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 know...like 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.
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.
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 wall...like 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.
"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.
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.