Bah, I say.
Oh, yeah, you're thinking Chip and Dale. Cute little cartoon characters with high-pitched voices and endearing antics. You're thinking Alvin and "Christmas time is almost here..." falsetto. The following words come to mind: scampering, cute, frisky, beady-eyed, cute, cute and cute.
You're thinking Cute Chipmunks. Basically light brown with black racing stripes. Buck teeth. Perky ears. The Mary Tyler Moore of the Animal Kingdom. PETA mascot. Coochie coochie cuuute.
Well, beam me up, Scotty, we're not on that Class "M" planet (M for Munk). No, we're on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Chipmunk from Hell planet.
On this planet, located near Cimarron, New Mexico, chipmunks are known as Mini-Bears. They're just like a black bear or a cinnamon bear or a brown bear. Same appetite, same nose for food, same teeth and same attitude...only in miniature. Mini. Twelve inch wheels. Four cylinder. Manual transmission. Sports package. Don't forget the racing stripes.
The first mini-bear attack was launched about midnight on our first night at Philmont Scout Ranch. I heard some rustling in the tent but thought it was the wind. Yeah, it's always the wind. Mummy wind. Werewolf wind. Vampire wind. Frankenstein wind. Zombie wind.
Hey, what's that noise? It's just the wind. Go back to sleep. And you wake up dead.
Did I hear...
"Christmas time is almost here, time for fun, time to eat gear..."
Nah. Just my imagination. I rolled over and fell asleep to the rhythmic sounds of mini-bears gnawing their way through my food supply, visions of dried plums and granola dancing through my head.
Morning broke like a bad Cat Stevens song and I awoke chipper as a chipmunk. I swung my legs off my bunk and my feet landed squarely in a puddle of grape jelly.
Now, I don't know about you and how your start your day, but I usually start my day by standing on carpet, or, if I'm camping, on wood or stone or dirt, but rarely do I start my day standing in a puddle of grape jelly.
I wiggled my toes.
Yep, that's grape jelly alright. I looked down. Confirmed.
During the night the mini-bears had gnawed through the food packets, dragged the jelly packets into the middle of the tent floor, had a party and left the mess for me to step into.
Thanks, guys, it was real.
Being quite the Naturalist I was non plussesd by the sticky foot treatment. I peered at the floor and discovered tiny purple footprints leading out the back flap. Carefully, I opened the flap and beheld my worst nightmare. There in the dirt before me were the footprints of scores of mini-bears. All purple. It was a grape jelly rave to be sure. Without a doubt was the unmistakable outline of a grape jelly-induced chipmunk conga line. That explained the high-pitched refrain in my dream that night.
"One, two three...HUH. Four, five, six...HUH."
Their footprints trailed off into the distance. Hmmm, exactly in the direction of our next camp.
Ah, ha, my little Beasties! We shall meet again!
One, two, three...Huh!