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  1. #1
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Default Let's hear your mouse stories!! Or skunks, or racoons or?

    Okay, I'll start it off.

    On my 1992 thru hike, at one shelter, a couple guys showed up with mouse traps just to see how many they could catch. I was on the left side against the wall and they set one right above me. About the time of darkness, and I was tired from hiking and writing, I closed my eyes to sleep. No less than 30 seconds passed....SNAP!! One of the guys let out a "WAHOO! We got the first one". Yeah, right on the trap only 2 1/2 feet above my head. They grabbed the trap and dropped the mouse into the dying emebers of the fire pit, reset the trap, placing it again above my head, and we all laid back to sleep. Less than a minute goes by....SNAP!!......SNAP!!! "WAHOO! Two more!!"

    Needless to say, the two guys quickly lost their entusiams after having to get out of their bags sevearl more times over the next 15-20 min. I stopped counting at 12 the number of mice they caught.

    During another hike on the AT, I camped near a spring. During the night, I could feel the weight of mice running up and down the length of my bag and then jumping off at my head. All I could think of was that I was the platform for the performance of their nightly held "Mouse Olympics".

    At Ice Water Spring Shelter in the Smokies, my friend Dave and I were set up next to each other. Just about the time we closed our eyes for sleep, the resident skunk Priscilla came out from under the platform, climbed up onto it and proceeded to step onto my bag while I was in it, walked its entire length, then jumped off and walked the length of Dave's bag also, then stepped off into the space between us and sniffed around for anything to eat, all the while just inches from our faces. It was all we could do to not move a muscle and freak the animal enough to spray us. I can see that look on Dave's face even now as the skunk walked by us and back onto the ground.

    So how about the rest of you? Any amusing stories to tell?

  2. #2

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    Nothing like having a mouse catapult off your head in a deep sleep, the "thrus" always instructed me to lay head facing the opening to help minimize this happening. The only sure way is to tent away from the huts but I have to admit, they're mighty inviting on cold rainy late afternoons. My most memorable night happened in Vermont some years ago, I think it was the old Peru Peak shelter. A persistent porcupine decided to "eat" the shelter just about all night, loudest thing you ever heard, rocks hardly fazed him!
    "every day's a holiday, every meal a feast"

  3. #3
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    I was awakened one night in CT to a rousing bout of raccoonication about 20' up a tree.....Lemme tell ya, ya ain't gonna sleep thru it.

    The ol' girl was getting into it, that's for sure. Couldn't decide exactly what I felt about that at first, but soon enough my question was answered when I found myself propped on one elbow laughing and whooping it up, lol.

  4. #4
    Registered User bwb49's Avatar
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    Several years ago on a section hike we were staying at the Overmountain shelter. Middle of the night I hear a scream from one of the guys in the shelter, turn on my flashlight and see him standing beside his sleeping bag. The sleeping bag is still zipped up. I asked him what happened and he said a mouse had run across his face. He had come out of his sleeping bag without unzipping it.

    We had hung our food on the "mouse proof" lines with the tin cans on the cable. The food was in garbage bags. All night we could hear the mice drop down on the garbage bags and slide off and hit the floor. I guess it was like a carnival ride for the mice.

  5. #5
    Registered User dink's Avatar
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    I was cowboy camping up near the Delaware water gap, I woke up with a skunk snuggled up against my legs...needless to say I didn't move a muscle until it decided to wander off. Never had to pee sooooo bad, for so long in my life!!!

  6. #6
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    My family used to take vacations up on a Lake in the UP Michigan. We always bought the industrial size El Milagro chip box (it was the size of a small coffee table) and snack on it. So sitting around the fire one night eating chips and my brother starts lauging at me. I thought he was just being a goof and kept eating my chips and scowling at him. This goes on for 15 minutes or more, me eatin, him grinning and giggling.

    Finally I stuff my hand in and bump something warm and furry and jump up.

    According to my brother a skunk and I were taking turns eating chips the whole time. I'd reach in, then the skunk would. Finally we both bumped into each other and scarred the crap out of each of other and the skunk took off.

    It's fine to scare the crap out of a skunk, but you never want to scare the piss out of it.

  7. #7
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    It's a good thing for many of us that skunks are among the most self-confident and least skittish of all animals.

