Outdoor Adventurers Share The Creepiest Thing They've Ever Seen On A Hike

Outdoor Adventurers Share The Creepiest Thing They've Ever Seen On A Hike

There are many known risks when you venture out into the woods with nothing but a backpack and your wits: exposure, injury, and itchy bug bites, just to name a few. But what about the unknown? We asked seasoned hikers, backpackers, and explorers to share the creepiest thing they've ever seen on hike. From mysterious encounters with strange creatures to being chased down by gun-toting maniacs to an incredible rescue, these stories will keep you from ever venturing outside on your own again.

dark-1936954_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Jordan Stimpson from Pixabay

38. Time travel trickery.

We came across this old woman hiker in her 70s who somehow saw us in reverse order through a wormhole or something. The first time we saw her she said "Oh, well hello again!" I just passed it off as her being old, slightly senile. Then 30 minutes later, we saw her again and this time she just said "Hi" as she passed us. I'm not even sure how she got there...she was going the opposite direction of us on the trail both times.

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37. Spontaneous Latin.

I cam across the words "Per audacia ad ignotum" drawn in the snow in the absolute middle of nowhere, yet no footprints around them. The words were probably a few hours old. The closest translation we could find was "Through audacity towards the unknown."

kootenay-plains-blizzard-39020042p-300x145.jpgBranimir Gjetvaj

36. Lighting your way.

Took my young children to a cave not far from the house. Popular spot, but we had the place to ourselves. You can walk through it in about 30 minutes without too much difficulty. It has a tiny exit at the opposite end. It was pretty muddy, so we decided to turn around and head back to the entrance. Halfway back, there was a lit candle sitting about eight feet up one side. It was definitely not there on the first trip. I went into full-on protective-dad-mode knowing there was likely someone hiding in the dark while we walked the rest of the way out.

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35. Wildlife photographer.

I was backpacking in Yellowstone above the tree line at about 10,500 feet. We are hiking on a ridge above a lake when all the sudden we come across a horse skull. No body just the skull, pretty cool looking. We get to our campsite not to far away from the lake near where we found the horse skull. When we get climb down to the lake we find the body of the horse rotting on the edge of the lake with with negative film strips floating in the water and laying around the shore near the body.

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34. Stop hanging out in the woods.

I was out wandering in the woods one day in high school some of us found a severed bull's head tied to a tree by the horns. It was about 5 or 6 feet off the ground. It looked like it had been there a few days. I have no idea why someone would do something like this.


33. The candyman can.

I was fortunate enough to do a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2012. I stopped by this guy's house known as the ice cream man right on the trail. An old man with thick glasses appeared at the door, took me inside by the hand, and gave me a orange cream popsicle as he read Where the Wild Things Are to me as we sat at his kitchen table.

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32. Communing with nature.

When out exploring an old abandoned quarry with some friends we found this dude stood staring at this rock, occasionally twitching, but he never turned around. We were pretty creeped out so didn't investigate, and left pretty soon after. Later on that night we found out that another friend was driving down the lane that runs parallel to the quarry found a guy in a black coat stood in the middle of the road, and wouldn't move. She was pretty freaked out and had to reverse all the way back up the lane in the dark because he was still there. Pretty sure it was the same guy, otherwise it was just a big coincidence.

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31. It's always a circle.

I was backpacking in New Hampshire and camped out for the night after a day hike. I wondered off from our fire to go pee and stumbled upon a circle etched into the ground with tuning forks surrounding the circle standing up straight...It looked like a creepy ritual circle and it bugged me out so I booked it back to the group.

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30. Brush with death.

Bushwalking in NSW (Australia) me and my friend came across this weird platform-looking thing made out of rocks. Later that year the cops arrested some bloke on suspicion of the murders of a series of backpackers who had gone missing over the course of a few years, and at the sites of several of the murders slightly off in the bush were these 'altars'. Current affairs show runs footage of one (the trial and run up to it were all over the news) and yeah it's that thing we found. The 'altars' were typically no more than 300 yards from the victim's shallow graves. The guy who was arrested and subsequently convicted for the murders is Ivan Milat, Australia's worst serial killer.

The cops are pretty sure that at least one other person was involved in the murders than the one now in jail for the crime, they just couldn't prove it.

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29. They're guarding the woods.

I lived in a national park by myself for three months. Several times when I was going back to my trailer for the day, I would hear music like a music box or an ice cream truck. It was always loud and sounded like it was coming from somewhere over my head. One day I decided to look for the source so I followed the dirt road past my trailer. The music continued, I couldn't tell if I was getting closer or not. I had my eyes on the trees and looked down just in time to avoid stepping on a snake. I scrambled back but it didn't move. I realized it was dead and it wasn't alone, there were half a dozen dead copperheads stretched out in the road, looking in the same direction.

