Monday, October 3, 2011

Backcountry Camping and Wild Critters

We've been camping at Land Between the Lakes, at a boat ramp camping spot on Kentucky Lake. No electricity or water, just a picnic table, a fire ring and an awesome view of the lake. Of course we have the generator to charge our batteries and watch TV at night.

The weather has been nearly perfect. The leaves are beginning to turn. Only the wind and a dip in overnight temperatures made us search for warmer clothing. Most of the time we've been out exploring, cutting firewood, or sitting outside in the sunshine. I read a couple of books and we had a nice visit from a friend who lives nearby.

One benefit of being in the woods is seeing and hearing wild critters. Some closer than you would like, others that you'd like to stay around for a while. The first one we encountered was a skunk. Evidently a family of them live under a tree by the shoreline. They aren't particularly afraid of people, this one just sauntered by as we were sitting by the fire. They came by every night, looking for food scraps, and one night they got into a tent camper's trash.

The next day I was picking my way through the rip-rap toward the shore, looked up and saw a big bald eagle. He was only 20 yards away, perched on a rock in the water, watching for fish. I signaled Jerold to bring the binoculars, and we watched him for a few minutes before he flew off. That made my day!

On Friday, as we drove around a curve on a back road, we saw something crossing the road. We eased to a stop, and it turned to look at us. It was a beautiful tan bobcat, with black and white tufted ears. She hesitated a moment, then padded off into the woods. I didn't have time to get my camera and I wish she had posed for a little longer.

I love camping and having our own vacation home on wheels to take us out to the woods, the beach or the mountains. It's nice to have my own warm soft bed instead of a lumpy sleeping bag on the ground. I'm spoiled, I admit it. But I'm still a country girl who doesn't mind getting dirty, cutting wood, or being outdoors. Nature gives me peace, happiness, and keeps me grounded.

Colorful sunsets, the soft hooting of an owl, waves lapping the shore, a cool breeze off the lake, hot chocolate, twinkling stars and a smoky, crackling campfire...almost perfect. Just have to keep an eye out for those skunks. Stay tuned, we have more adventures planned.

Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.  ~John Muir

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.  ~Eleonora Duse