Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In which I tell a scary camping story

Hey it's Halloween, and I just read an account given by a couple of young American guys of the fright they received while camping:
23-year-old Wil Neill of Utica and 20-year- old Tyler Kroetsch of Livonia were camping at Waterloo State Recreation Area last month, near the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail. In a message posted on the discussion website Reddit, one of the two Marine reserves wrote that they may have had an encounter with Bigfoot. According to MLive, around 2am one morning, they wrote they were awoken by footsteps that sounded as though they were 20 to 25 feet away. The duo heard what they could only describe as the most “loud, freakiest, inhuman yell, scream” or “roar” shouted at them twice. The creature then took off running in what sounded like a two-footed run.

When it was suggested that it may have a been a cougar, the Marine reserve wrote that the sounds of the impact made by the feet of the creature crashing through the woods weren’t made by something running on four feet. The screams from the animal, he said, weren’t at ground level, either, but instead coming from 5 to 7 feet above ground. The growling filled the entire forest. The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed 35 cougar sightings in the Upper Peninsula since 2008, but not one has been confirmed in that time in the Lower Peninsula.
This gives me an excuse to tell the story of the night I got frightened by a particularly loud insect while camping in South East Queensland.   (Have I told this before?  - don't think so.)

Although I was not alone at the bush campsite (in the middle of State Forest where, even then, you were not really supposed to be camping) I was in my own little tent, and woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded to me, after some speculation, very much like a shovel being scrapped along a dirt surface.   It was quite loud, and a tad disturbing to think about why a person would be outside my tent making sounds with a shovel.  

I called out "who is it", and (if memory serves right) the sound stopped for a short time, then started up again.

No one else around the camp site said anything from their tents - which, of course, might have meant that I was the last to be bludgeoned by a shovel wielding outback maniac.  I'm sure I called out a second time, possibly to the same pause and re-start reaction. 

When calling out, I had stayed pretty still inside my tent.  I finally decided that the continuing noise was a sign that, whatever was making it, there was not intention to attack me.

I flipped around in my sleeping bag and looked outside, puzzled.  I undid the zip on my tent, and with my head now released from the sleeping bag hood, I realised that the sound was actually coming from very close to my head.

I released that it was coming from my little aluminium camping cooking kit, like one of these, only round:

which I had left virtually at the entry to my little tent.  Inside it was a large insect, the variety of which I did not know, but it was pretty big and very busy scrapping its legs over the surface, possibly eating some small amount of leftover dinner stuck to the pan.   The sound was amplified by the concave shape, towards my head, and yes, it was quite loud.   My ears had interpreted as coming from some distance away.   As it turned out, everyone else in the campsite was still alive.

In the morning, I was asked some embarrassing questions about why I had been calling out, sounding nervous, in the middle of the night.  

So there - the dark night (and bugs) can play tricks on the ear.  

[Underwhelmed?  OK, well you come up with a better "camping noises at night" story.]

1 comment:

not trampis said...

you US imperialist you