I went back to get my car because I couldn't bring myself to step over them, but by the time I got my keys, the music had stopped and I didn't hear it again.

copperhead-copperhead-snake-snake-1079382-300x200.jpgPhoto by Annari du Plessis from Pexels


28. Interrupted dinner.

Over the years when I have told this story, many people haven't believed me, but it's true as the sky is blue. Me and my brother were hiking out in our new backwoods (we had just moved in to a new house) and we stumbled upon a small open grass field. In the center of it, there was a person with a blue jacket crouched over. We thought it was a friend of ours that we had recently met, so I ran out to meet them. I did not have my glasses on, but I got pretty close enough to see that it was a grown man leaned over the carcass of a deer, stabbing it with an unsharpened stick. He looked up, and saw me. I was pretty freaked out, so I turned around and yelled at my brother to run, and so we started to sprint as fast as we could back home.


27. Furry misadventure.

My dad and I were out camping in the Mountains. We had set up our tents and then we heard screams in the woods. We, as black folks, didn't stick around to find out what's going on. So we packed up our stuff and drove to a different part. We thought it was mountains folks eating people or something. We drive down by the store and told the clerk that we heard screams. Turns out it was an orgy for people who dress up in animal costumes. He was telling us that they have been doing this for years.


26. Totally typecast.

I was hiking alone at dusk doing a five mile loop in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles. I see another lone hiker approaching from the opposite direction. As he gets closer, I suddenly realize I know this person: It's the guy who played Jame Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. We get within three feet of each other. He looks at me. He sees the lightning bolt of recognition hit my face. His sad and resigned expression back said it all: "Yes, I'm him. No, I'm not really a serial killer."

I walked briskly by him anyway and didn't look back until I was a good 100 yards down the trail.


25. Get out before you're locked in.

I stumbled on a cage. Not like a trapping cage or anything but something that could easily hold 5-10 average sized people. I was hiking in the mountains just above the house I lived in, at the time, in Missoula, Mt. Took maybe 45 minutes of walking, mostly uphill and without a path, to get to the spot. Round steel bars for the edges and rope instead of chain link for the walls and ceiling. It was all set up just on the far side of the ridgeline I was walking, so it couldn't be seen I suppose.

Nothing around it, no foot prints or tire tracks or anything. The rope looked undamaged as well. No idea what it was for but it definitely creeped me out.

patrick-fore-27416-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

24. Haunted by the ghost hiker.

I work in the outdoor field and lead trips regularly. I once led a trip to the top of Mt. Stringer in NC. It's a tough climb to get to the top and about 6 miles from the nearest road. I was leading a group of 8 middle school kids and had one co-instructor. We were camping out on top of the mountain and it was a beautiful night with a full moon. The kids and the other co-instructor went to bed in their tents. I chose to spend the night in a hammock that night. I was really into a book I was reading so I stayed up and read until about 10:30 pm. I turned my headlamp off to settle in for the night. Everything around me was rather bright from the moon and from the position I was in, I could see down the trail we had hiked to get to the top. I laid there enjoying the scenery and noticed something moving on the trail. Bears are common in the area so I perked up. As it got closer, I could tell it was a person. We were in the middle of nowhere and there was someone hiking up the trail with no headlamp or any gear. I was just frozen watching this person move closer to our camp. They arrived at the top of the mountain where we were and just stopped. I watched as what appeared to be a man surveyed our camp. I really could only see the outline of him. He stood there for what seemed like thirty minutes but may have been 10. He then turned, sat down under a tree facing our camp. He was sitting up in a way that I knew he wasn't trying to sleep. He just sat there staring at our camp. I had no idea what to do. I decided to wait it out. I waited, just staring at the man while he stared at my camp. This went on until about 3:30 am. Then, he stood up, took a moment to survey my camp a few minutes longer and then went back down the trail he came up on. I, to this day have no idea what that was all about but it freaked me out. I was paranoid that we were being followed for the rest of the trip.

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23. Unwanted roommate.

My girlfriend and I were hiking the Appalachian Trail (not through hiking - just seeing how much we had time to do on and off for 3 months), and we're alone and haven't seen anyone for a while. I'm ahead when I come across this very large brass eagle on a stump. Middle of nowhere; was heavy. Going along and there is more and more random detritus - left behind one object at a time.

We get to the shelter that night and there is this old guy, very dissheveled with a walking staff that has a baby doll head on the top (immediate creepy vibes). It was just us and him at the shelter that night - we stayed on the top level and he was down below. I don't think I slept at all. It got real creepy when he started telling stories that night of how he used to drive a cab in New Orleans and he told about how he didn't mind if people had relations in the back of his cab, as he could watch in the rearview mirror. Got up early the next day and got out of there; left him some powerbars as he looked like he needed them. He probably had schizophrenia.

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22. Perfect explanation.

