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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stupid camping tips: Never get this close to an elk, even if it's kinda cute

It was another tough week in the news. We almost didn’t need a bombshell news release from Olympic National Park to ruin our weekend with yet another example of how Mother Nature is revolting. 
The Olympics don’t have any dangerous animals like grizzlies or rattlers but tourists get into trouble anyway. 
It seems that a number of the “beautiful and iconic” Roosevelt Elk that inhabit the Hoh Rain Forest are showing signs of becoming “habituated or abnormally comfortable with the presence of humans. People have been approaching the elk too closely, risking serious injury. This creates a dangerous situation for both the visitors and the elk.” 
It is a crisis that has prompted Park officials to recommend a safe distance of at least 100 feet when viewing elk and other wildlife. 
We put that in the “Duh” file. 
It’s yet another example of senseless government warnings like the labels that tell us not to stick our head in a bucket or put fish hooks in our mouths. 
Does the government really think we are that stupid? Yes.
The Roosevelt elk is a sensitive, intelligent woodland creature. A bull elk can be an extremely unpredictable 1,000-pound animal with a mess of ivory tipped spikes on his head. 
Moving closer than 100 feet away from an elk is not a good idea unless it is elk hunting season. Then it is almost impossible to get within 1,000 yards of them.  
Elk may be just dumb animals. But they are often a lot smarter than humans. The elk are quite aware that there is no elk hunting season in the park so you would be wise to keep your distance. 
Here are some other stupid camping tips:
— Stay away from the skunks. Skunks are sensitive, intelligent woodland creatures but they can be very territorial and you never know if you’re camping in their territory.
— Don’t use gasoline to start your campfire. We’ve all seen it done but gasoline is more explosive than dynamite. 
— Don’t start your campfire with dynamite either and remember . . .
— Try to keep your campfire under an acre.
— Don’t drink the water. I used to run float trips where you could see a majestic Roosevelt elk in the river every day. It was dead. Our waters are polluted with unpronounceable bacterium even when there isn’t a dead elk soaking in it. 
— Don’t eat the seafood, unless you feed some to your mother-in-law first and keep an eye on her for paralytic shellfish poisoning for a day or so. 
— While you’re at the beach, don’t sunbathe on barnacles. 
— Don’t play on beach logs on an incoming tide.
— Don’t go swimming in a rip tide.
— Don’t ask the Park ranger what the elevation is. It is wrong to bait the Park rangers. They are sensitive intelligent woodland creatures. 
— While in the backcountry, do not demand that the Park rangers airlift you out for a bad case of blisters. 
While visiting areas outside of Olympic National Park it is advised that you not set up your tent in the middle of a logging road.
— If you should encounter some loggers remember, they are also sensitive intelligent woodland creatures with dynamite. 
It is wrong to bait the loggers. 
— Do not ask if they are the lumberjacks on TV.
— Do not ask them if you can borrow a chainsaw or if they’ve seen any Northern spotted owls lately. 
It is sincerely hoped that by observing these and other stupid camping tips the tourists will survive long enough to leave.


  1. Wow, such a very cute article suitable for camping enthusiasts, I am hoping that one day I would be able to get a close encounter with the wild animals :) I never saw one except for a small snake :)

  2. Your picture of the Elk is amazing! The article is very funny and makes me feel better about the stupid things I have done on a camping trip. For goodness sake do not feed shetland ponies, they are fast and they bite. And they bite at about bottom height.