Defending the Fort…Stevens

I love my husband. I love him so much. Like, I would do almost anything for him.

One of the things that I will not do is help him battle raccoons at 4 in the morning. Even if it’s maybe my fault that they’re there. (their…)

Let’s reverse:

First of all, I got married in July! (Yay!) Marc is great, the wedding was beautiful, marriage is fun, etc.

Photo Cred: Ellie Nisbet Photography. She was the best. 10/10 would recommend.

Now back to the raccoons.

Marc is taking online courses, continuing towards his dream of becoming a PE teacher. I’m working mostly from home as a freelance technical editor. Last week we thought, “Hey, our duplex is nice, but you know what’s also nice? Going literally anywhere.” So, ignoring the frigid forecast, we booked a campsite for Fort Stevens, forced 2 bicycles, a cooler, and a bin of camping gear into the back of my Subaru, and headed to the coast.

Oh, also, we did all of our packing and traveling after Marc stayed up until 5 am the night before trying to finish up his homework. He loves me.

We got to Fort Stevens, realized we’d forgotten pillows and had to make a quick stop at Fred Meyer to buy new ones. Because we’re planners.

Back at camp, we set up our tent, then went for a quick bike ride. Well, we thought it would be quick—we got a little extra adventurous and ended up mountain biking on an unknown trail for about an hour. It was great, but we had thought we’d only be gone 20 minutes and didn’t pack any water, and since Marc was running on almost 0 sleep, he was ready for dinner and bed by the time we got back.

Coffenbury Lake. Admittedly, this picture was taken the next day on a different route…but we also left our cameras at the campsite and I just feel like now is the time for a picture.

We made a delicious dinner of nachos on the grill. I made two s’mores. The temperature dropped. We said, “Let’s get in our sleeping bags!”

Marc put away the bikes, camping gear, and cooler while I changed into warm clothes. Then he went to get into his sleeping clothes while I put away all the dinner stuff and stuffed our trash in a plastic bag. I set that bag on the picnic table and thought, “I’d better remember to put that in the car before I go to bed,” then went to stand over the fire again.

You have to understand—it was really cold. Like, 30 degrees. Fahrenheit! So yes, my sleeping bag and the two handwarmers that I stuffed in it somehow distracted me from putting away the trash bag. What’s the worst that could happen?

At approximately 4 in the morning, I started to hear…things…outside the tent. I wasn’t all that interested in investigating. I’ve never heard of a bear attack at Fort Stevens, and honestly, what am I going to do against a bear? I resolved to ignore the rustling.

At about this time, Marc stepped outside to go to the bathroom. While I was able to ignore the noises, he was less able to ignore the family of raccoons that was tearing into our trash bag, eating the remains of our nachos and Subway sandwiches.

“Get away!” he shouted, and then I heard a thud.

I thought about going to help him. I really did. But I sat in the dark of my tent, my feet finally toasty for the first time all night, and thought, “Do I want to get rabies? Or frostbite?”

After 10 minutes of listening to my husband do battle, I finally opened the tent and shined a flashlight out the door. The raccoons had just fled, and Marc had picked up all the remaining trash and secured it in our car. Our campsite was littered with firewood—those thuds I’d heard were pieces that Marc had thrown to scare away the trash pandas. He was also holding an axe, which he had used to keep the critters at bay when they tried to sneak up on him as he gathered the garbage.

I felt terrible. All those years in Girl Scouts and I made such a rookie mistake with the trash bag? I’d contributed to a wildlife/pest problem at the campground, potentially endangering those poor raccoons. And I’d cost my husband some precious sleep.

“I’m so sorry, Marc,” I mumbled as he climbed back in his sleeping bag.

He shrugged. “Honestly, it was kind of fun,” he said, then settled into his new pillow and fell asleep.

The bane of beasts at the wreck of the Peter Iredale the next afternoon.

Published by Andrea Umfleet

Writer, Backpacker, Freelance Technical Editor. Owner of Trask Mountain Editing. I like the Oxford comma.

4 thoughts on “Defending the Fort…Stevens

      1. Jane!! I miss seeing you too 🙂 we need to start book club again! Even if it’s virtual! I’ll text you about it, since this is probably the worst forum to plan this on, lol.


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