The Mohawk Trail over the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts is a popular summer recreation area. The Bear Swamp Project was a short distance away. Our family spent a week camping at South Pond just off the Mohawk Trail. Instead of driving 55 miles homes after work it was a ten minute drive to the campground. We had a few families who camped with us and were visited by my mother and sister Judy. Our daughter Dori was a toddler and our son Jamie was four years old. We had a large wall tent with folding cots and a set of folding bunk beds for the kids. Our Chevy station wagon served as sleeping quarters for guests.
The first night in camp we were visited by the local racoons who were very experienced at opening coolers and selecting their meals of choice. My mother caught them just as they lifted the cooler cover and saved our food. We had a visitor in the tent during the night too. Some kind of critter had come into the tent, sorted through our groceries, and opened some bread for a midnight snack. We suspected it was a skunk, but didn’t hear or see anything until morning. Linda was concerned about the animals coming into the tent at night.
The second night we stored all the coolers in vehicles. When we retired for the night I securely zipped the outer canvas door of the tent. I also securely zipped the inner screen door. Just to give Linda a little piece of mind I shoved some boxes and misc items against the doors from the inside. We were all sleeping on cots or bunk beds so I wasn’t overly concerned about any critters bothering us. During the night Linda woke me up and insisted there was a skunk in the tent. We sat in the dark listening. There was definitely something rustling through our things in the tent. Linda grabbed the flashlight, held it out over the side of the cot, and turned it on. It was hard to tell who was more startled, Linda or the skunk who had it’s nose within three inches of the flashlight when it came on. She found her way over me and against the wall of the tent in an instant. The only thing I could do was get out of bed and let the skunk back out of the tent. The skunk didn’t appreciate my efforts. As the boxes and other items were removed to reach the door zippers the skunk ran back and forth the length of the tent with it’s tail in the air. I remember thinking what a mess we were going to have if the skunk cut loose inside the tent. It seemed like forever getting all the flaps unzipped to open the tent doors. As soon as the skunk realized the door was open it sailed past my feet and was gone in a heartbeat.
The skunks knew how to get in the tent………and I knew how to keep them there.