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[pct-l] Re: Night Noises

What a nice feeling to read that so many other people
have a hard time sleeping out in the woods, especially
on the first or second night out.  I thought I was a
freak; after hiking thousands of miles, most of them
alone, one would think that I would be seasoned enough
not to lie awake wondering and spooking at every
little noise.  But I often do this very thing unless
utterly exhausted.  A couple of observations:

When on my PCT thru-hike attempt, I nearly always
slept outside on the ground with no tarp/tent over me
-- at least while in southern Cal.  I had only slept
out two times before on AT balds, so I was naturally
fearful about everthing in SoCal from lions to
tarantulas.  But when I was actually lying on the
ground under the stars, I had virtually none of the
nighttime jitters that I have in a tent.  My guess is
that, because I could see all around me in one turn of
the head, nothing was hidden or mysterious.  And to
prove the point, we never had any animals bother us
except a night hawk that dive-bombed me one evening.

For another illustration of nighttime animal visits, I
went hiking in East Texas, where there is no stable
black bear population, nothing at all to fear.  I lay
in my tent petrified for several hours that night at
an animal that was rooting loudly around my tent. 
Suddenly, it must have spooked, and I could hear a
mini-galloping noise coming closer, closer, BOOM,
crashed right into my tent.  I looked up at the mesh
where the animal was now gathering itself after the
shock of running into my tent, shaking with fright: 
big ole armadillo!

Not long after that, I went hiking in Shenandoah
National Park, and following regulations, bushwacked
quite a distance from the AT to set up my tent.  I
slept skittishly, but I heard not one strange or
creepy sound all night.  Nothing.  Woke up in the
morning, crawled out of the tent, stood up, stretched
my arms over my head, and what appears not 10 feet
away but a big black bear peeking up over the
knee-high undergrowth.  The bear had been nested down
10 ft from my tent and had done it without making one
alarming noise.  The bear bolted and it wasn't until I
could see its butt running away that my jaw dropped
open in amazement.

So, my experiences with night time noises have never
seemed logical. 


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