    On a family camping trip at Big Bend National park, I woke up to something rustling through the garbage. Thinking it was ring-tailed cats (desert relatives of racoons), I got out of the tent and started trying to scare them away. Then I saw the white stripe down the back, not the ringed tails I was expecting. I froze up, the skunk slowly walked away.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
    Thoreau

  8. #8
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    We were camping at Lower Shoals Shelter on the Pinhoti one night, left a candle, cigar, and my insulated mug I'd been drinking hot choccolot from on the table. Coons ate all my cigar and most of the candle and left deep tooth marks in the mug, started to throw it away but said what the heck, just gives it personality. The wife thought they were coyotes circling and bumping into the tent but I'm sure it was the coons, she didn't sleep much, I slept great.

  9. #9

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    Had a skunk touch my cheek with it's wet nose as I sat silent and motionless cowboy camping in my sleeping bag concerned that with any quick movements I would get sprayed. I thought it would back off when it got close but it must have really liked me. It was very inquisitive.

    Had a moma skunk sniff the foot end of my sleeping bag as I sat stretched out in it cowboying motionless. Then she scampered off close by as her three cute little ones took the ridgeline trail over the top of the bottom of my sleeping bag. I didn't flinch a leg muscle. They were so cutE.

    Laid my backpack down opened on a LT shelter floor in a rainstorm. I was the only one at the shelter. In the middle of the night I awoke to some muted rustling. Didn't know where it was coming from but needed fresh headlamp batteries stored in my backpack. Reached in to get the batteries and felt something furry. Scared the crap out of me. Out crawled a baby opossum no bigger than one fist.

    As I walked away from where I was sleeping in the middle of the night to do my "biz" at Bright Angel CG in GC NP a Ringtail Cat stole a nutritional bar and a cookie. Totally silent. I saw her though. Women?

    In GSMNP on the AT I awoke to find a porcupine chewing a hole in another hiker's leather boot. I remember it well because it had been snowing out and they were once WP boots.

    In GSMNP on the Eagle Creek Tr after I had pitched camp in the rain and was cooking dinner a great Horned Owl landed in a tree less than 100 ft nearby who whooing away. Wouldn't go away. I didn't know why. But I guess the owl had a plan. As I spilled a few crumbs of food on the ground not more than 5 ft away, where I had cooked, a drenched and obviously hungry mouse came out sniffing around eating the food crumbs. I didn't even see a shadow, a blur, or anything. I heard nothing. The owl swooped down not more than 5 ft from me and snagged the mouse. I feel over backwards with my cookpot and spork in hand. Didn't spill any of the cooked food. Those owls are BIG.

  10. #10
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Yeah, I can relate with the ring tail cats at Phantom ranch at the bottom of the canyon. Had one come right up to so close while I was asleep that the only way I knew he was there was that when he turned away from me his long bushy tail hit me in the face. Next morning the food I'd hung up to keep away from critters was gone.

    Same thing with a hike Aravaipa Canyon, a ring tail that kept circling me all night. But didn't lose any food that time. Learned my lesson from the ranch visit.

  11. #11

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    "Same thing with a hike Aravaipa Canyon, a ring tail that kept circling me all night. But didn't lose any food that time. Learned my lesson from the ranch visit."

    That's good to know. I have my Aravaipa Canyon permit for less than 30 days away.

  12. #12
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    "Same thing with a hike Aravaipa Canyon, a ring tail that kept circling me all night. But didn't lose any food that time. Learned my lesson from the ranch visit."

    That's good to know. I have my Aravaipa Canyon permit for less than 30 days away.
    Good for you, but be warned of 2 things: 1--the road had become washed out on the west side so an additional 2 miles of walking was required. Course this was back in 1997. 2--when they say you will have to walk thru the creek for quite some distance they are not kidding. There is sections of trail, more on the east end than the west, but alot of time you will be walking in the water, ankle to thigh deep. Most of the day hikers you will pass after the first mile or so.

  13. #13
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    Spent a night at Ice Water Springs shelter in 2008. There were just two of us there, me and a friend, and because the ground around the shelter was just deep muck (and we didn't know about the tent sites just a little further up) we decided to set our tents up inside the shelter. The shelter was pretty filthy and we couldn't bring ourselves to just put down out mats and bags. Right after we crawled into our tents to sleep, I started feeling the sides of my tent being touched all over. Opened my eyes to see mice running all over the outside of my tent. It was like watching ants swarm over a piece of food.