Geocaching hike deep in the New Mexico wilderness. Entered a clearing and saw a series of half-built/crumbling concrete structures. Rebar poking out of the concrete, and a dirt road approaching from the opposite direction of my hike. Footprints and some recent trash indicated people were still using the site. The whole thing seemed somehow post-apocalyptic and eerie. I was hiking alone, and for some reason the whole situation was freaking me out a bit. I decided to abort the hike and back out the way I hiked in.

Found out later the site was used as a paintball tournament ground and designed on an urban warfare theme. There was absolutely no evidence of spent balls or paint on the concrete walls, which explains my confusion and the eeriness of finding half destroyed buildings in the middle of nowhere.

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21. Wonder why he's called that...

I ran into an old as dirt nudist hiker. No shoes. No flip flops. Just his pack, a hat, and a pair of trekking poles. Ran into him while I was day hiking one of rockiest, nasty section of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. He was super friendly, very talkative, and completely ignored any and all questions about his lack of clothing. We walked together while he talked on and on for a few miles before I turned back and he carried on.

"Lefty" if you're still out on the trails: stay weird.


20. Unconventional gravesite.

I was hiking in the Georgia Straight islands in northern Vancouver Island. Found a boulder in an inlet on an island with a large crack in it. There was a skeleton cemented into the crack that was slightly exposed. Locals told me is was Ol' Wiley who ran the store on the island 150 years ago, ticked off some gamblers and ended up dead in the rock. Store hasn't existed since. Sent some thoughts his way.

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19. Who's that girl?

Grew up in Brooklyn and for a long time had never seen a wooded area. When I was a young teen, someone took me to Prospect Park and we started hiking through the trails in the wooded areas. This was scary enough all by itself for me. I had never seen woods before, and found it creepy and dark.

All of a sudden I see this white girl's face with a wide, vacant blank stare, her mouth open in a silent scream, staring out at me from some bushes. My heart jumped up into my throat. Everyone knows psycho serial killers dump the bodies of their victims in the woods.

Took me a good thirty seconds to see/realize that some weirdo had dumped and inflatable doll in the bushes.

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18. Perfect spot for a demonic ritual.

A few summers ago I was canoeing in the Boundary Waters with some friends. A few days into our trip, at least two days of paddling from the nearest entry point, we found the creepiest campsite on an island. There was brand-new, abandoned camping equipment everywhere, like a sleeping bag and camping pad. Throughout the campsite sticks with the ends charred had been stuck in the ground. In the remains of the fire was a heavily charred toothbrush, along with the remains of a wallet, glasses, papers and some clothes. The creepiest part was near the edge, where a single petrified moose alter had been wedged between some boulders and surrounded by charred sticks in a circle. We got out of there and as far away as we could before night. One of the creepiest things I've ever seen, it looked straight out of a horror movie.


17. All eyes on you.

I did a solo bike tour across the US. I was in eastern Kansas, pretty close to the Missouri border, and I spotted a park in a town that looked pretty secluded, so I decided to camp out there for the night. I started wheeling my bike over to the gazebo where I was gonna stay, when this dude pulls up in a beat up Ford Taurus. He gets out and comes over to me, asking if I had any money, telling me how his girlfriend ruined his credit and was now with another man. He said he was trying to make his way back to South Dakota. I got a really weird vibe from the dude. He asked me where I was headed, and he offered to drive me if I would pay for gas. I explained what I was doing, and that it kinda defeated the purpose. He looked dumbfounded, got back in his car and sped off through the park. I camped out there, and the next morning when I got up, his car was there, and he was just looking at me. I didn't even have breakfast, I just got out of there.



16. The mountains know your name.

This past winter I hiked one of high peaks in the ADK's with a buddy of mine and camped out overnight. Everything was fine the entire first day we were there. Had a great night's sleep and woke up early to hike back to the parking area.

On the way back down the trail, my friend and I noticed that someone else had been hiking as well. About a mile after walking, I stopped and saw that my full name, first and last, was drawn into the snow on the side of the foot path. I didn't do it, neither did my friend. It was snowing a bit throughout the night and if it was drawn the day before, the snow would have covered it up. We got a bit freaked out and decided to hustle back to our car so we could get out of there.

We finally get back to the parking area and I go to sign myself out of the registry book. When I turn the page to where I signed in, I see that someone had scribbled out all of my information to where you couldn't read it anymore. No one else had signed into the book besides myself for 3 days.

I will NOT be going back there.

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15. Slithering along.

I was mountain biking with my dad and a bunch of his friends, and we came to the last long downhill of the ride. I always let them go first, because I am way faster. They go down, and I wait for 5 minutes, then go for it. I get 200 yards from the end of the trail, and they are all on one side of the trail stopped in a line. At this point, there is no way I can stop fast enough, so I just get ready to jump anything in the way of the trail. My dad freaks out telling me to STOP! STOP! STOP! As soon as I get within 20 feet, I see probably 30 big rattle snakes crossing the trail. I immediately pull up as hard as I can, and bunny hop about 10 feet over all of them. Then I stopped, came back, and checked out the snakes along with my dad's blood pressure, made sure he was OK, then finished the ride.

