Monday, June 15, 2015

Ain't nobody here but us chickens

Upper Rush Creek is a somewhat neglected Forest Service campground north of Adin, California. The water has been turned off and garbage collection has been suspended. At least there was still a bit of toilet paper in the outhouse (which some insects and mice had made home). But it was free.

It’s sort of a chicken-egg situation, I suppose. Forest Service resources probably go toward maintaining campgrounds that get more use, and campgrounds that aren’t a maintenance priority become less appealing and less used.

That means I had the place completely to myself. Just me and nature. And my thoughts.

Um, yeah. My thoughts. That’s where the trouble starts.

See, when I’m totally alone I start to creep myself out imagining what bad things might happen. What if one of the big trees fell on the Rolling Steel Tent while I slept? Are there cougars around here? What’s that noise? What if some drunk and/or criminally-minded locals come around to mess with me? What is that noise?

It doesn’t help when I step outside to pee and it’s bottom-of-the-mine-shaft-with-a-sack-over-your-head dark. Absolutely no light except some stars peeking through the treetops. I can’t see anything, like, for instance, a cougar ready to leap on me and rip my throat out.

So, even though I knew I was being mostly irrational, I packed up and drove a couple of miles down to Lower Rush Creek campground. There were other people there. Even though I would never talk to them, it was comforting to have them around. And to have other potential victims for the cougar.

It's a bit of a paradox for introverts like me. I'm fine being alone, just not too alone.

Hello?... Hello?...


  1. Hilarious! I have so totally felt like that!

  2. Maybe that's why I liked going to the desert near Quartzite when the tent show was not happening. Neighbors aren't so close you have to interact with them but they are there. I remember thinking once I could probably walk was far as a distant neighbor if I needed help.

  3. Hilarious, absolutely hilarious, I would feel exactly the same way in your situation !!

  4. Now don't freak out but....what if the criminally minded are the people IN the more populated campground? You know, the ones set up and waitin' for city boys to come out to the woods? LOL

    I find I like it when I am totally alone...though I did drive away quick when I heard two gunshots while I was alone in one FS campground early in the season in central NM.

    But you do have some protections, I'm sure. Like wasp spray, a knife (I think Suanne uses a hatchet), etc. And my personal favorite is my air horn...a manually operated one. It worked great when an elk decides to rub on my spare tire mount at midnight and to shoo away cows. Have an air horn in hand when you go out into the dark and it should frighten away most anything making noise in the bushes. Also, cougars are normally shy of coming near anything larger than they are...they might chase down a running child but it would be very, very rare for one to attack a man.

    My two cents anyway. Civilization scares me more than the woods. LOL

    1. In case of actual, serious trouble, I have a pistol.

  5. Okay. I had to come back and eat some of my words from my earlier post. I was just reading a post by Nana4Twins on the CheapRVLiving forum. She's a camp host in Sequoia (I think it is). She says some Forest Service folks at a nearby campground have observed some very odd behavior in some animals -- including 3 mountain lions hunting as a pack. I already knew there are many more sightings in urban areas in the last decade as we pave over their hunting grounds.

    Another thought for you regarding avoiding going outside at night. Many of us women do not venture out much at night -- that is what a large liquid laundry detergent bottle is for.

  6. Well this is pretty close to the conversation I had with myself a few days ago when looking for a camp. Found just the right amount of neighbors just the right distance away to tempt the lions and tigers and bears.