Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why Skunks Love Me - Part Two

I decided to do this series after my first post about camping where a friend freaks out over a few skunks. I didn't think they were a big deal. Then I thought I should explain why I don't think skunks are a big deal.

This is part two of my explanation. If you have not read part one, you should do that first.

This part of my skunk history happened many years later. Once again, no idea how old I was...let's just say I was thirteen for the sake of the story and for fun.

My dad decided to take me and my two younger siblings camping. My sister and I packed some basic survival stuff into a backpack. You granola bars, water, a pocket knife, a few flashlights, and not much else. My dad threw food and sleeping gear into the back of his car and we took off for the mountains and adventure.

We picked out a campsite and then the three kids wandered off to hike and explore. We came across this gully, steep sides made of clay and sand on both sides higher than our heads.

Not the safest route to take in a place known for flash floods, but we didn't see much else. Even this gully turned out to be rather dull, but we hiked on.

After several minutes, my little brother turns to me.

Brother: I have to go to the bathroom.

Me: Okay. Go around the corner and just go.

Brother: No.

Me: Okay. Climb up there and go behind some sagebrush.

Brother: No...I have to go number two.

Me: Let's head back then and you can go in the camp bathrooms.

Brother: I'm not going to make it.

Me: Great...

I scramble up the bank of the gully to see if there is any good place for him to go. What I find is a perfect stone toilet at the crest of the gully it was meant to be, like it was waiting for him.

This spot looks down on a stretch of the wash below, but we hadn't seen another soul the entire hike, so I figured it would be fine. I did a quick check for scorpions and snakes before I let him sit down though.

Then I gave him some tissues from our trusty backpack and climbed back down. My sister and I started walking back the way we had come...had to give my little brother some privacy.

We followed the curving gully down maybe ten yards, well out of eye and ear shot, when we heard voices ahead. People were coming up the gully. My sister and I looked at each other and started giggling. It sounded like the people were several minutes away, so we turned around and started heading back up to warn my little brother.

Turns out, those people weren't hiking. They were mountain biking. They flew past my sister and I as we hurried to help my poor brother from the embarrassment. My sister and I gasped in surprise. There was nothing we could do. My little brother would be traumatized for life.

We started running, trying to keep up with the bicyclists. They sped around the corner. We didn't hear the shouts and screams we expected.

"Hey. Hi."
"Hello there."
"How's it going?"

We come around the bend and find my brother sitting on the edge of the gully, greeting the mountain bikers, waving, smiling, with his pants on.

Me: Oh. Thank goodness. You finished then?

Brother: Nope. Still going.

Me: What?

Sister: Eeeeeeewwww!

My little brother had heard voices, pulled his pants as far up as he could, leaned forward, and acted like he was just resting, waiting on his slow brother and sister to catch up.

I know. You are all wondering why I shared this. You think I'm disgusting. You think my little brother will never forgive me. You also wonder when the skunks will come in.

I shared this because it happened. I am a little disgusting at times. My little brother will forgive me because this is one of the moments that made me love and respect him. His resourcefulness, quick thinking, and calm under pressure impressed me deeply. I love my little brother for these things and more. Seriously, he rocks. The skunks come in soon.

We made our way back to camp, started a fire, and ate dinner. My dad's dutch oven beef stew is one of the best things on this planet. He dumped the leftovers into the fire pit and got out our sleeping gear. My dad was a boy scout, in the army, and eventually in the CIA. So, you would expect him to be prepared. Turns out he packed a tarp and some bedsheets for us to sleep in. I don't know what he was thinking.

We laid down the tarp and pulled the sheets over us, shivering and clutching the linens to keep siblings from pulling them off.

I shivered myself to sleep, but then something brushed against my face. I pushed it away. A few minutes later something brushed my face again, something soft and fluffy. I thought my little sister was playing games, opened my eyes, and looked toward her. Her eyes were open too, but with terror, not the evil-torment-my-brother-for-fun look I expected.

The creatures crawled over us several times, continuing to brush tails across my face. They were drawn to the leftovers in the fire pit, digging and scratching to get every bit. For some reason they seemed to think crawling over the sleeping humans was the best route. Once none were on us, my sister and I scrambled away and threw bits of gum to keep the skunks away from us and our slumbering brother and father.

Skunks like gum. Bet you didn't know that. They raced each other to check out each little glob we tossed into the forest. We kept this up most of the night and made four or five new friends. Just one more reason skunks love me...I give them gum. Still jealous? I know you are. Quit trying to deny it.


The Vegetable Assassin said...