I'm telling you sickest bunny hop EVER!!

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14. No quarter.

A buddy and I went backpacking in the Sespie wilderness in CA. One time we found a small cabin with a water reservoir. We carefully approached not sure if it was people growing weed our something. Went up the open door and saw a Nazi flag on the wall and know one inside. We checked out the cabin and found lots of neo-Nazi junk and a double headed ax. Engraved on the ax head was " '83 I was there and you were not". I thought about taking it because it was cool and didn't mind stealing from Nazis. I left it and we hiked at least seven more miles and slept under the stars that night. In the morning we both had year '83 quarters on our backpacks.

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13. Messages from the great beyond.

A few years ago I was backpacking in Eastern Washington with some friends of mine. I don't know how well you know Eastern Washington, but it's pretty much dust, sagebrush and dirt. We decided to hike up onto the top of this canyon, and from up there you could see miles and miles of straight nothing. After a few hours of traversing the top of the cliff, we eventually found a little crevasse that kind of took us a little ways underground, into a pretty decent sized cave. The cave was filled with little bones, like mice and bats. In one of the corners of the cave, there was a rock fixture that jutted up from the ground and almost made a separate "room" so to speak. In the room we found lots of scratches on the walls, photographs, and three bottles with notes in them. While this was kind of off-putting on its own, we figured it was just some sort of joke and we'd find silly S.O.S. notes in the bottles. The scariest part about it all was the photographs were super ordinary, of families and normal people, and two of the notes in the bottles made no sense at all. While it was English, it was pretty much straight gibberish, none of the words made sense in context with the other words. The third bottle had a super ordinary letter talking about what they've been up to; something you'd send to a fairly distant relative after not talking with them for a while.

I don't really know what to think of it all, I feel like it could easily have been someone just joking around but it was almost too strange for that.

tim-foster-lSegRSDBMLw-unsplash-300x198.jpgPhoto by Tim Foster on Unsplash

12. Someone call casting.

Myself and a mate hiked through the bush near Tamborine Mountain, Australia, in 2010. We made our own trail, slashing through lantana and vines with machetes. Was a lot of fun, really off the beaten track.

A couple of hours into our hike, we started to hear DUM BUM BUM BUM, the beat of jungle drums. Weird, right? FYI, these drum beats had absolutely no place in the Australian jungle.

Our curiosity piqued, we headed towards the sound. Slashing through a thick wall of vines, we emerged into a clearing and saw the source of the drums.

About 25 guys, islanders in appearance, wearing grass skirts and dancing around a fire.

They noticed us. The drums stopped. It was like a needle scratch or the piano stopping in a saloon. Utter silence. They all stared at us.

We panicked.

Then the director ran up, yelled cut, and asked us what we thought we were doing. We had stumbled onto the film set of a commercial.

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11. Fair thee well, Oberon.

This happened to me back in the '80s, when I was in my 20s. On occasion I would go car camping with my yellow tiger cat, Oberon. He had an overbite, drooled, had a monster purr, and was awesome in every way. He loved riding in the car. My solo camping was stupid, and I cannot recommend it, but I needed the aloneness and I needed the bravery. I would drive up roads, some BLM, some National Forest, some disused logging roads...I would not go too far, find a spot that appealed to me, pull off the road as far as I could, set up a small camp and stay for a night, or two, just reading, bird watching, painting, being with my cat...just spending time being me. One day I went up a road, and found a pretty meadow, with a small stream curving around through trees, a perfect place. The cat and I walked around a bit, checking it out. At the side of the meadow near the road was a large flat, round rock. A perfect table. I always packed good food, and I liked a bit of elegance. I set out a place mat, cloth napkin, an unopened bottle of dark beer, my sandwich, still wrapped in foil, on my plate, cookies, and a bowl of kibble for Oberon. He had wandered a bit, and I went to get him. We went into the trees, and wandered around for a bit. It was a very lovely day, warm, sunny, with a light breeze, and the whole area was beautiful. We were not out of sight of my car, and the rock for very long, maybe fifteen minutes. I picked up the cat, and walked back, looking forward to lunch. When we got to the rock it was gone. Eaten. The foil was crumpled into a ball, the beer was empty, with the opener next to the bottle, cookies gone, sandwich gone, napkin folded loosely, and knife laid across the plate. It was a weird feeling. I ran for the car, tossed Oberon in, started the car, turned around, headed back down the hill. Then I thought, what if whoever ate my food was hiding in my back seat?? I stopped, heart pounding, checked out the back, all okay, and headed back to town and friends. Who were understandably freaked out by my story. I still camped after that, but it took awhile for my courage to return.

