David, Lukas, Julie and I headed for the hills Friday afternoon. Actually, we didn't leave until around 7:30pm, because David and Lukas are disorganized bastards. We arrived at Loon Lake around 9:30pm to find that the site David had reserved had been given to someone else. Luckily, there was enough room on the other two campsites for us to set up our tents. I was camped on a site with Mitch, his friends Albert, Miles and Tony, Bryce and Greg, plus David W. and Lukas. Across the road was David S. and Larry, their friend Andy, and Julie and Niki.
So, Friday night the fifteen of us sat around the campfire being way too loud way too late. At around eleven the crazy old man in charge of the campground came by to tell us to keep quiet, but accidentally leaned on his truck's air horn in the middle of his warning. But I think anyone interested in a good night's sleep was definitely in the wrong campground.
I got to sleep in my own private tent for a change. Well, I tried to sleep. Sometime in the early hours, I was awoken by a man yelling and banging on pots and pans, followed by a woman screaming. It sounded as if it was about two campsites down. Shortly after that I heard a yelping dog, and could only imagine it was being eaten by a bear. I didn't sleep much after that.
Cooking breakfast outdoors is one of the best things about camping. We had lots of eggs and bacon, and Mitch even made pancakes. We all compared notes regarding the strange nighttime noises. I think Andy and David S. were more freaked out than I was.
We spent most of the day Saturday at the lake. Being that the lake is at 6,500 feet above sea level, the water is a little cold. But once you jump in and get used to the temperature, it's pretty refreshing. Then Anna showed up, and that was a lot of fun. The crazy old man managed to find us another nearby campsite, so Anna set up her tent there, and David W. and Lukas were relocated to it. We chilled at the camp for a few hours, played some cards and had some lunch, then we went back down to the lake again and swam some more. I shot a couple rolls of film.
While we were at the lake, a rattlesnake found its way into a tent on a neighboring campsite. Luckily the poisonous snake was discovered and executed with a rake. David S. shot an MPG of the snake's final moments. Hopefully I can get that online soon.
Later on we set up a campfire at the new site. As it got darker we all ended up around the fire again, cooking weenies and roasting marshmallows. Julie and I took a walk down to the restroom, and on the way back nearly stumbled into a bear invasion on the campsite between two of our capsites. We talked to the guy who saw the bear, and he described it as at least 500 lbs, 7 feet tall, and silent. The poor guy threw all his food into the trash bin to keep the bear away. Julie and I told the story to our fellow campers, and the insanity began. Every half hour or so the bear would find its way into another site, there would be yelling, banging of pots and pans, and sometimes even a gunshot (hopefully into the air). Half of our group would run towards the noise to hopefully get a glimpse of the beast, or at least talk to the eyewitnesses. "He went that way. He was huge." Andy saw the bear near one of our campsites and confirmed that it was indeed a big mo fo. I personally never saw him.
After I went to bed, the noise seemed to never end. The yelling, screaming, banging of pots and pans, horns honking and car alarms. It definitely sounded as if the bear was making his way around the campsite, and he seemed to be getting closer to ours. I was really tired, so at this point I was more annoyed than frightened.
Sunday morning we traded bear stories again. David and Anna had to scare a bear out of their campsite, although David said it was smaller than the one described by other campers. Anna was extreemly freaked out. In fact, she packed up and left camp before any of us had breakfast. Mitch said the bear definitely went through our campsite, and the last alarm I heard was from his truck, right outside my tent.
So, we all packed up and went home very, very exhausted. I felt like a complete wreck on Sunday, and I moped around the house all day taking occasional catnaps. I'd say the trip was definitely fun overall, and we had a little more adventure than we'd bargained for. Next time, I'd rather go someplace where we can relax and sleep through the night. Someplace with warmer water and no bears.