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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I finally got the pictures from my little camera from my first actual camping night on my trip out to see the Grand Canyon and points in between..
This was in Arkansas at the Village Creek State Park campgrounds.
I arrived later than I wanted, in the early evening. I started to set up camp next to a couple in a RV who had built a nice fire and were nice enough to talk with me and answer some questions. However, I quickly decided that the smoke blowing my way was going to be a problem, so I moved away.
The next site seemed OK and I started my very first camp set up of my trip and it would be the first time ever sleeping in my new tent! I immediately could hear the mosquitoes buzzing about my head. I was in the midst of a swarm! I wished I had that fire blowing smoke on my tent now :shocked: Fortunately, I had the foresight to apply a generous coating off DEET based repellant and it kept me from getting bites.

Anyway, I got the tent set up and my pad, sleeping bag, etc. in it, and began to prepare my evening meal. I ate and cleaned camp, etc. Went to sleep but could not fall sleep for a long time. After I had slept for a while, I was awakened by the loudest, most unearthly owl(?) call I'd ever heard. I have lived in the mountains of WNC so I've heard many owl calls including bard owls, great horned owls, etc. But I never heard a call like this before. I was nervous anyway and it scared me a little bit, specially since there was also the sound of something dying or being killed in between the strange calls. I don't mind saying that it took me another long while to get back to sleep. LOL!




And this stagnant creek in the back explained the mosquitoes...



My first camping meal!

 

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Hmmm, Arkansas, eh? You do realize that's a ways from the Grand Canyon?

Trying to follow your other posts, this was on the way to Arizona, and you've posted other stops already? This was just your first night on the way West, right?

When setting up camp, I try to pick a site 100 to 200 ft from water hoping for less bugs. Sometimes you can't help it, but I'll move elsewhere and save those water sites for others. Just another hint about selecting a campground. I would have moved from the smokey one too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, that was my first stop. I could not post the photos because I had no way to transfer those photos to my laptop. I had forgotten my card reader for the small camera which I used in this case.

I had no idea about the creek until I had already started setting up and it was already too dark to look for other sites... I post processed the photos to increase exposure. It was much darker than it would appear from looking at the pics.

Yes, you are right and it has been a learning experience for me. I'm a slow learner though, I did not choose the ideal site first several times... I relocated the camp at least 4 times during my trip. It does not pay to be in a hurry to set up camp. I could have spent more time evaluating the available sites and saved myself a lot of work....
 

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Thanks for letting us know how it went, and great pics. I have been to Village Creek before, I am not that far away from there, been a while though. Looks like you definitely setup on a skeeter hole :). I will say if you have ever been real close to an owl and had a stare down, its even spookier than their holler. I found myself in a stare down when it got daylight one morning in my deerstand, neither of us knew the other was there until daylight and I dont think either of us were thrilled with it. Man it freaked me out, especially when he started hollering and it was LOUD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
owl screech

LOL! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one to be unnerved by the owl calls. Even after living in this old earth more than 60 years and having heard many different owl calls before, they can still scare the stuffing out of you. Specially when they happen really close to you. Man, they are *loud* and unearthly sounding. And yes, the owl's stare is very weird. And when you walk around them, their heads turn almost 360 deg! Then then they snap back around in an instant. They seem to be able to keep their huge, unblinking eyes on you continuosly.
 

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Bears always seem to be an easy conversation when camping, but we mustn't forget all the other creatures that are out there. An Owl doesn't bother humans much but they stick around because of other creatures that Man attracts like rodents and all the other predators that like rodents, like coyotes, bobcats, etc.

Too many times, I see humans feeding those cute squirrels, chipmunks, etc. and are ignorant to the danger they are inviting if not for themselves, but for others. There's a good chance those owls staring you down or shrieking are taking care of something that was attracted to your camp. It just ain't about the bears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey, I feed no animals. I don't carry any extra food or junk treats. I have just enough to feed myself LOL! Actually I lost about 3~4 Lb. in my trip ;). I definitely wont feed any wildlife because of the problems that creates for the wildlife as well as the human visitors. I guess I'm a little bit unusual in that respect. My camping style this time resembled more a backpacking experience than a car camping experience. But I hear you, even if I take a truck camper or RV, I will not feed the animals on purpose or through sloppy camp manners.
 

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I realize you are actually in the majority that camp like you and I. Leave the wildlife alone. Believe me this is the majority.

Fortunately, the inconsiderate and ignorant in how to act around nature are in the minority, but it doesn't take much effort to screw things up. While not as bad, there are many that don't clean up thoroughly after themselves, but I am a perfectionist in that matter, and know plenty of others who feel the same way (I suspect you are this way as well).

I find that I will lose some weight on outings because I not only eat better (no junk), but I also am exerting an enormous amount of energy all day long from being active. I feel better for it. I just don't normally sit at home, watching television with an owl shrieking near me. When I go to "their" house (bear, owl, deer, rodent) they get to be allowed to live the way they like since I am the visitor and have the responsibility to keep them safe. I used to have a terrible first nights when out and about, but after this many years, I sleep like a baby no matter where I am or what is out there so I got used to it. So far so good. I only come back with memories or pictures and maybe an occasional bug bite.

Stay safe, have a safe trip home and I hope you find some way to get to the Grand Canyon. If you liked Sedona, you'll be absolutely flabbergasted by "the canyon".
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks Art, sorry for the itinerary confusion. I have actually completed my trip and I am back home now. I posted my "First Night" experience after the second, third and fourth because I did not get the photos out of the memory card on time. I did have quite a wonderful experience. Loved the grand canyon although I did not get to the North rim as I originally planned (too doggone cold).
I'll continue to post my trip in true sequence on another thread and will post some more photos as well. The GC is magnificent. The other places That I went to were also quite nice!
My itinerary looked like this:
1. Atlanta to Village Creek Park in AR via AL, MS, TN (camped)
2. AR to Red Rock Canyon State Park in OK (camped)
3. OK to Albuquerque (3 nights as a guest of friends)
4. Albuquerque to Desert View in the GC via Flagstaff (spelled it right this time) (camped 2 nights)
5. Desert View to Sedona via Canyon Village. (one hotel night in Sedona)
6. Sedona to El Morro NM (camped)
7. El Morro to El Malpais NM (camped)
8. El Malpais to Lake Meredith Recreation Area in Fritch, TX (about 30 miles North of Amarillo (camped)
9. Lake Meredith to Conway, AR (one hotel night)
10. Conway AR to Atlanta, GA via TN,MS,AL (home)

I spent 2 nights in hotels (they all suck!) and 3 nights with friends (great stay!). The rest of the nights I camped out. I wish I could have camped out the 2 hotel nights, but the weather was just too rough. The stay in Albuquerque with friends was really a nice break. I got lucky with that as they put me in a little studio with kitchen and bathroom! Beautiful, airy, very bright place.
 

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Nice... that itinerary shows you camped most of the time. That's great and helps to keep the cost down and I'm glad we were able to help! Next time a heater for in the tent and maybe some warmer clothing and you'll have a longer time at the Grand Canyon!

Thanks for sharing.
 
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