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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

Adventure Tales: The Night Dexter Saved Our Lives

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

Anyone who has ever taken a trip can tell you to expect the unexpected. You can't plan for everything & we have been in multiple situations where that has been the case. We have experienced some wild things in our travels & these are the tales from our adventures that everyone remembers. That is why I decided to start another section to my blog to go in depth on our adventure tales. For the first blog let's talk about one of the scariest nights of our lives & the night Dexter saved our lives.

In 2017 we were Road Tripping all 48 states of the continental US in 34 days. At the end of June we were on the west coast, finally caught up after losing our old car, in a new vehicle, & finally exploring the Pacific Northwest. The night before Dexter saved us we had a creepy night camping.

We had finished a day driving through California & seeing the Redwoods when we headed to Oregon to stay the night close to the coast. We were staying at an Oregon State Park off of a major coastal road that was also a rest stop. We set up camp & ate while it was still light out, however things were odd. When we visited the restroom we saw signs warning about theft being a major problem there & safety precautions. The campground was also dead & there was barely anyone around besides a car camper & a hammock camper a few sites down the road. It was a bit creepy & was quiet the entire time we were there, outside the occasional car going to the rest stop area. However, by the next morning we shrugged it off & moved on quickly that morning.

The next day we explored Crater Lake National Park & Siuslaw National Forest, heading to Washington that night to stay at Cape Disappointment State Park. When we arrived the campground was full of vehicles, campers, & tents, but we saw no one in sight even as we set up our campsite. We originally just thought everyone was on the beach watching the sunset, so we walked to the beach from our campsite & watched the sunset on the Pacific Ocean. We loved the beach, even with the wind, & enjoyed a great sunset...however we saw no one still.

After enjoying the sunset we cooked dinner & went on a night walk stopping at the bathrooms. Unlike the night before we didn't see any signs about theft, but it was still silent & no one was around. No lights were on inside campers or at campsites, even though the campground was pretty full. However we shrugged it off & after a long day we finally went to bed to the sounds of the ocean, relaxed & ready for the next day.

Then in the middle of night I woke up to Dexter barking. It was concerning because Dexter doesn't bark at night or in the tent when we are all inside for the night unless there are loud people...but it was still dead silent except the sounds of the ocean. As I sat up I realized Dexter was outside the tent, this sent my mind spiraling; 'Wait Dexter is outside? How did he open the tent? He never opens the tent & waits for us to open it. Did someone else open it?' I started yelling at Dexter to come inside the tent. Although I was blind (as I didn't have my glasses on) & Garrett was semi starting to wake up (as he is a very heavy sleeper), we both knew Dexter heard us as his ear would twitch back towards us when I yelled. However, Dexter wouldn't budge, he stood guard outside our tent barking & growling.

So I got out of bed, got out of the tent, & went outside to Dexter. It was still quiet outside except the ocean waves & Dexter barking. We saw no movement in the campers or tents nearby or lights or anything, but Dexter continued to bark & stand guard. When I reached him he stopped barking, but he growled looking at the darkness in the woods nearby. After a little more growling I was able to convince him to come back to the tent & zip the tent up. However he stayed by the tent door the entire night & did not move. Garrett & I attempted to go back to sleep, but we slept with one eye open.

The next morning we quickly packed up camp & ate breakfast. We went on a short walk around the camp, saw no ones still, & only heard a few dogs barking. After a walk & bathroom break we left to continue our trip & never looked back. Although it was a beautiful place, I am not sure if we will ever camp there again.

To be clear, Garrett & I never saw anyone or anything. It was nearly pitch black out & when I grabbed Dexter I did not have my glasses. However, it does not make the incident any less terrifying. Dexter is not the type of dog to just react, he is reactive but usually only after provocation of some kind. Dexter also is a very great dog at night, he does not bark once we all go to bed unless something bad or loud occurs. I know I would have heard anything loud, especially as a light sleeper. Dexter also has experienced animals outside the tent at night & has never opened the tent to get them away. Then there were the signs at the Oregon site the night before, plus some information I had heard from friends in the area about how theft can be a problem for campers in the PNW. That is what makes us think a person opened the tent slightly not realizing Dexter was in there, then Dexter started to bark/stepped out of the tent to make the person back off, then we woke up. However, we just do not know & never will.

To this day we still debate what could have happened, however we know that Dexter saved out lives, whether from a masked murderer, someone trying to steal from us, or an animal.


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