NOTE: This is another in a series of blogs that will share interesting experiences in nature. It is always our goal to help people to enjoy spending more time outside, and to do so safely.
The thought of being outdoors and sleeping in the rain is wonderful to some and troubling to others. The pitter (is that a word?) of rain on a tent, hammock rain fly or similar, to me, is one of those things I actually look forward to. I enjoy it. When it is hot, a rain coming in, will almost always cool the air off enough to make it great sleeping weather.
There are a number of rain events I have experienced during my outdoor excursions that are worthy of re-telling. I am sure I will get around to doing so as we continue this series. For this one however, I want to tell you about the time that I woke up in a survival shelter during a class and noticed I had a rabbit in the shelter with me.
The class I speak of was not one I was leading. I was actually a student in this one. I was attending a Scout/Tracker class that was being led by Richard Cleveland of Earth School and Tom Laskowski of Mid-West Native Skills institute. On our first day we were told to do some important tasks. Those tasks led me to a position of needing to develop a sleep shelter hastily with minimal supplies. I quickly set up a military poncho over a bent sapling. It was quick and easy and provided plenty of coverage for my upper body. I have slept many times outside directly on the ground with no cover for various reasons. Some of those times were in the pouring rain. It has been my experience thus far that I am good-to-go as long as water doesn’t regularly drip or hit on my face. Therefore I can get pretty good sleep even if I am getting rained on, as long as said rain, avoids my face. At least, most of the time (note the foreshadowing).
That is the reason I set up this hasty shelter during the class because while my legs and waist were outside getting rained on, my upper body was staying dry and I was getting really good sleep. At some point, the rain got so heavy that water was running down the crack of my you-know-what and pudding near my other you-know-what. It was at that point that I awoke. For you see puddled water near my you-know-what doesn’t provide a warm fuzzy feeling at all.
With that said, I had a headlamp on. When I woke up and started the process of trying to figure out a way to un-puddle my you-know-what I flipped my headlamp on. It was at that moment that I discovered that a very large Eastern cottontail rabbit had joined me under my hasty shelter sometime during the night.
For those of you that are familiar with rabbits you know what I mean when I was eye-t0-eye with a big ole rabbit eye. He was simply sitting there in profile with that big, bold eye looking directly at me. He said (not really but i felt like he said this), “Hey bro, I know this is weird but if you haven’t noticed, it is really raining hard out there, and it is dry under here with you. I would like to stay if you don’t mind.”
I said (not really, but I felt like saying), “Yeah bro, no problem.”
I then proceeded to un-puddle myself, turn my light off, and go back to sleep. It was an enjoyable night and I got plenty of rest. When I awoke the next morning, my little buddy was gone. Just like the bobcat, no bro hug, no good bye, no nothing. Just gone.
If I were to summarize this experience into a usable lesson it would be two-fold.
- Rabbits are cool.
- Water puddled at your-know-what is not warm and fuzzy.
Until next time, come on, join in, let’s learn together!
Craig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in teaching outdoor related topics to include, survival, tracking, go-bags, nature awareness and gun safety for private and public groups, and government agencies. Craig’s first book is Extreme Wilderness Survival from Page Street Publishing, distributed by Macmillan Publishing
Craig is a also frequent contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on his YouTube channel. Pick up the book, subscribe to him on youtube, or join Craig in a class so he can help you be more safe and aware in the outdoors.