Steve was in Ghost Bay by 6:30 in the morning and heard quite a commotion in the woods. From all the racket, he prepared to finally get a glimpse of a bear or an elk at the Long Lake watering hole. And. And…
No bear. No elk. Three raccoons. Possibly a parent and two almost-grown kits. Two of the raccoons were crashing through the woods, tumbling and nipping at each other. The third, possibly the parent, wore the raccoon equivalent of a long-suffering look. They worked the shoreline, presumably looking for tasty nibbles. Worms, crayfish, clams. Yum.
When you paddle in to Ghost Bay quietly in your kayak, sometimes you are rewarded by seeing stuff you definitely don’t see down state. I’d met this family on an earlier visit. Then, the three kits were stacked up neatly and vertically like the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” gang. They were hiding in plain sight not quite behind a smallish cedar tree on the shore of the bay. Quite a bunch, with their bandit masks and all. Mom was drinking when I arrived and she scampered up the same cedar tree. But the little ones must have been curious. We examined each other for a few minutes. The next weekend, Steve snapped this photo. I think it’s the three kits, but I’m not sure. Mostly my exposure to raccoons has been to wage the urban battle of keeping them out of garbage cans. I gave up and moved the garbage cans into the garage.
Once, when I was little and staying at my grandparents’ farm near Litchfield, I woke up to a terrible commotion of dogs and a loud cry that to me sounded for all the world like a baby crying. After a bit the crying stopped and so did the barking. In the morning my grandfather found a dead raccoon that had been killed by the dogs. They weren’t our dogs. I don’t care much for dogs. But I know I can’t hold them all responsible for one hot night a long time ago when I waited to find out who was OK and who wasn’t.