During the second session of my Wood Badge course (WE1-492-01-05) in June of 2005, we were camped at the beautiful Camp Clark, AKA Adventure Cove.
Our Second night in camp, the Beaver Patrol had just finished a great dutch oven cake, got things cleaned up and watched the final embers burn out of our camp fire when the tell tale yawning started signaling “Lights out” was near.
We said our good nights and crawled into our sleeping bags humming “Back to Gilwell”.
Now, I am a pretty hard sleeper, especially when in a sleeping bag out in the woods, but this night a sound the likes of which I had not heard in sometime, caused an eye to open and an immediate reach for the headlamp. I looked through the flap of my tent and scanned the camp site looking for the source of the noise. About the time my light hit the picnic table 4 other lights illuminated the campsite from the other patrol member tents.
And there it was, our garbage bag, thrown about the campsite, we had been invaded by the Raccoon patrol. Unfortunately, there is not a Raccoon patrol in the Wood Badge course. No this was a patrol of mask wearing varmints that would not rest till it had removed every piece of garbage in search of leftover cake.
The lights phased them for a second and they scurried off into the darkness of the Coastal night.
A nod that the coast was clear and all of us Beavers were once again snug in our bags, Tom already had a good snore going on.
It did not take long for this aggressive band of misfits to return. I had a sealed box that locked sitting on the table. This contained the patrols food. This box is hard enough for people to get into let alone raccoons, so we felt pretty safe.
But these raccoons were going to give it a try. I heard the noise and poked my head out of the tent. Shinning my light toward the table I could see the beady little eyes of the raccoon that clearly was leading the trio. He was barking directions and waving his little arms suggesting a break in of the box was the mission.
My light had become a tool for them, this time they were not phased and seemed to be enjoying the extra light.
After multiple attempts at opening the box, the band had to move to plan “B”. This was my signal to wake up the rest of the Beavers. Their flashlights now helped the raccoons at their task.
The leader of the bandits signaled that the box needed to be dropped from the table. On his command, they pushed the box. It slid across the table and dropped to the ground. The raccoons followed with a sense of urgency.
Upon reaching the box, they noticed it had not opened. The leader, obviously frustrated, now came up with the plan to take the box back to their hide out and work on it there.
Two of the raccoons then got behind the box, rose up on their hind legs and began to push the box down the trail, all the while their fearless leader cleared the path and made sure the flashlights were still trained on him. They pushed for a good one hundred feet when they were abruptly halted by two stumps that would not allow any further movement. Beaten, the raccoons sat down on the box and looked at us, still shinning our lights at them.
The lead raccoon gave us a wave and the would be robbers departed into the darkness of Camp Clark.
After a good laugh it was time for us Beavers to hit the rack.
Flash lights led us back to the comfort of our sleeping backs and within a minute or so Tom was sound asleep and snoring.