Scary Campfire Story

Copyright: noam / 123RF Stock Photo
United States
October 2, 2017 7:00pm CST
Isn't it interesting how one little thing can trigger a very old memory? Then a chain of connected thoughts often follow. Oh the wonders of the human brain and emotions! My friend and I were recently discussing our gardens. He said that badgers gather in his every night to dig for roots and worms to eat. He sent me a couple photos of them. I was immediately transported back to my childhood in New Mexico: the first time I went to Girl Scout camp. I was in third grade. Our troop of 8-9 year olds arrived about 4 p.m. on that early summer's day. It was just the beginning of a 24 hour adventure in the beautiful wooded site. That was the first camping trip for most of us. It was certainly the first time to have such a daring experience without our parents. So exciting and a little scary! A couple of minutes after our school bus entered the gates of the campground, the twelve (or so) of us were startled by a loud, high-pitched animal sound. We had no idea what it was! My best description for it is a combination of a crow cawing and a rooster crowing. We were informed that we'd be sharing the area with wild peacocks. Peacocks? Fantastic! But we weren't so thrilled about the rattlesnakes that might be there. Those are common in New Mexico. After we unloaded our gear, our fearless camp guide gave us a tour of the grounds. Her detailed narration was punctuated ever so often by the screeching birds (that sound continued to make us a bit jumpy for the first hour or so). At one point in the tour, we stopped for a short break. Our leader said we could explore, but only within certain perimeters. We had to stay with our partner too, because we were on the "buddy system". My cohort and I were just exploring near some bushes. Suddenly we saw something move! It was on the ground, under the shrub. It looked right at us and jumped toward us! Then it vanished. We both screamed and ran to the adults. The conversation went something like this: "There was something in those bushes!!" Scout-Buddy and I were stifling sobs. We were truly petrified. "What did you see? Calm down a little. Can you describe it?" "I think it was a HUGE snake. Its head was this big! (Little hands guesstimated the size). It was brown and it had stripes on it's head!!" The grown-ups seemed concerned. They looked around the area, but didn't find anything. After they asked us a few more questions, the campground employee said "It was probably a badger." When I was nine, I was familiar with some typical forest creatures, but not badgers. So my imagination was still in overactive mode the rest of the day and into the night. The cracking of a twig underfoot, the rustling of leaves from a sudden breeze, anything and everything unnerved me. That mystery-monster was certainly nearby, ready to bite, strangle or at least jump on me or one of my friends! Thankfully, I still managed to have some fun during my first wilderness expedition. I also learned some valuable skills and facts. Most importantly: now I understand why peacocks make that loud, unsettling noise. It's the voice of sheer terror! You'd screech too if you had to live near rare, humongous snakes that had heads as big as raccoons!
3 people like this
5 responses
@allen0187 (27523)
• Philippines
4 Oct
That must have been one memorable camping trip!
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Oct
Oh it certainly was! I hadn't thought about it in years. It was really fun to reminisce about it. Of course, I could have shared a lot more, but my post was already too long. LOL Thanks very much for reading and commenting @allen0187!
1 person likes this
@allen0187 (27523)
• Philippines
4 Oct
@BloggerDi I'm sure that camping trip would have made for a good post. Why don't you write a separate post for each?
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Oct
@allen0187 Good idea! Thanks, I might just do that!
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@Hannihar (12898)
10 Dec
Going out for your first time to camp can be really terrifying. You never know what you will encounter out there when you are exploring. So, did you ever go to a camp again after that?
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Dec
Yes @Hannihar, I went to camp a couple more times when I was a child. I enjoyed it. That first time was indeed scary at first, but I still had fun times too. Thanks for your comment!
@Hannihar (12898)
11 Dec
@BloggerDi Diana you are welcome. I went to Girl Scout day camp and then went away to camp and was also a camp counselor and I still did not like camp. Sorry Diana I thought you were someone else. I apologize for writing the wrong name at first.
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
8 Oct
That would be one scary snake! Badgers can be quite aggressive if cornered, I know. Peacocks are raucous neighbors.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Oct
Yes, and those critters seem much worse in a 9 yr old's imagination! I appreciate you reading my long post and commenting @JamesHxstatic.
@kepweng (6384)
3 Oct
its nice to be back in our happy childhood days
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Oct
Thanks @kepweng. I enjoyed reminiscing as I composed this story. :)
@Platespinner (18537)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
3 Oct
I've heard peafowl screech, it is a very, VERY distinctive sound! Lovely job of describing your memory!
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Oct
Thanks so much for reading and for your kind comment @Platespinner!
1 person likes this