    Another night, in my own backyard.....I had bought a new mat and decided to test it out in my tent overnight in my backyard. We had 2 acres and 1 acre was woods. I put the tent at the edge of the woods, crawled in and started to drift off to sleep. I heard something walking around in the woods and then heard it approaching my tent. It sniffed around the tent, chose a spot right by head and laid down, pushing itself as close to me as it could get. I reached out and touched it from the inside of the tent.....and it purred. It was just my kitty Pippin
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs Baggins View Post
    Spent a night at Ice Water Springs shelter in 2008. There were just two of us there, me and a friend, and because the ground around the shelter was just deep muck (and we didn't know about the tent sites just a little further up) we decided to set our tents up inside the shelter. The shelter was pretty filthy and we couldn't bring ourselves to just put down out mats and bags. Right after we crawled into our tents to sleep, I started feeling the sides of my tent being touched all over. Opened my eyes to see mice running all over the outside of my tent. It was like watching ants swarm over a piece of food.

    Another night, in my own backyard.....I had bought a new mat and decided to test it out in my tent overnight in my backyard. We had 2 acres and 1 acre was woods. I put the tent at the edge of the woods, crawled in and started to drift off to sleep. I heard something walking around in the woods and then heard it approaching my tent. It sniffed around the tent, chose a spot right by head and laid down, pushing itself as close to me as it could get. I reached out and touched it from the inside of the tent.....and it purred. It was just my kitty Pippin

    Icewater has always been rampant with meeses every time I've been there. There are usually meeses trapeezes though. Use them!

    Mrs Baggins and Pippin. Sounds like a Disney movie.

  15. #15
    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    I was sleeping in a shelter once and felt what I thought was a mouse on top of my sleeping bag and knocked it off from inside only to find a skunk rolling around in front of the bunk. I covered back up expecting a spray but nothing happened.

  16. #16

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    This thread is GREAT! Sipping on my coffee & trying not to laugh too hard. I've got nothin... But,keep um coming!

    Oh darn... looks like I missed post 1,000 for The Cleaner. Anyway, Congrats The Cleaner!!

  17. #17

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    Woke up one morning in a LT shelter with a porkiepine about to lick the salt off my nose.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  18. #18
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    In the snow in March 2010 a buddy and I had our boots filled with acorns by the mice overnight in a shelter in NC. Also woke up to a mouse eating food out of my beard in a shelter just north of Mt. Rogers!

  19. #19

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    One night at the Fontana Hilton the mice were being a bit brazen and showing themselves rather early in the evening. There happened to be a mousetrap at the shelter so we decided to put it to use and teach these uppity little bastards a lesson. Someone baited the trap with peanut butter and before we could settle in for the night, we heard the SNAP. One down. Rebaited the trap and it didn’t take long to eliminate victim #2. Well, why stop a successful endeavor? Once again the trap was baited and everyone settled down for the evening. I was half asleep when I heard a WHOMP, WHOMP, WHOMP. Sounded like a bear beating on the side of the shelter. The noise was enough to a wake up everyone and beams of lights from 12 headlamps quickly flew around the shelter looking for the source of the noise. We finally saw what was causing the commotion. A rat, I’m not talking a cute little shelter mouse, I’m talking an 10 inch (tail not included) rat had hit the trap. Well, this trap was built to kill 2 inch mice, not 10 inch rats. I think the trap might have, at best, given that sucker a concussion. One thing for sure, it definitely pissed it off. Well now we had an extremely aggravated rat running around the floor of the shelter with a mousetrap attached to some part of its body. Needless to say, but I will, there was now a bunch of now wide-eyed hikers in that shelter wondering what the hell to do next. Fortunately, one fine, fearless young lad, gathered his senses, leaped from his sleeping bag and, dressed only in a pair of tightie whities, grabbed a hiking shoe and chased that sucker around the shelter, while repeatedly raining trailrunner blows upon its head. It looked like a scene from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Eventually the rat laid motionless. I’m not sure whether it was dead or just knocked out. I'm also not sure about everyone else but, I didn’t sleep very well that night.

  20. #20

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    This is GREAT! Laughing Out Loud!

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