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10. Treasure trove of weird.

My hometown is a tiny little place called Kanab, Utah. If you've been to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon or the Grand Staircase you've been close to it. Anyway, the hills right around Kanab are full of all kinds of hidden gems. Tons of ruins and relics from Native Americans, dinosaur tracks, slot canyons, etc.

One of my favorite hikes, though, is a place called "trail canyon." It's only accessible by hiking. The canyon forks many times and it seems each fork has a different treasure. Here are some things I've found:

  1. A cave perfectly hidden by a tree, with some old carvings from somebody who hid out there in the 1800s.

  2. More than one temporary shelter. One was a natural shelter created by two boulders leaning against each other, where inside is a half decomposed sleeping bag, cans, and other paraphernalia from the 1970s. Somebody lived there for a while, then never came back.

  3. A cabin built at 1/3 normal proportions. It turned out to be the home of a couple brothers who were little people in the early 1900s. Being different meant they probably didn't get treated well, so they build their own place how they liked it and stayed there. They'd ride their horses into town and get drinks and shoot their guns, then ride back up to their cabin by the spring. Today there's still a pair of overalls on the table, so you can get an idea of their size.

  4. Just beyond the cabin is a cave where cattle rustlers used to hide out. There's still an old bucket and frying pan, and the walls are scored with markings indicating sizes and locations of herds.

If you're ever in the neighborhood, stop by the BLM office and ask for a good hike to go on. There are dozens.

adventure-cave-climb-1659437-300x200.jpgPhoto by Marius Venter from Pexels

9. They're lurking in the dark...

I was with Outward Bound in Utah for 3 weeks. Majority of the 3 weeks you are with the group, but for 1-2 days you go on a "solo" or whatever they call it. They give you enough gear and food and plant you in a spot. Your not supposed to leave for ANY reason, if you have a problem you blow the safety whistle and someone will come (we were pretty much just out of line of sight from each other in the group).

So I get to my spot, set up shop, and walk around my area a little bit. I then find the mangled and decayed husk of an elk not 50 feet from my sleeping bag. It had been there for a month or two, and there was barely any meat left on it so the smell wasnt that bad. It was very clear that something had been eating the elk. The skull was 3 feet away from its spine, the legs were gone and the ribcage was smashed.

There aren't too many things in the wild that can do this.

Most carnivores don't want to travel great distances to hunt for food, so they stay close to their food supply. Most importantly they don't haul the catch of the day back to the wife and kids (to my knowledge only few animals do this). So if you find a kill of a carnivore you are probably not too far where they live.

Now sleep tight! Alone. In the darkness. Knowing that the animal that killed the elk isnt that far away from you...while you sleep...alone...defenseless...


8. All hail the Lizard King.

I was camping and hiking in the Okefenokee Swamp. We (my girlfriend and me) were far from being the only ones there, but when we woke up one morning we took a canoe out in the swamp to explore.

It was early, there was a thick layer of fog resting just atop the water. The whole swamp was completely still. No animals in sight at all. We paddled down the water way for a while and saw NOTHING else. Not a single person. Not a bird. Not anything. We didn't hear a single sound.

We had just cornered a bend in the swamp and we hear it... The loudest guttural bellow I had ever heard in my life. I could feel it echo through my chest. A true dinosaur sound. We stopped paddling and looked at each other a little creeped out. We knew it was an alligator, but we had never heard one that loud.

We both look behind the canoe and behind us the backs and eyes of at least 20 alligators had risen. They had just surfaced out of nowhere. We slowly start to paddle forward and we hear more bellows. They came from all around us. In front, behind, to the sides, sounds emanating from the bush covered banks.

Each glance behind us we saw more eyes appear. More scaled mounds breaking the water's surface. From the banks in front we would catch tails sliding into the water, ripples of these HUGE reptiles broke the water all around us.

We looked back again as we paddled faster. Easily 40 alligators behind us now. And we began to see them appear in front. 10-15 huge lizards seemingly blocking our path.

Then, one of the largest alligators I have ever seen surfaces right where my paddle was going down. I hit the beast on the back of the head and the thrash he made was incredible... When his massive head hit the side of the small canoe I thought we were going in the water. Water came into the canoe as the side dipped down. The beast disappeared below the boat and we held steady.

We paddled forward as fast as we could - right into the dotted landscape of scales and eyes. Behind us, that same guttural roar echoed through my body. As we cut through the field of eyes and backs, we started to see the path clear. The huge monster that had almost capsized us bellowed one last time. We turned as we made it past the last of the animals and we could see the monster staring at us. Watching us leave. All the other alligators began to sink to the water's floor. The big guy stayed there watching until he was satisfied we had gone, I guess. Then he disappeared without a sound, back into the black murky depths of the swamp.

