Friday, April 7, 2017

A Hoard of Rats

I was camping in the Florida Keys one winter. I managed to survive the large snakes and even larger alligators as well as the scorpions which would get in my shoes at night but one experience I will never forget. My camp site was next to an old rock quarry which had filled with water and made a good place for swimming and getting water from. There was also an old dump sight close to this quarry with piles of stoves and fridges and other junk. It had been there for a while but nothing new had been added to it for a long time.

 One day a fellow shows up and tells me that they were going to clean up the dump and burn some of the junk so I better move my tent. So I gathered up all of my belongings and moved a few hundred yards back into the woods. That day they started burning the garbage and I thought nothing about it until I climbed into my tent at night.

As soon as it got dark and I was falling asleep my tent became covered with hundreds of rats. I guess they had moved out of the dump because of the fire and we're just wondering around looking for food. They were everywhere climbing up my ropes and over the top of the tent. I shook as many as I could off and started a fire and stayed up all night hoping they wouldn't return.

They seemed to be gone so the next night I stayed in the same place thinking they had moved on to another dump or something but no, again as it got dark they all returned bringing some of their friends as it seemed there was more than ever now. I again shook them off the tent and got a fire going. When the morning came I packed up my tent and headed for a new place far from those rats.

As I was walking down the highway wondering if I should return to another camping spot where I had been previously, there on the highway near to that place was a dead 11 foot alligator which had crawled out from the mangroves only a few feet from where I had been camping a few weeks previously. I decided my Florida camping adventure had gone on long enough and headed back home.

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