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My first camping trip

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My first camping trip

Post by zenlizard on Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:48 pm

When I was growing up in the Ozark mountains, we never went camping. My mom talked about it a lot but my Dad always had the same response: "We are camping!"

Now I had spent a few nights sleeping on the ground in the middle of nowhere after getting drunk at some backwoods get together. But that's not really camping is it? The first real camping experience I had was when I was about 20 years old. My brother and I had bought a couple of tents and we took them down to the Buffalo River back behind Snowball.

We found a great spot. I pitched my first tent right on top of the place where, unbeknownst to me, some folks had tethered their horses recently. And yes, it smelled like horse piss for years. It probably still does. God bless the poor soul who owns it now. But I digress.

We had a great meal. I had made some Indian food the day before and wrapped it up in foil. We heated this up in the fire right beside the tent and didn't clean up too well. Oh, I forgot the part about the mini-keg of beer and getting stuck in the mud trying to get down there. Oh well, that's not really an important part of the story.

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yeah, we had some great food and didn't clean up too well and went to our separate tents to sleep. Now, I had been reading up on camping before this and my main concern was bears. There are a lot of bears in the area. It's near where I grew up and I've got plenty of bear stories to tell. This just doesn't happen to be one of them.

Anyway, we are in our tent for about half an hour or so and we hear this thing coming through the woods. All I can say was I've never in my life heard an animal make so much noise. I knew. This was no ordinary bear. This sucker had to be huge. I whisper/yelled to my brother. I guess that's what you would call it. You know, when you don't break into ordinary speech but you try to make yourself as loud as possible.

"Do you hear that?"

He whisper/yelled back.

"Yes"

Luckily, we grew up in the Ozarks and we were prepared. I had a 9mm and he had a 44 magnum. We coordinated our efforts and unzipped our tents at the same time while pointing our weapons in the direction of the dreadful creature. We got ready to fire and then clicked on our headlamps.

The armadillo just looked at us with his nose twitching left and right. It decided we weren't worth much and shuffled off to explore our sloppy outdoor kitchen.

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Re: My first camping trip

Post by Trail Monkey on Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:12 pm

hahahah I had somewhat of the same type of run in with a flock of wild Turkey. These things made more damn noise than king kong. Totaly off gard. lol. I grew up car camping and somewhat dayhiking. My younger bro. never did get to join in as by the time he came along we had all but stoped. Mom taught me most of the outdoor skills that I have and I am only sorry I never got around to thinking her for it till to late. Anyway, this past March,, or was it April, I took him and his oldest son up to the Buff. for a few days of basecamping and day hiking. Both of them being first timers. It was nice. Wish he could have been there with the rest of us while mom was still with us. Any who, I have been camping, hiking, backpacking, carcamping ect. for most of my life, 41 years and still going. Only guns I ever take with me have been .22s though as the rest can get heavy and the only thing I have ever came into contact with that was dangerous has been the most dreaded creature in all the woods. Chipmonks. These things can do more damage in a few mins that I think most bears would marvel at. Let one of the little suckers think there is food in a sleeping bag and you will agree. lol Have had brand new tents, sleeping pads, backpacks, and lord only knows what else ruined because of these little monsters. lol
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by zenlizard on Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:54 pm

The critters that have harrassed me the most are skunks and raccoons. In established campgrounds they are both fearless. I've never had problems with animals of any kind off the beaten trail. Most that haven't been acclimated to humans are scared to death of them.

I haven't had a bear around a campsite yet. Most of the ones I encounter in the woods just haul ass in the other direction. I am a bit concerned with the new Game and Fish bear baiting laws. A lot of folks in the Ozarks are setting up "bear barrels" where they put old bread and all kinds of scraps to attract the bears before hunting season. I'm worried that this might be teaching the bears some bad habits. So far I still haven't heard of many reports of bears bothering campers in Arkansas. Let's hope it stays that way.

