Okay, I’ve had a bad case of Bloggus Interruptus lately because recent impulsive life decisions have impacted my ability to update the blog everyday as is my usual routine. My biggest critic about my irregular blog posting has been my dad. Now, not directly to my face – rather, he makes side comments to my mom in front of me such as, “Guess who didn’t post again?” Who knew my dad would be promoted from weekend contributor to full-time Blog Police? I’m sorry, Dad! I have failed you. However, it looks like you didn’t do a post today anyway on your assigned day so really, you should be thanking me. You’re welcome.
Anyway, back to backpacking. In case you didn’t read about how Day 1 went, here it is.
It was the day after the Fourth of July, but at that point, time had lost all meaning. We were in the wilderness and I had no phone, no watch, and no desire to see other humans other than the ones I was with. Because of this, I had a completely skewed reality because both time and space were based on the position of the sun. No longer was I tethered to my obligations of Words With Friends or concerned that I would go over my phone’s data allowance for the month – no, I was a forest nymph, nimble in my steps and graceful in my dance. (Wait, what?)
The first leg of backpacking was unpleasantly uphill. Imagine being presented with a rock wall and having to climb it. Well, I did that. I was basically crawling up the sheer face of a cliff. My hiking boots were tied too tightly so by the end of the day, I had a horrible case of Achilles’ tendonitis. My Achilles’ looked like big hulking St. Bernards instead of the delicate whippets they are supposed to resemble. (Yeah, I just used dog breeds to describe part of my anatomy. #sorrynotsorry)
Our campsite was very remote in the mountains of Catalina Island. When we finally got to it after seven hours of hiking, a family of foxes ran away from a nearby campsite. At the time, I thought: Oh my god, foxes are the cutest thing to ever happen to Earth; I want a fox. This fox sighting should have been a warning of what sort of encounters we could expect from the local wildlife. But I’ll come back to that later.
We took what was supposed to be a short hike to the airport restaurant to get some “real” food but sadly, it turned out we hadn’t read the signs close enough and we ended up on a wild goose chase that lasted for over an HOUR. Just what we needed after a day of hiking mountains: more hiking. Luckily, the food was worth it and we took a trail that was much shorter on the way back.
As soon as we got back from out unexpected adventure, we put our tents up and went to sleep.
This peaceful unconsciousness would only last for a few hours before we were woken up by this noise:
SNORT SNORT MAAAAAWRRRRRRRRRR THUMP THUMP THUMP CRASH CRASH THUMP
In case you are unaware of the sound that two male bison make as they are running and fighting in your campground, that was it. Several feet away from us, in the pitch black of night, were bison stomping around and fighting. Now, my tent was set up on the outside of the campground so I was terrified I was going to die by bison trampling. My friend woke up as well and we were both shaking in our tents for a few minutes before we made a run for it to her dad’s tent.
I think what made the incident most terrifying was that we couldn’t see ANYTHING and these massive animals are just running amok. There was a legitimate chance they would run erratically and step on us. Luckily, after a very tense amount of time, they went off into the distance. Not that it made me feel better. I squeezed myself into my friend’s one-person tent because there was no way I was going to sleep alone that night.
You’d think the excitement would be over after the bison ran off. But no.
Probably twenty minutes later, three old-fashioned lanterns appeared in the distant part of the campground. Because we were on an island, a heavy marine layer was omnipresent so visibility was near nil during the night. The fog was so dense, in fact, that the only thing we could see were those three lanterns casting bizarre light trails. Seeing those lanterns appear out of nowhere was creepy enough but to add to the eeriness was a dragging sound and a slow, clopping horse hoof noise. It sounded like old-timey horse-covered wagon people were trekking into the campgrounds and the suddenness and sounds made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
My friend’s dad called out, “Hello?”
Nothing. No response. Just the clopping and the dragging noise that came closer every second.
My friend’s Dad tried again,”Are you guys okay? Did you see the bison?”
Now, I have to remind you at this point that we are in a very, very remote campsite. Rangers don’t really come by and although there is a main road nearby, the closest building where we could get to a phone or medical help or police is miles and miles away.
Again, no response to my friend’s dad’s inquiries. Just the noise and the three lanterns coming closer.
And this is when panic ensued. My friend’s dad yelled at us to get out of our tents. (I guess so we could die facing whatever it was instead of cowering in our tents?)
We got out of our tents and I went back to shaking from sheer terror as I had when the bison chose to tear around the campground. So this is how I’m going to die. The universe was just preparing me for my death with the bison thing but these strange lantern-people are just going to flat-out slaughter everyone here and will probably do so silently and without remorse.
My friend’s dad tried again for the third time, “HEY!”
Finally, an answer: “Yo, we just walked through a herd of bison!!”
It turns out that the dragging noise was a frat guy’s cooler and the weird clopping-horse noise was – well, still not sure about that one. Maybe one of them had hooves. Anyway, the point is, we didn’t get murdered by bison or the Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Annoyingly, once our new neighbors in the camp settled down, they played a very, very obnoxious game of Yahtzee.
This is how the next few hours of the night went:
Me, in my tent, as I lay awake: At least I am not dead.