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  • Justin "JD" Dorton

Series on Camp Security/Camp Safety

My deep sleep was abruptly interrupted by an anxious whisper...when I started to regain consciousness, I heard my wife softly repeating, “There’s a truck in our camp. Wake up!” I laid there in a fog, battling sleepiness, and wishing I could rest a bit longer after the long, 24-hour drive from the East Coast. My wife was trying to convey a message of a potential threat. I sat up, struggling to gain a foothold on reality, and listened for anything above the ambient noise of the bustling creek near our camp.

Suddenly I heard it! - An engine idling just a few feet away from our home for the night.

As I attempted to assess the situation, I found I only had a small opening from which to peer out of. When we set up the tent earlier in that evening, we chose to open only one window, partially because of the cool weather, but mainly because we were just so tired. This proved to be a mistake! Luckily, it was a cloudless night in Colorado, and thanks to the full moon, the ground was well lit. I called out into the night and, through the small opening, saw the silhouette of a man run past our camp.

Adrenaline coursed through my body - it was time to climb out of the tent. I grabbed my handgun and flashlight, and scrambled over my sleeping daughter to get to the ladder. For what seemed like an eternity of vulnerability, I made my way down the ladder and out of the annex room. As I exited the tent, I called out to RCO teammate, James. I heard a truck door shut and the truck take off, but saw no headlights. James swiftly awoke and exited his own roof top tent, without haste. I quickly briefed him on the unfolding situation, and we came up with a plan to verify the people in question had actually left the area.

We were all so spent from the drive that evening when we arrived, that we hadn’t set up camp. Thankfully, all our possessions stayed safely locked inside our vehicles, and no one was hurt during this incident.

We will never know for sure, but can only assume the individuals who visited our camp that night were up to mischief, and had less than good intentions.

This was a great reminder for all of us.

Complacency is dangerous! No matter where you are, or how tired you may be, ensuring your camp is as secure as possible should always be a priority.

We will be posting a multi part series on camp security and safety.

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