supplies, food, and plans for a great time.

What’s that, Joseph? You heard raccoons over there? So did I, Joseph. All. Night. Long.

After we set up the tent and aired up the mattress (no way would I be able to sleep on the ground for two nights!) everyone ventured down to the water for an hour or so to cool off. Things were going well, and after it got dark we settled down to go to sleep.

I had placed our food in the tent and all the trash was hanging up, and we arranged sleeping places which ended with everyone on the air mattress. Unfortunately, our 10-person tent had a slight flaw from years of use: the bottom zipper didn’t completely zip up.

It was pretty cool outside from the previous night’s rain so we cuddled up under the blanket and tried to go to sleep. Commence the gathering of the critters.

Raccoons in a tree.

Raccoons in a tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First I heard the raccoons on the picnic table. Instantly I shot them with a beam of light from my flashlight. They stood up and stared back at me until I made enough noise, causing them to scoot off into the woods only 20 yards away. Those quiet little scavengers finally had me convinced that I could live with them clawing away at the trash as long as they left me alone. I. Was. Wrong.

The next stealth attack involved momma raccoon sticking 20120731-104006.jpgher little paw into the tent and almost grabbing the marshmallows near the broken flap. I very calmly screamed my head off, chased the family of raccoons with my flashlight, moved the food away from the front of the tent, and barricaded the opening with bags. This worked for an hour until I heard a bark next to my head outside the tent. The third attack ended the same as the first two, but it wouldn’t be the last. Did you know raccoons could bark?

The final attack came from the opposite side of the tent when the hungry gal woke me up by trying to scratch her way in through the thin barrier between the wild and civilization. My flashlight shined right into her eyes as she was stretched, looking through the thin veil of mesh at the top of the tent.

20120731-104000.jpg

So I didn’t get a lot of sleep the first night. We used the next day to visit Mushroom20120731-103955.jpg Rock State Park and lots of swimming. Since there is a burn ban in pretty much the entire state of Kansas, we had sandwiches and cookies and a few ants that probably snuck into our lunch.

A friend of mine showed up in the afternoon with her kids and an exchange student from Japan. They all played in the water and sand for hours until it was time to eat before watching a movie at a nearby drive-in. Of course, we knew we would have to walk back to camp since the gates to the park closed at 11 p.m.20120731-103949.jpg We would have to park at a nearby swimming beach and walk about a quarter mile to our tents.

The movie was fun (everyone should experience a drive-in) and all was tired. After trying to bed down once again–this time with the food in the trunk–it started to rain. Our tent was water proof, but my friend’s tent was a little too small for her older kids and her, and super hot. They decided to head out before the sky opened up and I helped them pull their tent down. Unfortunately, they had to walk their stuff to their car.

Thankfully the rain cooled the night enough for us to sleep comfortably. The next morning I woke up at 6 a.m. to get the car and I encountered the beauty of nature.

20120731-104012.jpgOver all, it was a great weekend and I want to do it again some time. I will be more prepared by placing the food in the trunk or ice chest and hopefully we can build a camp fire. Nothing makes camping complete like s’mores. (Which we didn’t make over a small yet illegal five-minute fire to toast a few marshmallows.) We played so hard, the kids were ready to go home by noon on Sunday. And thank goodness, they slept the entire way.

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One thought on “Into the “Wild”

  1. I was staying at a friend’s apartment complex a while back (this was san diego, not the forest), and literally almost walked into a family of like 15 raccoons. It was night, and late. I was tired and just wanted to sleep. Then I noticed a lot of raccoons on their hind legs not looking happy. I walked extrememly fast in the other directions. Besides the whole rabies thing, they can beat up dogs. Scary raccoons.

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