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Mike's Dad, I heard a lion outside the tent!!

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For a brief period, about 2 months, we lived in a tent! This was in Victoria, BC and in the early spring.

There was me, my wife, two young daughters aged 5 and 3 and our German Shepherd dog, Prince. I had hit hard times and instead of paying rent I negotiated a site in a camping and trailer park at almost no cost since it was well before the season started.

The site itself was really good; washing facilities just a short walk from the tent and an excellent fire area. We had a large fire going every night and frequently had friends round to roast a few things, chat and have a beer. There was a lake not more than 100 yards away so, considering that time period, I thought it was pretty great!

My wife was quite unhappy and hated the whole period we were there. I can understand that since the tent was small, had no floor yet had to sleep 4 people and a dog as well as keep all of our stuff dry and inside with us. I was away part of the day, running a small shop we had but she had to put up with it 24 hours a day.

One particular night while we were sleeping my eldest daughter woke and shouted out “Dad, there’s a lion outside the tent!”. I woke with a start, the dog was standing up with his ears erect and an earnest look on his face. Within seconds we were all wide-awake with all the attention on me! It was my job to sort it out.

We sat and talked for a few minutes, not quite sure whether or not it was really a lion and then we heard another roar. There wasn’t any doubt about it now! I had a rifle in the tent and making sure it was loaded we all sat and waited, not sure what to do. After a smoke and some deliberating, everyone else went to sleep, including the dog. I sat there for at least an hour then went back to sleep, rifle by my side.

The following day I spoke to the site owner and he too had heard the lion. There was a cliff some 100 yards or so from where we slept and we think the roar came from the top. He said he would contact the rangers and let them know; telling me it was unusual for lions to be this close to the park. He thought they were being driven closer to the community due to a shortage of food.

That night we were advised that a ranger would be staying on the cliff top for the next couple of nights. He did and we never heard any more noises in the night.

Writing about it now it seems quite tame but at the time it was anything but tame! Knowing that there’s a hungry lion not far from where you're sleeping made for some amusing chat around the fire the next night. When you’re young you get over something like this pretty quickly.

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