By Rue McKenrick
Death Valley, USA October 2019
At this juncture I awaken every evening for a nature call, sometimes at midnight and sometimes at 2:43 and sometimes at both. My stomach was an utter of curdled milk. I heard it “mooo” often but I could never quite translate Bovine. I would dig in the dark every night, making a cat hole for the impending cow pie.
(I know its gross Folks, but hang in there)
My eyes came open but they were not accompanied by the usual cramping in my belly and bathroom panic.
I must of heard or felt something behind my head. I knew it right away, it was another animal other than me. I could make out a shape a couple of feet away. I reached for my headlamp and spotted it in the beam. It was a Kit Fox and it was……… No…..that can’t be? It had stolen my platypus (platypai) and was…. NO…..I don’t believe what I am seeing……….Drinking out of the hose???… Noooo. Couldn’t be.
I yelled “Hey cut that out, you little bleeper.” I only had one hand out my bag and couldn’t get my zipper down (see why here).
I said again, HEY!!! I worked on the zipper and stood up on my feet. The Kit Fox took off with the platypus for about ten feet, dropped it, and ran off into the night.
I have no idea how it didn’t wake me up right away. The platypus and my other gear was tucked in all around me because I had been having issues with Desert Rats chewing on my gear. I sleep with the platypus right beside my head so I can sip water throughout the night. This evening the water bladder was tucked under my arm. I retrieved the platypus and went back to sleep. I hadn’t realized that the Kit had damaged the hose and the 2.5 liters slowly leaked into the sand that evening.
The next morning, on awakening, I didn’t even remember the exchange for a few minutes until I went to take a sip. The bag was dry and it was 45 miles to the next water. I thought to myself…… Self, was that all a dream? The mouth piece (bite valve, nipple, utter, whatever) was chewed off at the edges and that is where the leak occurred. Well, I had some water left and I would just have to make the best of it.
Besides it was all worth it to see a Kit Fox drinking out of a platypus hose.