Summer is in full swing and unfortunately this year we won’t be planning any big trips. Just our usual camping and fishing trips. I have camped and fished my whole life. The many weeks I spent doing this activity as a kid are among my biggest and best memories of growing up. Now as an adult, it really is my favorite pastime. There is just nothing more relaxing than to be the only human for miles, listening to the wind in the trees, cooking over an open fire, heavenly.
I know that for many people this just isn’t their cup of tea. Bugs, wild animals, creepy forests, the feeling of isolation, and the all the rest. I admit that on occasion I’ve been a little nervous for some of those reasons. I’ll even go so far as agreeing that nature can be dangerous.
I grew up in Alberta, Canada. They have bears there, lots of bears. We have had several close calls with them, like the time a mama bear came sniffing around our campsite, including the tent we were sleeping in. The sun was just rising and we watched her shadow lumber past followed by two little cubs. One of our party had a pick-up and camper, she went around to their rig and placed her paws on the hood, stretched up and tried to peek in the upper bunk bed window. That’s how big she was. When the coast was clear we ran to the cars, luckily she wasn’t interested in us.
We’ve had a pack of coyotes so close to our camp you could just make out their silhouettes as they ran around us just outside the light of the campfire. That was a little worrisome, healthy coyotes are usually too afraid of humans to get that close.
I’ve heard weird sounds in the woods that I was never able to identify. I’ve had the occasional feeling of being watched, but I usually chalk that up to mountain lions. I’ve even had the fleeting thought of an ax-wielding maniac stumbling into our camp with help many miles away. So I can relate to why some people would rather scrub outhouses with toothbrushes than go camping. But even with those problems, I absolutely love it.
Maybe you are one of those people who are not at all frightened by the woods and seek a more extreme experience. Ghost stories around the camp fire are all well and good but not nearly enough for you? I ran across an article that may provide the answer. Out in California, on the Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, there will be a wilderness camp that is geared for the more adventurous camper.
As far as I know, this is a first, “The Great Horror Campout” will be held in July. You get to watch horror movies, roast marshmallows, and choose to hang in a less scary area or go all out in an interactive game. The game involves “scare actors” and very spooky challenges. Don’t worry you can make it all go away by saying: I want my mommy! It sounds like fun. I won’t be able to go but if you go, come back and tell us about it! I could see franchise opportunities here.
Pretend scares still not good enough for you? Read Missing 411 by David Paulides before you enter the woods. He discusses mysterious and weird disappearances of people from National Forests. Some of the stories are so disturbing that you won’t want to let anyone from your group out of your sight. You may even think twice about visiting the woods yourself.
I’ll be lurking out there in the woods this summer, just like every summer. Happy trails to everyone who is going on vacation and remember, Never Turn Off the Lights. However, that could be difficult if you are camping because your flashlight battery will die and you will be left in the dark and who knows what may be lurking with you.