We banked the canoe further up the waterway, got out and just sat around for a while taking in what had just happened.

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7. Creepy creature of the night.

This happened while I was backpacking in the Goat Rocks Wilderness in Washington State. My friend and I were trying to get up into a certain basin above the tree line, and we got a really late start thanks to road construction, so we were really hoofing it up the trail trying to make camp before dark. My friend hikes way faster than I do, so he got way out ahead of me by and by the time I got to where our detour from the main trail up an informal boot path would take us up into the basin he was nowhere to be seen. So, there being no campsites near where I stopped, I backtracked for about 3/4 of a mile to a lake where there were established campsites right along the trail.

After maybe an hour my friend shows up having realized his mistake (this is well after dark), and we settled in not really knowing our surroundings (it was a fairly large open area though, likely a horse camp area because the trail is popular with horse packers, but we encountered none), set up our tents (both one-person), ate, and went to bed. Neither of us usually sleep well when backpacking, but for whatever reason he was out cold and I was sort of lucid at best for quite a while, just listening to the sounds of nature and trying not to psych myself out about the possible demons and monsters and man-eating beasts lurking in the woods every time I heard a twig snap or a pine cone fall from a tree.

So maybe three or so hours after I went to bed (this would have been maybe 1am), I start hearing a very distinct sound of really heavy footsteps around my camp area - maybe as much as 100 feet away. I didn't really think to analyze the patterns the footsteps made at the time, but I remember it sounding distinctly bipedal - you can usually pick out a Deer or Mountain Goat because they don't plant their feet in pairs. Other than these occasional foot steps, it's basically dead silent - no crickets or rustling of bushes or anything.

That silence was instantly shattered by the most terrifying sound I have ever heard in my life. It was basically the same intensity as a whistle on a steam train, but much, much deeper and more demonic. Almost like a cross between a cow mooing and a lion's roar, but loud enough that it echoed off the mountains on the opposite side of the valley. Immediately after this noise, this creature went hauling ass off into the woods, crashing through the bushes (the forest I could see when I set up camp was basically covered in head-high huckleberry shrubs) but remained running around in earshot for at least two minutes, running back and forth sometimes getting distinctly closer, sometimes getting further away. All this time it sounded like it was a creature with two legs running around. This whole time my heart was doing about 200bpm and I was sure I was going to be eaten by a chupacabra or something. After a couple minutes the footsteps faded and it fell silent again, and I never heard anything else. I probably lay awake for at least another hour before I finally fell asleep. My friend didn't hear a thing.

In the morning when I woke up, I looked around and there was a wide open area that led down to a small beach at the nearby lake to see if there was any evidence of what the noise was. Turns out there were fresh Elk prints in the mud near the lake, and maybe 20-30 feet away was a large print of either a Cougar or a Bear (I don't remember which). So likely something was stalking one of the Elk that wandered near my camp and spooked it in the middle of the night and caused it to spazz out. At least that's what I hope it was.

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6. Tragic discovery in the river.

Last year I was with a buddy of mine and we were going to do the Heart Creek scramble in Alberta, but due to some health conditions he has it was going to be too strenuous to complete and we figured we'd make it an easy day and just do the simple trail. Now we're both climbers and have been to Heart Creek for rock climbing in the past and had a great time so it wasn't a surprise to see the sporadic climbers on the mountainside as we went. Heart Creek is also pretty popular and easy for people who just want to go for a nice nature walk and maybe have picnic.

Anyway, so we walked in, enjoying the day watching climbers on our way by. We saw a couple even doing some multi-pitch climbing which means basically leap-frogging up the route. We settled in for lunch about a half hour later and left a couple hours after that. On our way back I remember seeing a climbing shoe in the creek and thinking "Oh! Someone must have lost this!" I picked it up when my buddy got my attention and I looked further downstream. Both climbers, a young man (29, or so, I learned later) and his partner were both lying the creek bed, rope and harnesses still attached, dead.

It was very surreal, we had seen these people climbing not two hours before, making their calls, having a good time. The first reaction I had was that I remembered that there was a family right behind us, a husband and wife with a young daughter who were playing in the creek on the way down. We ran back and stopped them and explained as quietly as we could what was ahead and before we knew it, looky-loo's had come by. It turned out that the husband was an off duty RCMP officer and so he took control of the situation. I learned later we weren't the first on scene and that the authorities had been called.

It turns out the couple who were climbing were both experienced enough, but one was still learning and they attempted to do a dual lowering maneuver using each other's weight and feeding the rope through their belays. One of them made a mistake and lost their end of the rope and that was it for both of them. There wasn't a lot of blood strangely and they looked very peaceful. I didn't get a good look at the girl I mostly only saw the guy there. The story ran for a couple days in the area, talking about the Male as the family of the girl didn't want to disclose anything. That was not something I thought I'd see that day that's for sure.

