Sleeping with Rats

As a Scout Master I got to camp with my son and his fellow scouts quite a bit as we worked on their Camping Merit Badge. We constantly sought new places to camp and have a great time.

Each year we would select a high-adventure camping location where we could spend 5 or so days as a group. We'd plan around the activities we wanted to do. 

One summer we chose to go boating and wake surfing so we selected Kalispell Island on Priest Lake in Northern Idaho. We wanted to camp out on the island for 4 nights/5 days. Since the camp sites are first come, first serve we decided to arrive on a Wednesday night. We knew the bay we wanted to camp on because it was perfect protection from boat wake and protected enough the boys could swim out.

The boys got their gear together and we boated in. They set up camp and then they took to the water. They surfed, skied, boarded and swam. 

That night we went back to camp and got the fire going. We ate and told stories and horsed around. We had a blast.

Later we retired to our tents to recharge for the next day. The leaders each had their own tent and the boys all piled into an 8-man tent. It was 2am or something before they finally got to sleep.

Early in the morning I woke needing to go to the bathroom. I couldn't hear any boys so they must have been asleep.

As I put shoes on to go relieve myself I heard something. Whatever it was scurried right by the tent. As I sat and listened, I could hear scurrying all over the place. It was kind of eerie.

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We had seen squirrels in the trees but this was different. I slowly unzipped the tent door and shined the light out. There were several rats bounding around the campsite looking for whatever food we had left out. 

Just then I heard something touch the tent low against the ground. I shined the light over to the corner and could see the tent move as a critter pushed its way under the floor. I thought about smacking it but resisted because I didn't want to make a mess on my tent.

I was kind of grossed out. I got out of the tent to go to the bathroom and could hear critters scurrying through the brush and every now and then would catch one in the open bounding to safety.

When I got back in the tent I made sure to zip all the zippers up tight and put them at the top of the tent. I definitely didn't want a rat in the tent with me. It definitely took me a while to get back to sleep.

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