(or things that go bump in the night)

The FIRE!!!!   Me tending to the fire at night, the best part of camping!!!   Racoon, he gets your pots and pans
As everyone who camps knows, night can be very cool and fun around the campfire. Stories are told during a night in the woods, and new experiences create new tales for the future. All of us who have slept in a shelter or a tent have had some common experiences, and some have had some uncommon ones (including me with my brothers).
Mouse, he gets his friends...
Has anyone arrived at a shelter after dark, and no human was there?  The permanent residents will surprise you if you have a flashlight by your eyes when you go in.  There will be lots of eyes looking back!

Of course the best time to have a storm is after you get to the shelter. If you are that lucky. It is nice to get there and put out your wet stuff to dry. We have pictures of shelters with clothes everywhere the day after a storm. Everyone trying to dry out!! With all this fun, why not sell tickets! Lightning, we all go for cover

The deer are easy to see in the early morning and in the early evening when you are at the shelter. I like to watch them near the shelter when things are quiet. I have even seen wild hogs come right through a campsite and watched four of them graze for grubs. We even got a "brush back" snort from one of the males.
Deer, neat to see in the evening calm
My most nervous moment in hiking was alone in the Cohutta Wilderness in NW Georgia.  During the summer the area is almost a continuous beautiful fern field. It is amazing. I was hiking back to the car after a trail work day with my fire rake and pulaski axe. I heard something to my right -- it was a good sized wild boar   He was just grazing on ferns about 100 feet up on a rise, but he knew I was there.  I started to keep moving, sort of watching him, then I heard a hiss on the trail ahead of me.  I looked down at a timber rattlesnake about ten feet away,  hissing and tightly coiled.  He never rattled his rattle. I carried a pistol that day (I have full permits), and I got it out. I then tried to push the snake with my fire rake to get it moving. It did not. The boar just keeps feeding on the ferns. I even tried to throw rocks at the snake to get it off the trail but it would not move. I was afraid of making too much commotion because I did not want to get charged by the boar. I know that rattlesnakes sometimes travel in pairs. I took my fire rake and began to push the ferns aside and started moving off the trail downhill (slowly AWAY from the boar). I gave the snake about a ten foot swing around. Looking back.......I should have shot the snake and scared the boar away. It was late, and I was the last person on the trail. But I have always regretted leaving the snake on the trail.  There may have been someone else coming up after me......
Let me know what you think.

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September 1, 2000