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5. Unexplained destruction.

I was once canoeing the boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada. These aren't your normal backyard ponds. The boundary waters are thousands of enormous lakes interconnected with each other (think mini Great Lakes). We had been canoeing and camping along the lakes for about a week at this point. We didn't really have an itinerary, just planned to boat and camp, fish, and live off the land two weeks. We had a GPS and a sat phone to call a helicopter for pickup whenever we were done.

Anyway, about a week in and we were set to canoe a few hours to the next lake. An hour or so in and we are in the center of an extremely long and narrow lake. Unfortunately, a storm started to blow in and the waves on the lake swelled to 2+ feet. Too much for our dinky canoes. We pull off to a random clearing on the shore and setup camp in rush to avoid being totally thrashed by a rainstorm. We just setup camp and hunker down for the night.

By the next morning it had cleared up. We started walking up the coast of the lake about 200 feet from our camp looking for a good fishing spot. What we actually found was another campsite. However, it was ABSOLUTELY wrecked. Trash strewn everywhere, tent collapsed and torn, clothes on the ground. At first we were just like disgusted like who did this?

The more we looked around though, the weirder things seemed. For one, their garbage was still hoisted into a tree to keep it safe from bears, but the whole bag was ripped open despite being 30 feet in the air. Second, literally everything except the canoes were still at the campsite. Clothes, packs, food, rope, pans, like a serious set of hiking equipment. Enough for 2 or 3 people. Half of it was trashed and torn open, mostly the packs, tent, and clothes. The other half was totally untouched but thrown on the ground. Like somebody NOPE'd out of there in nothing but their long johns ditching hundreds of dollars of gear in the process. We waited a couple hours and eventually called it back to our helicopter crew-- but they hadn't been aware of anybody else or gotten any distress calls. We eventually just left everything and moved camp. Everybody was pretty upset by it and a day or two later we ended the whole trip early because it seemed like nobody wanted to be out anymore.

It was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen. First thought was bear attack, but there was food left uneaten, and I've seen bear attacks on camps before, but nothing like this. Bears rip open packs and go after food, and are generally pretty easy to scare away. What still sticks with me is why all their clothes and packs were still there with half being totally destroyed and half being untouched. I still don't get it.

I've done a lot of other camping and hiking, rafting and biking, all around the country and I've never had any other weird experiences like that.

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4. Visited by Big Foot.

I was hiking in the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington back in '03. I was trying to do this really snazzy hike from the Ocean to Mt. Olympus.

Well, day 1 is a blast, get everything accomplished.

Day 2, fog. Fog as thick as anything you can imagine. I can't get a decent GPS fix, so I'm pretty much blind, but I know if I follow the Hoh river upstream, I'll get to one of the campsites I'm going for. Day goes by, and fog isn't clearing up at all. I get to a fairly big clearing and set up my tent. I grab a power bar and chill out as it starts going to the darkest black night I've ever experienced. I'm seriously a bit unnerved at the whole thing...not scared as much as just...anxious.

About 2 in the morning, I start hearing this huffing noise. Like Darth Vader without the helmet on. My imagination starts to go freaky, and I reach for my flashlight. I pull the drawstring on the tent a little...very quietly...and poke my head out. Still dark as death. I hear the noise coming from maybe, MAYBE five feet to my right.

At this point, I'm seriously re-thinking my belief in sasquatch.

I poke my flashlight out and turn it on. I'm a few feet away from a MASSIVE Roosevelt Elk, who'd lost his way in the dark as well. He sees the flashlight, bolts the other way, tags a tree and knocks himself clean out.

I laid in the tent until I heard a groan, a bunch of commotion and the big guy grunt away.

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3. If you go into the woods at night...

Me and a buddy chose some national forest in Oregon specifically for how remote it was. About a year prior a family became lost and the father was never found, although mother and child lived to tell the tale. Anyway, we set up camp around 4pm after getting pretty deep into the woods on a mountain accessed by logging roads, maybe about 100-200 yards from where we parked, near a lake.

Without much else to do we started a fire and cracked some beers as the sun went down. Then pickup trucks started going through the woods, slowing down when they saw our campfire. We got curious and went deeper into the woods- seemed like a heck of a party was going on. Then we stumbled into a clearing where maybe 15-20 dudes were hanging around a bonfire next to a mossy run-down camper trailer. One had a pistol on his hip, another was just chilling with a shotgun. We're like "oh shoot" at first but someone approaches us and acts neighborly and invites us to have a beer, so it seemed okay. They were joking around mostly, but there were some older dudes that seemed pretty tense.

