Unwelcome Visitors

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We turned in for the night as darkness set in, ready for a good nights rest as we had had a long day of riding. Being our first night free-camping, we were a little on edge, but fought our anxiety by telling ourselves that we have a great spot and nobody can see us. Within an hour or two, I heard a “pop” up the hill from our campsite “It’s nothing. Probably just a squirrel or something.”, I told myself.  Then, a few minutes later, another “crack”. A twig snapped again, then again, and finally we could hear footsteps in our campsite. They were slowly approaching our tent, when all of a sudden they backed away a few feet.

I nudged Bree awake, both of our eyes wide with apprehension. Were we overconfident with how hidden our hiding place was? Expecting an angry Italian farmer to come pound on our tent, I began to put together a game plan. It was unnecessary, though, once we heard the yell. It was something of a gutturally hoarse human yell, mixed with a cat and a diesel engine.

“Holy crap, what is that?”, Bree asked in response to the threatening yell. Then it yelled again, and again. Wild boars. I had heard that Italy had them, but had no clue that we were in their territory. Within a few minutes, another boar let out a bark down the hill from our camp. Great, now he has friends. After some stamping in the bushes, the boar left. Staring at each other while pulsing with adrenaline, we were totally an edge, trying to convince ourselves that they were gone. It was in vain, though, as they came back not an hour later. This time, getting closer to our tent. We could hear them walking just outside and down the ridge of our “perfect” free camp location.

My mother always told me how when she was a little girl, living in Hawaii, they would be warned about going too far into the brush due to the wild boars. I can now understand. Even hearing their guttural barks was somewhat chilling. Needless to say, it was a sleepless night. The boars came wandering through our campsite time and time again, sometimes brushing up against our tent.  This night, I think, was very discouraging to Bree. “We aren’t this hardcore, I promise.”, she has always said. Well, the limits are being pushed.



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