The Old Campsite

I worked for the US Forest Service for 14 years starting back in the early 80's and really tried to get my young boys involved in spending time in the woods with me. So every summer, as boys do, they would wind up getting into some kind of trouble, which left me with the perfect opportunity to make them ride around with me in the woods.

I would use this time to teach them about the different trees and telling what stage of the year we were in by what the plant life was doing. They would learn which birds made which sounds and what different plant life was in our area. I also spent so much time up in those woods that I found a few areas that I thought looked good for gold mining. So I bought an area of that I found for sale some simple equipment and took those boys up to learn some new skills. We would pack lunches and drinks, of course I had my Stanley full of coffee and some extra clothes. They spent more time playing and getting soaked than anything in them creek beds up there. One day after work, I asked the boys if they would like to pack their gear and after work on Friday, we could all come camp by our mining area. The boys were very excited and started getting their backpacks ready as soon as we got home. The next day I didn't have to work so hard to get them up at 6am. They were definitely ready to go. What they couldn't seem to understand is that I still had to work that day.

By the end of the day, we were on our way to our spot. Got camp set up and a firepit designated to an area between the tent and the creek. We hauled over some old stumps to use as chairs around the fire. Once we finally got settled and were sitting around the fire, the boys in their sweats and eating marshmallows on a stick that they peeled. I started to tell the boys about a time camping with my dad in the woods, not but too far from where we were now. We were also camping when we started to hear a strange noise. We went to bed and low and behold that same noise started to happen, kinda like a snort. It was a bear and it came right up to our tent and even rubbed slightly on it as it circled our camp, probably looking for food.

This got the boys eyes as wide as they could be. There mother would not be very happy with me scaring them right now. I really was just wanting to share a memory with them. Anyway I figured we had better get to bed so that we could have time to look for some gold in the morning. I heard a sound not too far off. I honestly was bit nervous because of the boys. I don't worry about it so much for myself but I was fairly confident we had a bear coming in now, which was odd since I hadn't seen a bear up in these parts in years. I grabbed my rifle and went to settle in with the kids. The flicker of the flame still going, I watched as though I could see through the the tent walls for something to appear. Just then, my oldest said "Dad, did you hear that?", I did and his brother said "I did." Great, they are both awake. Their mother will definitely be finding out about this and she is going to be pissed.

I never actually saw what we all heard that night, but when we got up in the morning, the marshmallow sticks were all leaned together like a teepee and we found one print that was very large right near the creek where we were looking for gold. It was like a human print but larger, much larger.