Man Eating Raccoons in Acadia National Park
It was our first visit to Acadia National Park in Maine. In fact, it was my first trip to the most northeast state of the union, Maine. We’d driven up from Cape Cod, which was just beautiful – especially Martha’s Vineyard.
Maine’s rugged beauty, especially its rocky Atlantic coast, was breathtaking. We were blessed by good weather, clear skies, and amazing views on the day we hiked to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, at 1,530 feet it’s the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. In the quaint town of Bar Harbor, we ate up its Down East and hip ambience as well as our fill of Maine Lobster. We asked about a good place to pitch our tent and camp. We were directed to a wonderful campground on Mount Desert Island and were lucky enough to snag a spot. The campground had dozens of roads weaving throughout and what looked like hundreds of campsites.
We sat around our fire and carefully tried to eat the gooey sticky hot burned marshmallows. Later at night the red coals glowed, casting a faint light. In the darkness of the surrounding pine trees, we noticed glowing eyes. The pine trees’ wonderful scent was relaxing for us but the glowing eyes were not. Then came the coop de gracie (our French needs work): a growling and snarling that seemed to become louder by the minute. “What in hell is that sound?” I asked rhetorically. My wife said, “I don’t know but it’s coming from all around us now.” Goosebumps formed on our skin – we were more than a little frightened. We scrambled into our little car and quickly locked the doors. “Let’s drive around and see if anybody knows anything.”
A minute later we rolled next to a young man carrying firewood in his arms and walking along the road in the dark. I rolled down my window and said, “At our campsite, there’s strange growling and snarling sounds coming from the woods. Have you heard it at your camp?” He immediately threw his firewood to the side and tried to open our car’s back door. In a shaking and breathy voice, he said, “No! But lemme in quick! Lemme in!” I unlocked the back door and he clambered in so frantically and awkwardly, he bumped both arms, both legs, and his head. He pulled the door shut quickly and locked it with a firm fist bump on the lock knob. We stared at him empathetically. Finally, he said, “I’m from Quebec City, Canada. Where are you from?”
“We’re from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sorry that we scared you so badly. Let’s drive on around and see what we can find out.”
“Good idea. You don’t mind if I stay in your car, do you?”
“No, not at all.”
The next several campsites were dark and quiet; people were already asleep. Several adults and children were sitting around a fire at the next site. As I rolled my window down, a pleasant looking older man walked up and said, “Hello, folks. How’re you doing?”
We asked him about the strange animal sounds. He smiled benignly at us and explained it was just the raccoons. I said, “I’ve heard their chittering sound before but never anything like this sound.”
“When they get after their young, they make that growling and snarling. Sounds vicious but it’s not. They’re harmless. We dropped off the Quebecer at his site, went back to ours, and quickly dropped off to sleep. Since that trip, we’ve often laughed about how scared we and our Canadian friend were of the Man-Eating Raccoons of Acadia National Park.