A Raccoon Stole My Lunch Box!
We set out early on March 8 to head down to St Mary's, GA with the sole purpose of paddling down the Crooked River out to Cumberland Island. I think that was a noble goal, although it may have been a little to much to ask for.
That night at camp, we met a local tom cat that we quickly named "Rooster" after the John Wayne movie Rooster Cogburn. He was just about the saddest animal I have ever met. Large and white he was very, very cross-eyed, and was missing all of the fur under his neck from some long ago fight with something that came close to ripping his throat out.
He was sweet enough and we gave him a little bit to eat and drink. This, it turns out, is his job: once he finds a camp nice enough to feed him, he watches out for them and guards against other nighttime thieves that may take another meal from him. Around midnight we heard a hiss and growl and the sounds of all hell breaking loose. It was good old Rooster kicking the crap out of some Raccoons that were trying to steal anything that we may have left out. What a good cat!
The next morning we decided that the trip to the island was just not in the cards (one of our number was a little "nervous" about it), so we paddled out and around the marshes. This was a whole lot of fun, and we spent hours going in and out of the little paths made by the salt water. We also did some fishing, but did not have a lot of luck.
That night after the gnats went to bed, we heard Rooster coming in for a nighttime payment. Here's a bit of advice: do not overfeed your night time guardian or he will go off and sleep while you are raided by Raccoons!
While he was no where to be seen, a particularly brazen raccoon came into camp looking for a meal. We are pretty good about storing out food items, but it seems I left a couple of things on the kayak trailer from the paddle earlier that he was very interested in.
We heard a strange sound from the back of camp, followed by the sound of something heavy being dragged across the road. When a couple of the group went to investigate, I was asked, "Hey... didn't you have a small blue dry bag?"
"Well the raccoon just drug it across the road and tearing the H*LL out of it. What's in there?"
"Bread from our paddle earlier. Well it's no longer water tight, so let him have it." "Wait...was there something attached to the dry bag?"
"Hold on...Yep. Looks like a lunch box."
You see, I attached the little dry bag of bread to the larger lunch box so it would not be lost. Now the raccoon had both. Nice!
I had to get the lunch box back since in addition to the food stuff inside it also had a very nice folding knife that I did not want to lose. Getting it back was fairly easy, and I left the bread for the little thief.
The funny thing came after when one of our friends asked, "So what was in the lunch box?"
I opened it up and he started laughing so hard I thought he was going to die right there. Here are the contents:
"That raccoon must have thought he had the fattest loot ever!"
- 1 apple
- 6 Kashi Granola Bars
- 1/2 a block of white cheddar (only the best)
- 1 "Snickers" bar
- 1 bag of Chili Cheese Fritos (we don't have them in NC, what can I say)
Then there came a lot of jokes about dollar signs in his eyes, him telling the "one that got away story" to the other raccoons, and even a few geeky world of Warcraft references that you would only get if you play the game.
And that's the story of how a raccoon stole my lunch box!
Submitted by: Rob Bynum - Greensboro, NC
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