Adventures of Camping on St John, USVI… with a Hog.

I live in Texas. In Texas you hear stories of terrifyingly large wild hogs just wrecking havoc on peoples land, and also how dangerous they can be for humans. I never expected there to be any comparisons between Texas and my time on St John, but… wild hogs.

I convinced my ‘yes’ friend Johna to go camping with me for the first time. We booked a campsite with a gorgeous view out over caneel bay, but limited facilities. I brought my own 2 person tent that I really like and trust. They provided a tent, mattress pads, blankets and pillows and a full restroom with electric outlets in them. Not bad… But they completely failed to mention hogs.

The gorgeous view part…

So during day 2 a storm rolled in and we realized real quick that Johna’s tent leaks, but we left for a day exploring with new friends who had a car. By night 2 the winds picked up along with the rain. The bottom of her mattress pad was soaked and water droplets from the ceiling slowly dripped down on her. Certainly not ideal sleeping condition for a new camper, but then, she was woken by me yellin ‘GIT’ in my best redneck Tennessee voice and clapping my hands.

It wasn’t the first time that night she had screamed ‘Krisssstennnn, what is thatttt?’ And I would tell her it was just the wind blowing her big ol cheap Coleman tent around on the top of a mountain. This time however, I said, ‘don’t freak out, but there’s a wild hog trying to get in the trash can.’ Hence my stream of ‘GITs’ (get away in case that needs clarification) and hand claps. I had my headlamp on, so I could multitask obviously, and the massive thing finally looked up at me. When it was on its back legs it was bigger than the trash can, and I was legit terrified. We locked eyes for a solid 5 seconds, and it walked on away. I thought the important thing then, is that I didn’t see tusks. I don’t know jack shit about wild hogs/boars/swine, but I did find that comforting.

It’s as big as the trash can!

The strong wind gusts and light rain continued, and really added to the mood of the whole psycho killer boar movie we thought we were going to be starring in. Johna was wide awake trying to hold the sides of her tent up while I googled what to do for hog attacks. It’s to find high ground or climb something, FYI, and there was nothing to climb on top of on top of a mountain in a big clearing. Needless to say, we barely slept and strongly contemplated checking into a hotel when we woke up the next morning with bags under our eyes and still fairly terrified.

But we didn’t. The inconvenience, and also the quitting aspect kept us with our tents pitched, especially after talking to the owner of the land who said there are no wild boars, but people’s hogs that roam around. We also agreed that I would sleep in Johna’s tent to help her get some actual sleep/comfort, and we would put most of our stuff in my tent since it was legit waterproof.

So night 3 started great. It wasn’t raining, we had found a happy hour and were feeling nice and relaxed going to bed, we fell asleep peacefully in that big ol tent with our earplugs in. Around midnight the wind started whipping it around waking us up, and then rain started. The drips on my cheek really woke me up, but I just moved my head, pulled the blanket closer, and secured my earplugs.

2am we woke up to the hog sounds. The greedy things are loud while they pillage, but I peeked through the mesh on every corner and never saw it. We were so exhausted after 2 nights of not sleeping that I assumed it was in the trash by the bathrooms, and didn’t take on the scary task of unzipping the tent and getting out with my headlamp this time. The sounds subsided, or the winds just picked up, but we went back to sleep.

I woke up this morning appreciating a beautiful day and view to step outside to, and strolled to my tent in a sleepy fog. I unzipped it to find what I thought was mud smeared on my adorable packing cubes, all over the backpack, the tent floor, and what Johna had stuffed inside. Then all of the protein bar wrappers came into view, and the ants. Thousands of ants were living their best life feasting on the mess of the hog that had lived his best life a few hours earlier. Then I’m sure my redneck ranting and choice words scared my sweet friend and our only other camp neighbor, Gordon, pretty good.

That F’er ripped a hole in my beloved Big Agnes mountain glo 2 person backpacking tent in a beautiful yellow and orange color scheme, and went to hell on our food. By food I mean protein bars. The bars were in their wrapping, inside of a ziplock bag, and I don’t know what bag after that. Point being, we did not just leave leftovers or food items laying around to entice any animals.

The hog door, and the ants leftover after I cleaned up.

The woman who does the booking and I guess runs the campsite got an earful when she simply said well that just happens when people leave food out in their tents, I responded with this isn’t my first rodeo, and I didn’t realize there were hogs on the property or I would have brought a dang bear bag. I’m not a complete amateur here, and I let her know it was unacceptable for us to have floated on our foam yoga mats in Johna’s tent and then have my tent destroyed. I got my money back and a hell of an adventure story.

HOWEVER, I am so proud of us 2 (can be) boujie girls for handling a crummy scenario with a good attitude and still enjoying our time in one of my favorite places. We are so sleep deprived, and hurting from sleeping on the ground, but i don’t think Johna hates me too much for putting her through that. Definitely a friendship building trip.

Thinking of a spa weekend somewhere for the next trip, and this pescatarian is craving a pulled pork sandwich.

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