Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Barking Raccoon

Charlie – The Barking Raccoon

by: James B. Beard aka Noodin

At Monadnock State Park in the Gilson Pond Campground I set up my summer camp in the early spring. Usually as soon as the snow has gradually melted away and about two to three weeks before the campground actually opens for the public. It is a peaceful, quiet time to sit by a fire with the stillness of the forest all around. This one night I sat there enjoying the fire when I heard a barking noise. No dogs are allowed on Mt Monadnock so it was a little bit of a surprise to hear a dog barking. I listened intently and the barking continued but it didn’t quite sound like a dog. Kind of a Woof, Woof but deeper and not as high pitched and rich in sound as a dog. The sound came from down around our lower loop of the campground and seemed to be moving up the hill. The next time it barked it sounded like it was almost in my site. Then I looked toward the bathrooms in the park and saw something run across the parking lot. It was about the size of a dog but more round and furry. I could not make out for sure what it was but it looked like a very large raccoon. It continued its’ barking as it went on up the hill and then it went away. I had never heard a raccoon make a barking noise before and thought that it was a little unusual. As summer came I would periodically hear my friend, Charlie the raccoon, barking his way around the camping area at night. Now and then I would hear a scream from campsites nearby as Charlie would meander through checking out the food sources.

One evening I was asleep in my camp. It was a very warm summer evening and the campground was full. I awoke when headlights shinned into my Pop-up camper. I had all the flaps down so it was kind of like a screen room and I was lying on the bed in my shorts with no covers. The light was immense like spot lights shining in and woke me instantly. I looked out and a girl had exited the car. She was standing in front of her car lights in nothing more than very brief panties and a bra. At first I thought I was imagining this but there she was calling in asking if anyone was there. I answered her and she said she needed to talk to me and I should come out. I told her to wait a minute while I put on some clothes. By the time I came out she had grabbed some clothing from her car and stood waiting for me.

I asked her what the problem was and she explained that she and her girlfriend were sleeping in their campsite, B-2. She heard a barking sound. Both girls were in hammock tents. When she looked out with her flashlight she saw a huge raccoon on the table going through their cooler. She explained that she shined her light on the Raccoon and tried to shoo it away but it would not leave. Then she and her friend threw sticks at the Raccoon to get it to move off. The Raccoon did not run off but instead started to charge at the girls. As they ran toward their car the other girl tripped and badly smashed her knee. That girl was sitting in the car sobbing as we talked.

I asked her what she wanted to do and advised her that she should take her friend to a nearby emergency room for treatment of the injured knee. She answered that she wanted me to go down to her campsite and make the Raccoon go away. Well, over time I have learned that Charlie the barking Raccoon fears no man and I was not about to challenge him at three thirty in the morning in his own element. I told the girls to go to the emergency room and if they got back before daylight to come to my camp for the rest of the night.  The girls did not return that night but Charlie had pretty much torn up the whole campsite. I decided to come back later to help the girls pick up the site. When I did come back the girls had gathered their things and were gone.

Every once in awhile I wake at night when I hear Charlie the barking Raccoon wandering about and I smile remembering the girl in the panties and bra looking for someone to do battle with him.

by: James B. Beard aka Noodin

“To be centered is to stand alone together” Noodin

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