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Re: My first camping trip

Post by Trail Monkey on Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:01 pm

Yea.. most of the ones I have encountered too has been in the established campsites. I have never heard of a bear attack at all in AR... but there may have been, just never heard about it. Have never really worried about them in AR either. Just never crossed my mind I guess.. lol
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by HillbillyHkr on Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:51 am

Ernst mentions a bear attack in his OHT trail guide. A man was attacked in his tent while camping on Hare mt (Section 3). This attack occured in 1990. This seems to be the only recorded incident in the near past.
I was car camping at Bull Shoals and several squirrels chewed thru my tent and destroyed a bag. All the food was in the back of my truck in a camper shell. There must have been a lingering smell to attract them.
Eddie, I jumped a bunch of wild turkeys out of a sink hole last Jan. I was bushwacking along the upper Buff. It was cold and windy so they were in the sink hole for shelter. I was probably 20 feet away when they took flight. At the time I would estimate there was about 50 thousand of them but in all reality there were only about 50. I have thought about carrying a defibulator with me on reoccuring trips for such situations.
HBH
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by snowsurfer1973 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:08 pm

Didn't Arkansas used to be called the Bear State? Anyway in my opinion and thousands of other long time backcountry explorers, carrying guns into the backcountry is a recipe for disaster. It is not needed unless you are traveling in grizzly country, even then it is the sound of the gun going off that scares them, carry a firecracker for Petes sake, has the same effect. All you need is some gun toting trigger happy idiot mistaking a human for something else and someone gets seriously hurt, and this has happened. This is exactly why in many parks they are illegal to carry. I understand the expression better to have a gun and not need one then need a gun and not have one, but c'mon. Last thing I want my children seeing on the trail on a nice peacefull hike is some fool pulling out a 44 magnum and asking Dadda why is he carrying a big gun, is it dangerous out here? My honest response will be no son, that man is an idiot and wants to look macho. Guns are for police, war, and hunting, not for a peaceful time in the woods. If your that frightened about being in the backcountry around here, take the skirt off and take some lessons on how to be a man.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by colt1911carry on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:15 pm

Do you really want to open up a political discussion on gun ownership, Snow?
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by snowsurfer1973 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:24 pm

If you actually read my post I said nothing about owning a gun, just dissagree with them on the trail like most people I have ever met in most other places. I get sensitive on the subject for a damn good reason which I will not get into here. I have no problem at all with people owning guns, especially with how the world is today, just don't feel it necessary to carry them in the woods for hiking.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by colt1911carry on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:36 pm

I was just trying to make the point that this is not really the place for politics. Maybe Jay could open a forum for politics on here for that type of discussion.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by snowsurfer1973 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:46 pm

No but it is a forum for peoples thoughts, experience and ideas in the backcountry, those include all subjects that include being in the backcountry. Again I said nothing about whether people should own guns was simply sharing concern about the need for them in the backcountry for hiking . Sorry to respond so sharply but it always hits a nerve when I hear a story of people aiming there pistols out there tent into the night air, if that doesn't cause alarm to you having children yourself then you probably shouldn't bring them. I know it was not there intention to shoot someone and smartly they turned there headlamps on to see what it was but there have been cases where people have shot first and looked after only to find there target was a person. This happened to a friend of mine who got to a backcountry shelter late at night. What he didn't know was the shelter was vivited by a persistent black bear and scared the hell out of the couple of people inside. When he showed up they thought it was the bear and fired a shot in his direction hitting him in the shoulder. These are the scenarios that will and do happen. not intentional but very dangerous. So sorry if I got a littlesensitive on the previous matter.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by lew1043 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:29 pm

Once again Snowsmurfer you have taken a fun post and made it into tyrant making a fool of yourself. We had you piped down for a while but you again can't keep away from it.... I didn't take it that Z was pistol carrying bear/ accidental human killer. I took as funny story from a long time ago... I don't know this but I bet twenty years ago his knowledge of the woods was a lot different from today... Well at least you have done one thing something for us to talk about tomorrow..... At Hicker Fest.. One more thing is that I ask Jay to delete all posts on this thread including mine from Snow on down... So this thread can return to a fun one... Lew

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Re: My first camping trip

Post by snowsurfer1973 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:26 pm

