The third part of the story of camping at Nickerson has to do with the raccoon I mentioned in the last post. We’d been camping for years and should have known better, but the very first night we left the big plastic box of food sitting on the ground at one end of the picnic table and the bag of trash (chock full of good things like steak scraps) at the other. Naturally, a raccoon came by, chewed through the trash bag, spread its contents over a large area, and ate all the yummy bits. Then he clambered up onto the table, wiped his paws on the paper towels and moved on. Fortunately he failed to notice the big box full of food.
The next night he returned to find the food and trash safely locked away in the car. He checked out a metal box that smelled like bread, but couldn’t get it open. He left the box on its side, covered with little sandy paw prints and grumbled a complaint as he waddled past the corner of our tent.
Perhaps what happened the following night can be blamed on the full moon and the fact that Grampa did not light the lantern. I put the bag of trash in the car, but forgot about the plastic box of food at the far end of the picnic table. Our raccoon started by climbing onto the table, where he found a bowl with three plums. He took one bite out of each, then followed his nose to the big box of food. The lid came off easily and there before his eyes was a veritable cornucopia: boxes of cereal, English muffins, chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows, and more! Where to begin? He ate four and a half English muffins, a whole bag of Chips Ahoy cookies, and sampled several boxes of cereal on the spot. He dragged the bag of marshmallows to a near-by tree and devoured the entire contents. Feeling fat and happy, he wandered off, leaving the remaining food strewn around on the ground. After we replaced our ravaged supplies, we were more vigilant about locking them in the car at night!
On the very last morning of our vacation, I went to the cooler for some juice. But the cooler was gone! Later Grampa found it behind some trees a short distance away. Several Sam Adams beers, a few Bud Lites, and two wine coolers were missing. Everyone thought teenagers getting into Friday night mischief had stolen the cooler. But I think somewhere out in the woods there was a raccoon with a hangover as the result of one last raid on “Crook’s Getaway” and a party to celebrate all the food we provided for him!