View Full Version : What was THAT?!

Just Jeff
08-10-2005, 01:59
Last night I slept in the backyard...wanted to test out the ThermaRest in the hammock, just to convince myself again that the underquilt is the way to go. It is.

Anyway, about 2:30am I woke up to a loud noise coming from my right, underneath the hammock and out the other side...What was THAT?!

The yard wasn't very dark so I could see pretty well...everything in shades of blue and gray. On the other side of the yard, I saw two critters trying to get through the fence. RACCOONS! They were about knee-high with their poofy tails sticking straight out, walking back and forth next to the fence, looking for a way thru. No way out...what if they feel trapped and come back my way?! No biggie...they climbed straight up, over, and straight down, headfirst. The first one climbed up, chirped to the other one*, and the second one followed.

They had chased each other from the corner of the house right under the hammock...must have passed 2" from me. Cool.

Anyone have similar stories of waking up to something cool?


*Eh...what do you call a raccoon's sound? Sounded like a chirp to me.

The General
08-10-2005, 05:53
Hey Jeff,
Last year whilst hiking the AT, I was alone one night at the Manassas Gap Shelter when I was awoken by a Racoon standing on the picnic table on his hind legs and reaching for my pack which was hung on a nail jut out of his reach. This was my first experience of Raccon as I,m from England and whislt backpacking we generaly only have to worry about Sheep and other farm livestock. He was a persitant critter and woke me up more than once that night but it was a unique experience for me, but still could not help thinking he would have made a nice hat.

08-10-2005, 07:31
one night me and a buddy stopped at the S.Wilcox shelter in Beartown St.Forest in Mass we arrived after dark so as we were setting up our stuff my buddy Jim read the log book and said hey the porcupines were comeing out every night and eating the leanto and they wrer being pretty pesky little critters at that. I was wondering what the pile of rocks and sticks was for? We decieded to pitch my tent away from the shelter, that way they wouldn't bother us. well we set-up the tent and crahed around 2:30am I hear some noise really close to our tent and it's getting louder and louder then 2 porcupines came scurring down the tree right above our tent and when they realized our tent was there they got louder. Out of all the places to set up the tent we chose this spot, what luck. We let them pass without incident but they did spend the rest of the night eating the shelter..No harm just a little lost sleep due to our new site mates.
safe adventures

08-10-2005, 07:58
One Mid Spring backapcking trip in the Adirondacks by Flowed Lands. I was the only one there (most of the winter peakbaggers were done) I was in my tent camping on about 3-4 feet of snow.

I had my backpack leaning against a tree - I woke up to a scuffling sound and unzipped my door and looked out from my sleeping bag, sweeping my light - nothing I could see. As I swept the light back, I saw my backpack "wiggle". I made a snowball and threw it at the pack and 2 reflective eyes popped up from inside the bag - It was a young raccoon. he climbed up and dropped out, knocking the backpack over and waddled away. Just then another set of eyes shone through the opening. Another young raccoon waddled out of the now prone backpack and waddled away.

Later that same night a Pine Marten doing a high wire act got into my bear bag and made off with a package of poptarts as I was throwing snowballs at him trying to get him off my bear bag hanging some 20 feet off the ground.

08-10-2005, 07:59
A friend and I had an experience of walking up to something circling our camp... all night. With fear of being disbelieved, lets just say it would have fitted nicely on this site: http://www.yowiehunters.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=754

Hammock Hanger
08-10-2005, 08:18
In FL I awoke in the middle of the night to find a hord of baby pig forging directly under my hammock and mom was just off to the side. I laid there quitely for a while and watched then fell back to sleep.

Just Jeff
08-10-2005, 10:07
In FL I awoke in the middle of the night to find a hord of baby pig forging directly under my hammock and mom was just off to the side. I laid there quitely for a while and watched then fell back to sleep.
Wow...wild pigs scare me more than bears! Never had one right under my hammock, though. I did see a family of them on the Foothills Trail, though. http://www.geocities.com/jwj32542/FTDay4.html

Good stories...keep 'em coming!

08-10-2005, 10:27
I levitataed about a foot off my hammock the night some fellow hikers trail dog ran under my hammockand bumped me awake from a deep sleep on the AT in 2003....


08-10-2005, 10:36
A pack of coyotes ran right through the campground I was staying in one night I believe it was the Zealand campground in the Ammonoosuc district. It was fairly cool, but also a little worrying as coyotes get to doing uncharacteristic things when they pack up.

08-10-2005, 11:45
We were car camping a number of years ago in Fundy National park in New Brunswick, and the racoons were coming in waves, it seemed. We had an A frame tent at the time, with a considerable space between the fly and the tent body. One wheezy breathing old fellow actually entered this space at one side of the door, and made his way all around the tent and out the other side of the door. Imagine waking up to that! I stumbled out of the tent in my long johns to see a large racoon clutching a half pint cardboard milk container in his little hands, drinking it just like you and I would. No camera of course.

Recently I was hammocking in a pretty remote site when a Barred Owl let loose right over my head just as I was dropping off to sleep. It turns out this species of owl has a number of calls at its disposal. I can guarantee that at least one of these awful screeches sounds like "the death of solo hammock hikers" - the last thing you want to wake up to.

If there any Aussies out there, they can testify that during mating seaon male Koalas (yes those cuddly looking things) make a damned weird and spooky noise at night if your are unfamiliar with the animal. And while we're speaking of things down under, a kookabarra (laughing jackass) can provide one hell of a wake up call.



08-10-2005, 12:49
My brother and I thru-hiked the Long Trail, SOBO, in August 1979. We stayed at Kid Gore Shelter where we found the register and privy encased in aluminum due to the "nightly porkie chorus lines". As we were almost asleep, we heard what sounded like a baby crying or whining, and then more of them as they trekked down the hill from behind the shelter into the front yard and sought to get into the shelter with us.

08-10-2005, 17:19
Well, I didn't wake up to something cool, but I fell asleep to something cool. This last summer I was at Russell Field Shelter in the Smokies. The shelter was full so I and another girl had to tent outside. When I went to the 'bathroom area' that evening, two deer started grazing not 20 feet from me. As I walked back to the shelter, they followed, staying about 20 feet away. After I got in my tent, they started grazing right next to it. I could hear the grass being chewed up they were that close to me.

On that same trip, I had a very strange butterfly encounter. Four deep blue butterflies would fly right in front of me as I hiked. They would break off in pairs, fly away and then back in front of me again. Then, as a foursome, they would spiral upwards, one following the next. All four would fly straight at me, eye level, then break away in pairs, flying up and over my head, one pair on the left side, one on the right. I never knew the fluttering of butterfly wings could be so loud. They repeated that pattern for a good ten to fifteen minutes. Very bizarre.