If you think me a tyrant that is very amusing. Two people waving guns out their tent hit a personal nerve with me and I responded on that with my feelings on a subject brought up on this post. The story was comical and what I said does not change that, regardless of what you think. I apologize for getting away from the subject but if you read the posts guns are brought up more than once and I responded to the fact so many here feel the need for them. I am sorry I should have started a new topic on guns in the backcountry and not responded on this topic. My bad. Although it probably wouldn't matter because it is the way I feel on the matter that obviously is the problem here. This forums has started to seem like if you have strong feelings about something and voice them you are considered a "tyrant". But if you have the same beliefs as everyone else you are considered o.k.. Such the problem of the world. Don't dare to think differently. If you had a friend who got shot in the woods by a trigger happy gun toter you probably would have something to say here to. He almost lost his to life to ignorant hikers and reading the posts here of carrying guns here set off old sore subject. Sorry I was so harsh about it but it is a sensitive matter. I am clearly the outcast here with my brutal honesty and none of you seem to have thick enough skin to deal with it other than calling me a tyrant. If I am not welcome here just have the balls to say so. Forums are suppose to be for different people express thoughts, concerns, and feelings on the forum, this one being about being in the backcountry. Not for everyone to have the same views on every matter. How boring is that. There will always be difference of opinion and some of those will be on sensitive issues like this one, and they want always be spelt out and smell like roses either.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by snowsurfer1973 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:36 pm

I also didn't take it that Z was a pistol carrying bear/accidental human killer either Lew, I also stated he was smart and turned his headlamp on to see what was coming. And if you think this is a good story to talk about at the hicker fest, sit there and criticize me responding on a subject that is sensitive and personal matter to me than shame on you. I respond to a subject of guns when my friend almost lost his life by an idiot and you willsit around and mock that, shame on you. Have some understanding of why I responded the way I did. Is there anyone of you that would honestly not respond emotionally on the matter if a loved one or good friend almost lost there life, if not shame on you again.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by colt1911carry on Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:45 pm

Snow,

I don't think you realize how abrasive you are in giving your opinion. I do not expect everyone here to agree on everything, nor does anyone else. It is the way you come across. Honesty is great, but so is respect. You have been extrememly disrespectful to many people on these forums, myself included, when it was not necessary. Frankly, when you give your opinion in the manner that you do (very abrasively), I feel that it gives your opinion zero credibility. I want everyone to be able to give their informed opinion on this forum in order to help everyone else out. That is the point of these forums. I do not want to read posts that are negative, condescending, abrasive, or just plain rude. You have made posts that fit all of these categories.

I have seen lots of posts on this forum where people disagree on a certain topic. However, these are generally done very respectfully and courteously. I feel as though you are not respectful and courteous when you disagree with someone. I could back this up with several snippets of your conversations on this forum and others.

No one is telling you that you are not welcome. Quite the opposite. We are just trying to make this a friendly place that we can all come to and enjoy. If that is not for you, then maybe you should consider going elsewhere. However, if you feel that you can join in the fun and camaraderie that this forum has exhibited so far, then please do! All we are asking for is for everyone to treat everyone here with respect.

I know I went on too much here, but I could not let this stick in my craw anymore.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by snowsurfer1973 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:17 pm

Yes I am very blunt, VERY blunt. Especially about sensitive matters like people carrying guns in the backcountry for a hike. Boo hoo cry me a river. Maybe if I had respect for someone that would take a weopon to a place where I take my children to play for years to come I wouldn't have responded so. I cannot respect this mentality of such things and won't. I know longer wish to be apart of a place where you have to so closely watch what you say because people are so thin skinned. Good luck to you all and I know you will all appreciate my departure. I will probably see you on the trail somewhere with a big smile on my face and I will be kind and friendly just as I always am, unless your carrying a pistol and then I will probably laugh at you and walk away thinking to myself, what a redneck.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by lew1043 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:25 pm

