Camping II

Let’s continue on the Camping thread, and journey to our second and third Collaborative Camping trips, in Eagle River, Wisconsin. We found a spot that we loved: nestled in the corner of the camping property, far enough away from most other sites, (We had to drive down a hill to access our site, and at one point, all the kids were out running an errand with the boy’s Dad. He stopped at the top of the hill and said, get out and HANG ON! We looked at each other, scrambled out of the van, and held onto the back for dear life, as he zoomed down that hill! We shrieked with glee, and our Mom’s looked on in horror.) Our site had little wild toads that hopped freely to and fro begging to be captured and loved, and that butted up against a dense woods so it was under a beautiful shady canopy, with a feed cornfield beyond. (We know this because Scott & Daniel decided they wanted some corn on the cob and climbed through the wooded area and into the farmer’s field to steal a few cobs, only to find out it was inedible… We were glad they exited successfully without any buckshot for trespassing.) 

I’ll tell these next couple of stories the way my mom has been recanting them since the moment they happened… We’ll call them “Mistaken Identity I & II”


My Mom always woke early on camping trips, usually the first to rise. One morning, she was bleary-eyed, bundled in her jacket and clutching her coffee to her, waiting for everyone else to come staggering out of their tents when she heard a rustle. It came from near the feed cornfield, in the wooded area! What could it be?

She focused hard… There! It was an animal, with a black nose, and tan body… near the feed corn… She rubbed her eyes and stared again… It looked like a cow! But, wow… this cow had the skinniest legs she’d ever seen on a bovine! She said, out loud, to no one in particular, “THAT is the sickliest looking cow, I’ve ever seen in my life!”

The “cow” heard her, pulled its head upright and froze. It focused on my mother, and suddenly pranced away!

Yes, this “cow” had, indeed, been a deer the entire time.


One night, my Mom woke up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. She was on her way back to our tent when she heard a rustle coming from the direction of our trash bag (which had been suspended at the Girl Scout standard of ten feet up/ten feet out on the tree near our communal tent, to avoid pests) She stopped, to identify the source.

She inched closer and saw that the bag was moving! There was something inside! We had seen raccoons on other occasions nearby our site, so my Mom thought for sure, this was another Trash Panda, that had gotten stuck in our trash bag.

She got closer because she felt an urge to shake the bag, to scare the raccoon into running away. (Yes, not a smart idea, but my Mom does what she wants!)

My Mom reached her hand forward towards the bag, just as she heard another rustle towards her feet: There was another “raccoon” on the ground, foraging in the goodies that had dropped from our trash bag! Only this “raccoon” had that tell-tale long white stripe down it’s back!! It wasn’t a raccoon, it was a SKUNK!!!

She froze, and backed away as slowly as humanly possible, retreating to the safety of our tent and hoping against hope that the skunks wouldn’t decide to spray her!


We still tease my mother to this day about the differences between cows and deer and between raccoons and skunks, but I’m not sure she’ll ever have the power to stop mislabeling things! Just the other day, she thought a plane was a blimp. ❤

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