Dude, that's disturbing. Not your bro pooping in the company of cyclists so much as skunks walking all over you. ICK! :)

I once pooped in the woods when I was about seven and fell over and landed in some stinging nettles, ass first. Hmmm. THAT was fun. :)

Bryan M. White said...

You draw a fine looking skunk.

Michael Offutt said...

lol...this blog is hilarious. You should give your brother a copy of "Everything Poops" (Children's book). The only encounter I ever had with a skunk was when it got stuck in the main line of the irrigation pipe. My dad and I elevated the thing perpendicular to the ground and still couldn't shake it out. Finally, we had to just attach it to the pump and turn the water on and out it washed all wet and disheveled.

Chanel said...

If you attract skunks wherever you go...I wouldn't recommend going on a romantic camping get away. A woman might not understand and freak your little friends.

Brent Wescott said...

I dig the first painting the best. Great landscape with minimal lines. I'm not going to comment on the rest, and by not commenting, I'm actually commenting. You dig?
It Just Got Interesting

dbs said...

*jealous face*
P.S. This was fantastic.

Apoliticism said...

Who in their right mind would think to throw skunks gum to keep them away? Yes you are awesome and we love you more than dirt.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Veggie Killer- That sounds much worse than in front of cyclists. The skunks crawling on me is much less disturbing than you would think, but you have to wait for part three to see why.

Bryan- Thank you. I have had too many opportunities to see them up close.

Michael- Thanks! That sounds like a fun story too...poor skunk though.

Chanel- I have taken to using tents more often and am trying to build a teardrop camper in my garage so they can't get to me any more. Ü

Brent- Thanks...I think. What does that mean? Did the decline in craftmanship horrify you so much that you can't comment? Or, did the awesomeness overwhelm you to the point you can not comment?

dbs- Thank you! And so glad to have you reading!

Jared- A thirteen year old boy with few options. Ü I love you more than lemurs.

Michael Offutt said...

BTW...the furniture you restore looks really professionally done. That's impressive work.

Chanel said...


Mine is better than yours because it has three dogs instead of two.

Chanel said...


Charlie Pulsipher said...

Wow! Thanks Michael. Since that will very shortly be my main source of income, your comment means more than you know. Gives me hope that I won't starve...

Charlie Pulsipher said...

HAhahahah! Dogs! That is what happens when you try to hard to one up me Chanel. Ü

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Too hard. Dang! Ü

Chanel said...

HAHAHAHAHA! That is what happens when you try TOO HARD to one up my one up!


Alex's outlook said...

It's things like this that make you my favorite! hahaha so funny!

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Pooping anywhere you arent supposed to = bad at the time, awesome in future stories and apparently blog posts.

Yet another reason why I hate camping.

Chanel said...


I win.

Julia Smith said...

Hi - I've popped over from Michael Offutt's blog. Loved your story, and your brother's unexpected conversation with the mountain bikers.

Your skunk visitors reminded me of a girl guide camping experience where an animal slunk beneath the tent wall and chose my sleeping bag for a bed - while I was in it. Turned out it was a cat from a sort-of nearby house, but I didn't know that in the dark. Happy to report there was no screaming from yours truly.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Alex- Thank you. I will miss working with you.

Brahm- Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I love camping, but it is true that many mishaps come from camping. More fuel for funny stories.

Chanel- :P This time...

Julia Smith- Michael is so nice to send people my way. Thank you for coming by. I probably would have screamed. I don't like unknown furries in my sleeping bag.

Candice said...

Your skunk stories remind me of the first house the Husband and I bought together. It's kind of a long story, but the shortened version is: We had a family of skunks living in our back yard. Apparently the mother thought the space underneath our unused pool deck was the perfect place to make her nest. The babies were oh so adorable, but I never dared to get face to face with any of them.

Either way, I'm impressed by your skunk-whispering abilities. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installation of your skunk stories!

Michael Offutt said...

Hey Charlie, I awarded you the "Stylish Blogger Award".

Just Me said...

That's so cool. I actually think skunks are adorable.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

Candice- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. The babies are adorable as they waddle around. You will not be disappointed with part three...soon.

Michael- Thanks. I got to take some time and decide what to do with it, but you will get noted and thanked even if I break most of the rules.

Just Me- Thank you so much and they really can be.

Anonymous said...

why not:)

Daniel Porter said...

I just had a skunk last night run up to me in my backyard patio chair and crawl on my leg!!! It is insanity!!

Daniel Porter said...

I just had a skunk last night run up to me in my backyard patio chair and crawl on my leg!!! It is insanity!!

Charlie Pulsipher said...

That's crazy Daniel. What did you do?

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