Microadventure #10: A night in the woods

June, My Year of Microadventure - #YYOM

Woods can be pretty creepy places in the daytime, let alone the nighttime. But that didn’t stop me: I’d decided that June’s microadventure was going to be a night in the woods, and that’s exactly what I did.

Enjoying a beer in the woods
Life’s simple pleasures: A tarp and a sleeping bag in the woods, with a bottle of beer. Bliss.

Arriving late I quickly set up the tarp, sleeping pad and sleeping bag in the dark, drank a beer to celebrate, and then slipped inside. There wasn’t a breath of wind, and the wood was silent apart from the occasional owl-hoot.

This microadventure was in no way sponsored by Fullers
This microadventure was in no way sponsored by Fullers

As I lay there listening I realised I could hear something digging below me, probably a rabbit: There were rabbit-holes not far from where I had set up my bivvy site.

Falling asleep under the trees and the stars
A fairly clear but warm night with a reasonable number of stars visible.

Soon I fell asleep under the stars and the trees. This was probably the most restful microadventure I’d ever been on.

Until 5:30 am.

The woods lit up at night
You can’t beat photography at night.

A loud scream yanked me right out of the deep sleep I was in and my eyes popped open wide. I listened for a moment, and the cry came again.

“It’s a fox,” I thought and closed my eyes. I ignored a few more of its yells as I slid further down into the warmth of my sleeping bag, when all of a sudden there was a loud noise right next to me: A gruff bark, similar to the fox, but more throaty. Literally metres from me. What the hell was it?

Getting woken up in the early hours of the morning by Muntac deer
“What the hell was that?!”

A bear?

An alligator?

A psychopath with a chainsaw?

Nope. I have now worked out that it was a Muntjac deer. I’d never heard one of these before, and if I never encounter one up close at 5:30am on a Saturday morning ever again it will be too soon.

I tried to sleep, but by now I was wide awake and it was futile. There’s just no recovering from being woken up at 5:30am! I enjoyed listening to the sounds of the surprisingly un-spooky wood until 7am, when I got up, packed up, and headed out of the woods to go get some breakfast and a cuppa.

Leave no trace.
Leave no trace.

Just a gentle one this time round, but they can’t all be epic 18 mile hikes on Dartmoor, can they? 🙂