connie, that's an important warning to heed, about wild animals. anyone who's ever lived or worked around any
kind of animal, domesticated over millenia or just last week, know that they have a biting defense when scared.
ok, another coon story. you asked for it itk.
years ago one fall, i was tent camping in harriman state park in ny with an old girlfriend, at tiorati plateau. it was a short hike up a road and over a hill from the parking lot, to a few acre wooded flat, with evenly spaced tent sites.
it wasn't real camping or backpacking, so i'd always called it "gourmet" camping. because of it's proximity to the road, most people would make several trips back and forth to the car, carrying in lots of weighty gear, huge tents, cots, and coolers full of food, drinks, and other non-backpacking types of stuff.
anyway, after the sun set this one particular evening, when the matrix of campfires acros the plateau were being started, my girlfriend and i decided to hike down to the lake to wash up and carry out our garbage. i'd figured there'd be lots of little critters (mice, squirrels, chipmunks, racoons, etc.) poking around each of the campsites all night when the fires died down.
over thr ridge on the path down to the lake, when we'd gotten away from the ambient light of the fires and lanterns and it had turned pitch black, my girlfriend had an eerie feeling the we were being watched. grasping my hand tightly, her fear travelled through my arm, and i began to get spooked with the same feeling. each step was like walking into one of those friday the 13th movies.
suddenly, something dropped from a tree just as we passed it, and made a sickening sound of something sort of popping/craking as it hit the ground and rolled in front of us. i jumped into my girlfriend's arms as we screamed, training the flashlight on what appeared to be a bloated human skull!
she ran like the dickens back up the path, until i was able to make out that it wasn't a skull, but someone had carved a skull's likeness into a smallish-pumpkin, and that feeling of being watched was from a dozen or so racoons that were perched in the trees, awaiting their nightly assault on the campgrounds. apparently, one of the coons' scouts had stolen a pumpkin and brought it back to the troops, and us hiking past in the dark had startled him and caused him to drop his purloined pumpkin.
we laughed as i told her to put me down
, and then marvelled at all of the eyeballs in the trees glowing back at us from our flashlights.