So we’ve had minor brushes with wildlife this trip. It’s to be expected; we’re camping.
We’ve generally gotten used to camping up north where you have to drive on the edge of your seat because of moose and pack the food properly because of black bear.
Back home in RI, we’ve got deer and coyote galore, and I even had the scare of my life one night in Burlingame, one of the tamest campgrounds you can go to. I got up to pee during the night, and I left the tent semi unzipped. I knew there were coyotes out and about, and that was on my mind when I suddenly heard a huge crash in the trees right over my head. My only thought was that wily coyote had some how bypassed me and had grabbed Mr. Toddler (he was Mr. Baby then) from his bed. I went diving back into the tent, where everyone was sleeping soundly. I zipped the tent frantically, still scared to death when I heard a “Hoo, hoo hoo-hoooo” directly over the tent.
An owl 🦉
On the two nights we spent in North Carolina in the cabin, we saw absolutely nothing, heard absolutely nothing. It was like the place was devoid of any signs of wildlife.
We arrived at the site just south of Florence, South Carolina, I was certain there would be something. The ranger came by to check us in and I asked her about wildlife. No bear ever, she said but tons of deer. Snakes would come out in warmer weather but that was about the shape of it. We didn’t expect the stray cat that went tearing through the bushes and eventually got caught on our trail cam.
Upon arrival at the guard shack at the Osceola National Forest, we saw a spider 🕷 on the wall the size of Miss Baby’s hand.
We had just set up camp when we heard a massive ruckus in the brush surrounding us. I didn’t think it was a bear or anything but still I was curious. Eric went off to investigate and it was an armadillo (sorry, iPhone doesn’t have an armadillo emoji 🤬) . Mr. 9YO and I encountered one later on the road, and scared the crap out of it when we happened upon it and it tore off into the trees.
The Osceola sight also had tons of birds, butterflies and squirrels.
From there we moved on to St George Island. We saw a whole host of birds including pelicans, gulls, pipers, cardinals, turkey vultures and a bald eagle (which I got a photo of on the real camera). This is not to mention the woodland creature scene I discussed on Day 16. There were gator warnings all over but we have yet to see one.
We had a fire that night and had found a good size branch that we threw in. A few minutes later, I noticed that the end of the branch that was sticking out of the fire was smoking.
“Look at the end of the branch.” I said to Eric. “That’s odd that it’s smoking.”
Then, we noticed the ants🐜 . Hundreds of them, pouring out of the branch which must have been hollow and their home. Thankfully they DID NOT swarm us Hollywood style and consume us in seconds, but eventually got their wits about them and scurried off into our last bundle of firewood, which we left at the site when we left.
Our next stop was Florida Caverns State Park. We saw a lizard 🦎 on a pavilion post and of course I didn’t have a camera on me. There were few mosquitoes but plenty of little beetles and caterpillars. I was sitting at the picnic table and felt something on my foot. I looked down and there was a caterpillar inching its way along. I felt kinda bad booting it off. There was a whole family of armadillos right next to the tent and made quite the disturbance 😂
Sidebar: When I was younger, I saw something on TV that told a story about someone who got bitten by a black widow spider in an outhouse. Since then, I absolutely HATE using outhouses and every time I use a bathroom I think of that story.
The Caverns Park had a modern bathhouse but still in the middle of the woods. After utilizing the facilities, I went to the sink and something jumped out from under the toilet. I reeled back like “Something was under there the whole time I was sitting there?!”
It was a frog. 🐸