Monday, April 24, 2023

Kayak Camping Tip

Don't Camp with Cows (or Bulls)

When kayaking down rivers in North America, it is not uncommon to encounter cattle grazing in the hills and along the river banks.  They may look cute and peaceful but they are not good campsite companions.  Most wildlife will avoid humans and campsites. Cows are not wildlife. They will wander into campsites and can be quite disruptive.

One year Jeff and I were doing a self-support whitewater kayak trip on the Eel River.  We had a longer than usual day on the river with lots of headwind.  When we rolled into camp, there were a few cows grazing in the hills above the beach.  There were no signs of cows on the beach (no tracks and no cow pies).  In our wind-blown, tired, and hungry state, we decided to set up camp on the north end of the beach where there were some boulders to block the wind.  We dug a pit in the sand and got a fire going and enjoyed a tasty dinner and some choice beverages.  

campfire and kayak camp on Eel River
Kayak camping on the Eel River

After dinner it was still too windy to set up our tent so we set up our sleeping pads, bags, and bivy sacks behind the boulders.  The fire was at our feet.

That night, I awoke to a large creature sniffing around the dry bags by my head.  I nudged Jeff awake and he shot straight out of his sleeping bag with a ROAR!

The bull jumped back, ran over the remnants of our campfire and bellowing up into the hills. (we suspect he scorched his balls on our campfire).

Lesson Learned - don't camp with cows or bulls.

An angus bull resting along the Eel River.

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