Let me preface this post with this- I am not what you would call a camper. Until recently I had not been camping since that one time in third grade...I spent ONE night in Big Sur with my mother who is decidedly not a camper (or the outdoorsy sort for that matter).
So when some friends asked if we would like to join them for the weekend at a near by campground on the beach I jumped at the chance. My kids, 9 and 6, had never been camping outside of our back yard and I thought it high time they experienced it. Since my husband likes to prep for these experiences (and the zombie apocalypse) so we have been ready for this camping trip for years. In my garage there is the giant tent that has been used once (in the backyard excursion previously mentioned- where my husband refused to spend the night! There I was with a bunch of kids, listening to crickets and snoring while he was in our comfy bed!), coolers galore, never used sleeping bags, tarps and lanterns. My man has wonderful intentions but for some reason or another it is never the right time to go. Well now was the right time!
We got to the camp ground after work so we ended up erecting the tent in the dark. Smores were made and devoured, the kids had a blast trying to light themselves on fire and playing tag in the dark. When it was time for bed however things got a little dicey. Nature sounds much more sinister in the black of night... the hoot of an owl become foreboding and the rustling of nighttime creatures foretells the sudden attack of big foot. Luckily mommy was willing to stay up singing lullabies while daddy ran away with Lunesta. Everything was hunkey-dorey right up until 2am. I was awoken by my bladder and the sounds of what I knew must be raccoons having a party outside the tent. Unfortunately for me I had left the dog food in a bowl outside. Those raccoons thought they had hit the jackpot. There were so many of them they must have gotten on their little raccoon radio and alerted the whole damn tribe! "Dog food campsite 6, I repeat we have dog food campsite 6!"
I stumbled out of the tent with every intention of chasing the raccoons away only to discover they were in no mood for me. As I flipped on my flashlight I was confronted with at least 10 raccoons of various sizes. They brought the whole damn family. It was a gang of raccoons. Those giant rats gave me looks of disdain as I shooed them away from the bins holding our supplies. They looked at me and I swear I could hear them saying "What you got homey?! We aint scared of you!"
What they did respect was the kindling that I started throwing at them. They took to the trees and disappeared from view. Great, I thought to myself! But as I wandered around searching for a place to cop a squat (yes, I am that girl who is going to pee in the woods rather than walk the half mile to the public restroom...have you seen Friday the 13th? Movies have taught me nothing if not that camp grounds are teeming with supernatural serial killers just waiting to take me out!) I could still hear those damn raccoons all around me. They were hidden in the trees like the freaking Viet Kong! Chirping away at me, and I was convinced, just waiting to bite the first glimpse of white bo-hinney they saw. After much wandering around the tent and not being able to escape the raccoons circle of death I stuck my head into the tent and told my husband that I was going to risk the serial killer that was surely lurking near the public restroom rather than get bit on the ass by a raccoon and that if I wasn't back in ten minutes to call the police. He grunted and rolled over.
Somehow I managed not to be dismembered in the bathroom and was feeling quite brave as I walked back to our campsite, flashlight held at the level of my eye ready for a fight. As I got closer to the tent I noticed strange lights flashing through the trees and like any rational human being immediately assumed that there was an alien abduction occurring. What I stumbled upon was much stranger. As I came into the clearing there were 2 small raccoons holding on to the light up hoola hoops the kids had brought. These raccoons were having a blast rolling around, lighting those darn things up. Had there been music it would have been a complete raccoon rave. Needless to say that the next night all the supplies were locked in the car, including the hoola hoops. I made sure to pee before bed and found some ear plugs to battle against further noises of raccoons partying. Our weekend of hiking, exploring, eating charred food, and being generally covered with dirt, was great and I would do it again...well, maybe a little closer to the bathroom and a little further away from Club Raccoon.