Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bonding with Nature

The following is a random camping experience I remembered today while talking to a friend. May it inspire you to enjoy the outdoors this summer. :)

When I was young, my family and I would camp in the Sierra Nevadas every year at a place called Rock Creek. The campground is found just south of Yosemite, North of Fresno, California, near Bass Lake. It was a pristine wonder of nature, with deep, crystal clear pools of water, natural waterslides worn into the granite, and plenty of trails laden with fragrant bear clover. I absolutely loved that place.

We always reserved the last campsite in the campground - it being the closest to the forest, and the nearest to the best swimming holes, providing us with near-instant access to hours of aquatic fun. Every night after dinner we would put our plates out at the edge of the forest, piled with the scraps from earlier meals. Like clockwork, minutes after putting the plates in place we'd have a little family of four or five skunks come to our campsite and feast on the little smorgasbord.

As I remember, the skunks were there for three or four consecutive years. Every time we'd take our little offering to the edge of the forest, eliciting a response from the same little family of animals. We knew it was a no-no to feed the wildlife, but they were adorable and never bothered us... just quietly ate and then retreated back into the woods. I assume that during those years, there was never an altercation with other campers, and wonder if anyone else fed them like we did.

Then one year we came up and on our second night laid out the plates waiting for our little friends, but they never came. We mentioned it to a nice old lady named Opal that kept the campsite, and were told, by her, that apparently in the year prior some campers with a dog had been staying in that same spot we always chose. Their dog had chased the skunks into the bushes one night and was sprayed. After that the skunks never returned.

I've always felt a little guilty for having contributed to a situation in which an eventual conflict between man and nature seemed inevitable, but I loved the bond with something wild - no matter how small - that was developed during those visits to Rock Creek.



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  2. Adorable! You should post more kid pictures. And I love that your sandals are super huge. :)

  3. That is such a cute story! I too, love the huge flip flops.

    Now I want to go camping.

  4. I had to come over after I saw the pic on Shan's blog. I just have the best memories of Rock Creek too... maybe we should do a reunion there someday! My parents never would have gone for feeding the skunks- how exciting! The wildlife I recall were the elusive fish, water skeeters, bluejays, the lizards, the giant dive-bombing night beetles, and other campers {stupid} dogs. :)