In Wyoming, we have grizzly bears, and one must take certain precautions with food when in the woods. I'm pretty careful, always storing food and attractants out of reach. Out here on the coast, it's been nice not to have that pressure. While there are certainly black bears around, they seem less of a threat. As such, I've been pretty lazy with food storage. Most of the time I leave my food in by pannier next to the tent, or inside the tent itself.
Last week, I camped at a state park just north of Brookings, OR. It rained on and off all day, but the clouds broke for an hour or two. Just enough to set up camp and bike down to the beach. The one or two rays of sunshine got my spirits up and I kept cruising down a bike path that led into town. After a particularly delicious crab melt sandwich, I headed back to camp.
When I got back, I unzipped the vestibule and threw my handlebar bag into the tent. At that moment, a small, furry creature hopped out of the inside of the tent (I left the tent door open, vestibule closed). My initial thought was dog, but the creature stopped a few feet from the door, and raised its tail. It took a minute for the whole thing to come together, but I soon realized it was a skunk that just stepped out of my tent. I ran in the opposite direction as it lifted its tail. It decided not to spray myself and the entirety of my gear, and just sauntered a few more feet into the brush. For good measure, I threw a couple sticks in its general direction. It didn’t seem to care.
I prepared myself for the worst, dreading what the inside of the tent might look and smell like. The garbage bag containing fried chicken bones was open and the bones were totally consumed. Inside the tent, he went for my coveted Franz fruit pie that I had laid out in preparation for dessert. Other than that, nothing was touched, nor was there any lingering smell. SOOOOOO LUCKY! He was a very neat eater, not spilling or throwing crumbs everywhere. I gathered all the rest of the food and hung it in a tree.
My furry friend returned later that night, while I was sleeping. I could hear him breathing just outside the tent door. Luckily, I didn't have to use the wooden clubs and stick ammo I had prepared for the event.
That could have been a lot worse.