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A good ol' fashioned poop story
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“So I've been wondering whether to share this little anecdote from my last trip and figured, why not?
So, first off, a little background on the common raven. Ravens, crows and jays are among the more intelligent members of the bird community. One thing they like to do is cache food. Often, they'll hide seeds or other bits of food in hundreds of different places, remembering where each is located. Except, they're pretty smart birds... so when, say, one raven sees another raven burying something, it makes a mental note to go raid the cache as soon as the other raven leaves...
So, on my last backpacking trip to the Maze District of Canyonlands, we ended up running into a pair of ravens on day 2 that followed us for the entire week. This alone was pretty weird, but it wasn't until one of the last nights that we realized what they were doing.
We were sitting at camp after a day's exploration, and my brother went off to do his business behind a far-off juniper. Shortly after, while we were enjoying an evening scotch with dinner, we noticed the ravens. Both of them had landed between us and the now forever-befouled juniper tree and were slowly, almost casually walking toward the juniper. One noticed we were watching it and I swear immediately acted interested in something on the ground at its feet. You could almost hear it whistling casually and inconspicuously.
Eventually, they had walked behind the juniper, and from where we sat we could see a great flapping of wings and hear a good deal of commotion, as though they were fighting over something. "There's no way," we thought...
We were wrong. The ravens had been following us because they were raiding our cat-holes. My brother went to inspect his and found it nearly completely empty. Despite being buried a foot or more deep and often covered by rocks, the ravens were digging up our poop and, presumably, eating it. For several days.
This was bad enough but, like any good story, it gets worse. Later the next morning, it was my turn to find a juniper and dig a hole. I'd just, well, commenced, when I heard the familiar swish of large wings, and both ravens landed no more than ten feet away from me on the ground and then just sat there. Both watching me intently, croaking and cooing while I did my business. Obviously, this made for a strange experience.
"screw you guys" I think and, after cleaning up, find a huge heavy rock to place firmly over the hole. "There's no way they can get into this..."
Before setting off, we had to walk a half-mile in the other direction to the nearest spring to filter our gallons of water for the next couple days. It probably took us an hour or so to filter the filthy water and return to camp. Once back at camp, I unzipped my backpack and started jamming the water bottles into it when the smell hits me.
"You have to be #@%#%$^ kidding me"...
Nope. I look closer and there, right on top of my pack, is a three-toed footprint. A brown three-toed footprint. I check my hands... yep, I'd touched it. We inspect our gear - there are prints on both our packs, on our stove and cook pot, and one on top of our tent.
We used most of our water to clean up, swearing profusely, then had to return to the spring (WITH our gear this time) to fill up again. The whole time, we could see two black silhouettes a couple hundred feet above us on the rim of the canyon, cawing and croaking and I swear to god laughing...
“LOL! Well, that's just crappy. Best trip report in a looong time! Thanks for the giggles...at your expense.”
“LMAO!!! This made me laugh 'til it hurt!”
“That's awesome!!!! I mean in a tragically gross way but WOW! they must have learned this over time to follow hikers. Now is what you're calling a raven the same as what I would call a crow here in Arkieland?”
“raven is a bit larger than a crow and has more of a "grok" type call - I love watching them play in the wind up on the ridge”
“Anyways, cool story. glad you shared it!”
“Dang, thanks for the good story.”
“Great story! ..oh course you do realize they were hoping for your untimely death and a real buffet. "Birds gotta eat, same as worms"”
“I guess that's why you're supposed to burn or pack out all TP on the Maze - I could see a couple of hungry ravens making quite a mess of a piece of used TP”
“They didn't happen to squawk "nevermore", did they?”
“Oh hell, that was awesome... LMBO”
“once within a canyon dreary
while I imbibed, weak and weary
over many a quaint and silty cupfull
of plastic bottle rye
as I reclined, nearly napping
suddenly there came a rapping
as of someone gently crapping
crapping by yon juniper
... sorry that's all I've got”
“It's bad enough that they poop on your car....but this is just disgusting.”
“Just lookn for some tush
....Had similar incidents with Coyotes raiding our cat-holes”
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