The sun is setting over Inks Lake and the pups are about to settle in for the night. We took a vote and decided Bear will be Camp Chairman for this year. Felix will be our storyteller each night. As Camp Chairman Bear will decide on where we stay, our excursions each day and other details. So Bear chose for all the pups to stay out at the old barn that’s on the edge of the campgrounds. Not many people know about it because it hasn’t been used in years. It has a really high front porch and is nestled back in a thicket of cedar trees barely visible from the main camp. So here we go. It was a little scraggly out there so we had some clearing to do in order to make it comfortable. Bear did a lot of the heavy digging and scratching to clear out underneath the old porch. Hank and Willow were a big help toting the scrub brush Bear dug out from under the old porch. They dragged the brush to a ravine where they dropped it over the side. Coco is off chasing an evening butterfly and well, she’s probably still trying to overcome that red head she showed up with at camp today. Poor thing I hope she’s not too embarrassed. We sent Myrtle to scout out scraps for our dinner tonight. Felix is off pondering what story he will tell tonight. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a doozy. Luke and I have been just chilling a bit because after all Luke is getting on in years and we don’t want him to overheat.
Now, the sun has set and here comes Myrtle dragging a big bag. Wow! Myrtle didn’t disappoint. I’ve never seen such a haul in my life! Looks like I was right about that girl. She was able to go places the rest of us have never been able to go. Her climbing abilities are nothing short of incredible. The kids had just left the mess hall and she climbed right in and jumped on top of the table. She filled that bag with left over pizza, corn dogs, apple wedges, and on the way back she snagged some rat meatloaf down by the muskrat lodge. She has heard me rave so much about the rat meatloaf she wanted to impress me with a few slices. Mmmmmm it’s gonna be delish! OK pups, dinner is served. After Bear gives thanks everyone digs in and geez it’s a feast for the first night. Normally it’s slim pickins the first night. Yum.
Myrtle has outdone herself for dinner and she even found sticks for a campfire. We got our fire started and found a place to lie down around the campfire. Felix walks around checking on each pup, then goes over by the fire and lets out a big ole howl. You could hear his howl all across the lake. One thing I’ve learned since I’ve been camping, sound travels across water like a megaphone. Myrtle sort of perks up and asked me, “what’s that howl all about? It’s a little creepy.” I explain to Myrtle that every year when we first get to camp we give a signal across the lake to the coyotes. The signal lets the coyotes know we’re back and that we won’t be invading their territory. Myrtle takes a big gulp. She swallows hard and says, I mean, what would happen if we, you know, invaded their territory? I quickly reassure her that’s not gonna happen. We are always very careful each summer to avoid the coyote’s territory. I’m thinking to myself except for last year when we got lost. No need to give Myrtle those details.
It’s time for dinner and Myrtle proudly steps forward with her bag of goodies. I’m sooooo hungry and this is going to be especially tasty tonight. In particular the rat meatloaf is what I wait for all year. Good job Myrtle! Everyone has their fill of pizza bones and left over corn dogs. By now it’s pitch black. The location that Bear chose out by the old barn is so far out there’s not a speck of light except from our campfire. Felix begins his story for the night and just about then we hear a small whimper. Felix thinks it must be Luke and maybe he’s not feeling well. Luke speaks up, no that’s not me. Fee, as we sometimes call Felix, starts up again and hears the whimper again as do the other pups. I tell everyone to be really quiet. In the still of the night with only the crackle of the campfire, the crickets and an occasional hoot owl, we hear it again. There’s something out there and it sounds like a tiny animal of some sort. Bear creeps towards the sound and the other pups follow. Everyone is so curious as to what it might be. We all gather around a little hollow in the ground of sorts and peer inside. No, it can’t be. Please tell me this is not what I’m thinking it could be!