By Adrienne Schoonmaker
The day started out like any other. You know…dragging through work all day Friday…darting around the office like James Bond in an attempt to leave early and avoid being caught by the boss…the sweet smell of victory as you pull out of the office parking lot an hour before everyone else, only to discover once you hit the highway that you weren’t the only one….waiting in traffic…trying to suppress homicidal thoughts while navigating the packed Walmart picking up a few last minute items…then FINALLY getting out of the OKC Metro and on the way to the Okmulgee Lake!
Two hours later I pulled into the campground, found a nice site, and proceeded to set up my tent. The lovely camp host stopped by to collect my camping fee. “Make sure to lock up your food tonight”, she warned me “The raccoons around here are pretty bold.” I’ve been camping plenty of times before so I assured her I would take all of the proper precautions…..I had no idea what evil lurked in the woods around me….
The rest of the evening was a pleasant blend of meeting up with old friends, eating, sitting by the fire, and chatting about the ride ahead. Around 9:00 I decided I should batten down the hatches for the night. I put all of my food in my ice chest or in bags and locked it all in my car (re-read that sentence, LOCKED it in my car)….minus a bag of chips I took to my tent. After munching on the chips for a while I rolled up the bag, placed it in a backpack inside my tent, zipped the backpack shut, and zipped shut the door to my tent.
At approximately 2:00 in the morning I was awakened by what sounded like fighting cats. It was the mutant raccoons. They had discovered the trash bag full of food that my neighbors across the road had left out. I smirked to myself “They’re gonna have fun cleaning THAT up in the morning” I thought, and then drifted back to sleep. Shortly after that I was awaked by another sound, this sound I was familiar with… cooing/purring sound of raccoons as they search the ground for food. I knew they were close and at one point I could see their shadows against the wall of me tent. “Surely they’re not so brazen as to try and get into an occupied tent”, I thought. I was sadly mistaken. Before I knew it they were scratching and fighting at the door of my tent, trying to get in. I could even hear the “jingle, jingle” of the zipper handle being fussed with. “HEY!” I yelled while kicking the door to the tent hoping to scare them away. It appeared to work as I heard them scurry off into the distance. The rest of the night I was periodically woken by the sounds of the mutant raccoons scampering about the campground.
The next day I recounted my tale to the other campers hoping to hear a similar incident from someone else, but no one had experienced the attack that I had. I then noticed Clarence standing by my car laughing. I thought he might have been laughing at the scuff marks from my failed attempt to back into a carport only 6 inches wider than my car, but no, he was not laughing at that. On all four sides of my car, and the hood and roof, were dozens of raccoon paw prints. There were even paw prints on the door handles (see sentence above about LOCKING the car)! It appears that not only did they try to go after the bag of chips inside my zipped backpack, inside my zipped, occupied tent…but they also attempted to OPEN my car doors and get inside to the food in my car! The entire episode left me with a strong respect for the Mutant Raccoons of Okmulgee Lake.