Into the woods

Fritz by tent

Last weekend we went camping. Maybe its the Scots in me that causes me to think things shouldn’t be easy all the time, that everyone should have to haul water every once in a while. More likely, it’s because I grew up camping from a young age and I don’t really think of car camping as a big deal. Honestly, if you can stand to do it a few times until you get it all down, it’s really a great way to take the family on a longer vacation for little money. The trick is in getting it all down to a system, and having the right equipment — not necessarily expensive equipment, just appropriate equipment. Unnamed partner and I haven’t camped in quite a while, so perhaps embarking into the wilderness (or at least a wooded patch of ground) on the day severe weather was predicted was not wise, but where’e the challenge in camping in perfect weather, I ask you?

It turns out that my trusty tent of many years is no longer in the “waterproof” category of shelter. And since our good friend who braved the elements with us had forgotten her tent, we were quite cozy inside. Islands in the stream: me, U.P., Fritz, and friend.

I think friend will never, ever forget her tent again.

Saturday night it was down to 3 of us, friend having another commitment. The weather was delightful and clear, and although the campground was more crowded than the night before (threats of tornadoes will do that, I suppose), it was a peaceful evening. Peaceful mostly because at almost exactly the 10pm quiet hour, we heard this:

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/sounds/Owl_EasternScreech_Whinny.mp3

Which tends to make everyone shut up for a moment. And they then go to bed. Even the family across the road who sat around the campfire telling ghost stories once it got dark. I can’t imagine what the kids thought of that screech owl, but what a perfect end to a night of ghost stories.

I was awake at dawn, being an early riser for most of the week. So I had to chuckle when Fritz’s head popped up at this sound:

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/sounds/Owl_Barred_Monkey.mp3

He kind of looked over at me, as if to say “You heard that, right?”  Well, I’ve never heard a Barred Owl make that sound, and so I had to look it up to identify it for sure.

All of this only about an hour out of civilization, along the Chesapeake Bay. I’m shopping for a new tent, Unnamed Partner is looking for deals on cabins. Fritz seems ready for another trip, as long as we pack his foam bed, a fresh supply of Rimadyl, and peanut butter. There must be peanut butter.

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5 comments

    1. You don’t have screech owls up north? I’m surprised to hear that. The second call was new to me, and I had to do some research to find it. I’ve only heard barred owls do the “hoo hoo hoo” call.

  1. There is nothing spookier sounding than a Screech Owl! They have them here in NJ, have heard them at night now and then. The Barred owl we hear all the time up at the cabin – the first time I heard it I thought it was a monkey or a dog! They sure make a variety of unusual sounds!

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