Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stinky Neighbors


True Hikers
While I understand that not everyone, or everything, can smell like a new baby, there are some neighbors who possess a certain…um…aroma, for lack of a better word, that defies the neighborly protocol…even when camping. 

 We were camping at another primitive campground in the Peaks of Otter area of Virginia without electric and water hook-ups.  The children were beginning to enjoy this type of camping, with different park ranger programs and fishing available each night. 

After an arduous day of hiking in Blue Ridge Mountain muck, a hot meal that took too long to prepare, clean-up that took even longer, a campfire that resembled a solar flare, and way too many S’mores consumed, the family was ready for bed.

 As the stories died down and we all snuggled into our sleeping bags, the battery lamp was turned off in the camper.  A hush finally fell over our camper.  But not for long.  A small but potent visitor decided to stop by. 

Of course, I heard the rustling first.  I thought one of the children was stumbling around the trailer, but then I realized that the noise came from outside.  I unzipped the canvas window and tried to peer into the darkness that enveloped us.  Something was rustling around out there, but I wasn’t going to find out.  So I woke my husband and told him to go see what it was. 

 “Are you crazy?”  He asked wearily.

Yes, I was.  Never venture out into the darkness when you hear something rustling around your campsite.  Pray that it just leaves.

 But then we noticed a distinct odor coming from outside our camper. 
“I think it’s a skunk,” I told my groggy husband. 
“It’s the sneakers,” he grumbled.  “We should have put them at the next campsite.”
I shook my head.  “No, this is different.  It’s a skunk,” I said.  “Where’s the flashlight?”
 
Again came the “Are you crazy?”  But he’s correct.  It’s a good thing the children and I camp with him.  You do not want to startle a skunk.  It has long-living, nasty consequences.   However, now my husband was fully awake.  We peered into the darkness together, hoping the stinky little critter would move on.  We had disposed of our nightly trash before we came into the camper.  We knew that the skunk could not climb the step and venture inside the camper or roar, growl, or otherwise make a sound to disturb the children.  He just nosed around our campsite, finding nothing but ashes and smelly sneakers.  [Poor thing!]

 And then the giggles started, but this time they came from my husband.

“And what is so funny?”  I whispered to my husband.

“Did you ever stop to think how much tomato juice it would take to rid the camper, the car, the camping gear, clothing, and all the children and us of skunk stench?”  And then he chuckled some more.

 And then I chuckled as an image of my husband driving the van, dragging the trailer behind, with all our camping gear into an in-ground pool full of tomato juice.  We giggled all night long coming up with different scenarios on how to rid ourselves—and all our possessions—of the odoriferous skunk smell.   
 
We didn’t know at the time, that tomato juice just masks the smell of skunk.  To learn a real tip on how to rid yourself, your pets, or possessions of skunk spray, read this post on Animal Planet’s website.

In our case in Virginia, the skunk finally tired of rummaging through our campsite, finding nothing to eat, and left…leaving the smelly sneakers behind.  Who knows, perhaps it was those very stinky sneakers that called to him in the first place.