Friday, October 1, 2010

Squatting in Style

Knowing I'd have about a four-hour wait while my truck was being serviced, I took along my dog and a .22 pistol. There's a big patch of woods behind the dealership, and I figured I could spend the time squirrel hunting, plinking and foraging. Didn't get any squirrels. Only saw one, and it was too far away. In order for me to pot them with a handgun, they almost have to commit suicide. But gathered some puffballs and a bolete, ate some autumn olive berries, and filled a small backpack with exceptionally large red oak acorns. Came across some kind of fresh burrow. There were no tracks or bones outside, so I got down to sniff the entrance. Someone was home, and chattered at me. No idea what it was.

Came across a path with some odd wheel ruts, and followed it out of curiosity. It led to eight or ten tents scattered through a grove of white pines. No one seemed to be around, but they'd obviously been living there a long time. The ground was bare and packed hard. I was surprised by how tidy and organized it was. Shelves stocked with food, bags for trash, dedicated latrines. Bicycles, fishing gear, tables, clotheslines, charcoal grills, kid's toys, even two easy chairs. Most of the tents had tarps over the top of them for extra protection. There was a central fire ring with a radio in a tree nearby. They apparently drank a lot of beer, but credit where credit is due, they didn't toss the empties just anywhere. The only thing I saw that didn't impress me were a lot of shopping carts. Presumably they haul in supplies with them, and don't bother to return them.

I didn't stick around long, just snapped a couple pics and eased out of there.

Most homeless people seem to have drug and/or alcohol problems. Or they're just plain crazy. And there are supposedly meth labs here and there in the woods. But this didn't seem to fit those patterns. Every other "hobo camp" I've stumbled into was filthy and filled with trash.

I might go back again. It's the closest I'll ever get to making first contact with some jungle tribe.


planB said...

Careful dad. Bicycles and kid’s toys. Nature has you programmed with a general ‘protect children’ instinct. Having a young one of your own only heightens these instincts. Don’t worry about the kids, they may have a better life than most children.

Homeless people may be justifiably suspicious and fearful. No matter how innocent your approach you may be regarded as a threat to their family and way of life. The approaching winter will force them to move South or otherwise adjust their living situation. Better to anonymously and unseen leave few bucks in the pantry for mom and leave the family alone.

Tobiah said...

Great find my friend. What a classy camp indeed! These folks took time to care for the place. You do have a chance to do something nice for them. These folks could be really cool, better to bump into them on the trail than to confront them in a camp. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Well you posted it - now the AUTHORITIES can blame you for anything that happens.

You do realize that the only way to be anonymous on the net is to not be on the net don't you?

Now where did I put my tinfoil hat???