I agree with Colt you are welcome here!!! Just don't be rude! Lew

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Re: My first camping trip

Post by ulhiker on Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:42 pm

Snow:
Perhaps you would like to tell these people that they shouldn't carry a gun with them when camping or hiking!
http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/news.apx.-content-articles-RTD-2008-05-08-0174.html
http://www.aldha.org/murders.htm
And I'm sure Meredith Emerson whole-heartily agrees that the trail is no place for a gun.
http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=205392&c=10
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/14964662/detail.html
John and Irene Bryant may have wished that they had had a gun with them on their hike.
http://www.wyff4.com/news/14585002/detail.html
In the past, it may not have been necessary to carry a gun on the trail, but, unfortunately, times have changed. While you are fairly safe out on the trail, the danger is when in the vacinity of trailheads and places where the trail is fairly accessible from a road. We used to not have to worry about people wanting to do harm to others, but those days are gone. So the next time you, or those like you, start giving people a hard time about carrying guns with them on the trail, I want you to return to this post and take a long look at Meredith's picture and tell her she didn't need a gun.
UL


Last edited by ulhiker on Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by HillbillyHkr on Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:54 pm

Snow,

I have to agree with Colt and Lew. I have started to make some smart alec retorts to some of your comments because they irritated the heck out of me. In my opinion, you have came across as being a know it all and believe you are better than the rest of us. I for one view my outdoor activities as hobbies not competitive sports. I am not here to compare how many miles I can hike in a day or how many days I go out at a time. I come to this forum to share experiences and gather ideas and information without being ridiculed. I choose to backpack and hike in the cooler months not because I am a wimp or not "hardcore" but because I enjoy it more that way. If you enjoy hiking in the heat that is fine and I commend you for it, just do not berate myself and other folks because we do not see things your way. I do value your opinion and believe your knowledge and experience is vast and worthy. Just tone down the condescending attitude.



Guys lets not get the gun control war started here. Arguments like that ruined the TrailTalk site in a short time.

HBH
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by colt1911carry on Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:11 pm

HillbillyHkr wrote:

Guys lets not get the gun control war started here. Arguments like that ruined the TrailTalk site in a short time.

HBH

That is exactly why I was making my point that this was not the place for that discussion. We are all going to have very different emotionally charged opinions on that issue, so it should be done elsewhere.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by ulhiker on Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:14 pm

I totally agree with you, colt. Leave the gun talk for guntalk.com.
UL
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by zenlizard on Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:59 pm

Well, I'll try not to get into politics on this forum. Snow has already been the victim of one of my gin soaked tirades elsewhere and I don't see any need to start that here.

I was definitely poking fun at my younger self in the story. There are times when I think I might sleep a bit easier if I had a handgun while camping in the woods but I was sufficiently embarrassed by the armadillo incident that I have never taken one backpacking yet.

I personally don't have problems hiking with others who have the desire to carry for whatever reason. It's just not my style.

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Re: My first camping trip

Post by Trail Monkey on Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:02 pm

My freinds 12 yo daughter can pick up, load, unload, disassemble, reassemble and shoot close enough that she holds all the club records for under 21yo in most catagories out of a group of youngsters of about 50. lol I truly belive gun awarness starts in the home. Myself, I don't have children but I rasied my now ex's 2. They both can load and shoot and return my old 38's to a safe state. The only reason they have ever asked about a weapon on someones side is to find out what they carry. They are now 15 and 17. Southern Gun Culture I guess. lol. These days you are hearing more and more about people on a trail getting into some type of trouble. hmmm guess the western and norther top half attitudes really don't work huh. Yea I know it happens in the lower states too but not as offten, and you really don't know where these people grew up do ya. lol They can have my gun when they pry.... well you know the rest.
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by Figg on Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:50 pm

I also grew up camping and packing in NW Ark. My Grandparents lived in Tilly which is just up the road from Snowball. To camp back then without a gun would be like camping without a water filter today. Even today I at least have my Smoky Mountain bear spray with me. Its not the bears that worry me these days it's the two legged beast that like to pick on hikers I worry about. The last big hike I did was with Lew and I did not have any protection with me as I figured that a bear would go for the challenge of a taller, faster target more than short one screaming like a little girl and throwing denatured alcohol from my stove. Dont get me wrong I have nothing aginst any part of my Glock collection. See you all Saturday...Figg

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Re: My first camping trip

Post by ulhiker on Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:55 pm

You know figg, I could actually see the bear doing just that. LOL!!
UL
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Re: My first camping trip

Post by Trail Monkey on Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:00 pm

Wouldn't be a fair race as the bear would prob be running in human scat.. hahaha
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