As this happened, 4-5 dudes who seemed to be standing sentry at the camper (which didn't look like it had been moved in a long time) went inside for a few minutes. When they came back out, they said we were homos and saw us making out. Pretty quickly I got up to head back to our site, but my slower buddy took a few punches. Then he made it out and started following, and we were sprinting through the forest in the darkness, just hoping to get back to our site by spotting the glowing embers of our burnt out fire, the whole time with gun-toters in tow.

We found our site, and with pretty much everything in the tent we pulled the stakes to toss it in the trunk of our car, when we hear an enraged scream only about 50 yards from us "KILL THEM!" So we dropped the tent and gear without even saying a word to each other, and sprinted in the direction of the car.

We peeled out and thought we were good, but about 30 seconds later some headlights come up from behind us, and I'm like "That's the truck that shotgun dude was chilling at!" So now we're being pursued by crazy gun-toting rednecks with a superior vehicle in unfamiliar forest on unmaintained logging roads in the dark, and the only thing we can do is speed up. I remember looking at the speedometer as we approached a washed-out hairpin turn and it was moving from 45 to 50 mph, and the truck was tailing us pretty close, like by only a couple feet, and I was pretty sure that we were gonna slide off the cliff and die. Somehow my buddy managed to power slide that turn and get some distance between us and the rednecks and we eventually made it to a paved two lane, at which point the truck pulled off.

We put it together later that the camper was probably an illegal lab - nothing else it really could've been, deep in the forest with armed guards. But yeah, resulted in a high speed night chase on unfamiliar logging roads and we nearly slid off the side of a mountain.

S17_ForestWoodward_LeaningTowers_1610-3-300x200.jpgOut Door Research

2. The creepy trifecta.

I've spent various stretches of time backpacking and camping throughout the US and seen some strange things.

My brother and I came across an abandoned trailer town, of sorts, that scared the bejeezus out of us.

We also came across a rundown town (really, really small) out in New Mexico that seemed to have one person living in it. We based that on the fact that there was still some food and supplies there that were fairly fresh (perhaps just a few days old). Spent a couple days there trying to find the person, just to find out why they were staying in the town. Never found a person.

We found the skeletal remains of an unknown number of deer (ranging from bucks to fawn) ensnared in a barbed-wire fence that encompassed a 10x10 area in the Ozarks. A few of the skulls topped the fence posts, and there was one post in the middle of this area that had decaying deer bodies (looked to be two, but there were only 6 hooves jutting out of the wreckage) wrapped around it.

We found a dummy hanging from a tree while in the Yukon territory of Canada. Literally out in the middle of the woods. No reason for it, as far as we know.

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1. Went on a hike, ended the day heroes.

My two friends and I were hiking in a pretty popular spot in our area. It's a 150-ft waterfall that takes about 45 mins of uphill hiking to get to. We decided to go bouldering around the bottom of the waterfall, there are various little pools and boulders where the water runs off from the waterfall. This bouldering trail is not on the main trail, and not many hikers ever veer off of the main trail.

We found a 22 year old girl, face down in the mud, both legs broken with compound fractures. She had no cell phone, no water, no food, and nothing to keep her warm.

As soon as we found her, we tried to assess the situation. i got as much information as I possibly could. I was incredulous at the situation. She told us her name, her story, she said she had two broken ankles. We visually inspected the injuries to see if we had to stop any bleeding. We confirmed - two Joe-theismann style leg breaks. We gave her water immediately, she said she finished her food & water the night before. I asked how many in your party? When did this happen? Does anything hurt? Are you bleeding? And whatever else boy-scout questions I could think of.

Between the three healthy hikers, only one of us had a phone. We called 911 immediately. With the 911 operator we stressed that there were SERIOUS injuries that needed helicopter. There's a lot of sprained ankles and such on these hikes, but nothing quite like what we saw. We had Montecito fire dept on the phone. They knew the trail, but they didn't know where we were on the trail. They asked for someone to meet them at the trailhead just in case the chopper couldn't see the injured girl from the sky. They launched a chopper from dispatch. My buddy and his girlfriend stayed on the phone and stayed with the injured girl. I went down to the trailhead and met them at the bottom of the trail. Knowing that a girl's life was in danger I ran the whole way.

I met the fire dept at the bottom. There were 6 guys. We were bringing a stretcher and medical supplies, weighed over 100 lbs. This was going to take at least an hour to get back up to the injured girl.

My friends stayed with the girl and gave her water. I was with the fire dept and we were hiking up about halfway when the chopper confirmed visual on the victim and confirmed that they would be able to do a lift-out. So we dropped the stretcher, but continued with supplies and hiked back up to the girl with just the medical supplies.

The chopper made visual contact with the crew. They spotted my buddy's bright pink running shoes before they spotted anything else. The chopper hovered about 100-200 feet above the injured girl and 2 medics rappelled down from the chopper. SIx firefighters came up with me and several more from forest service came down the topside of the mountain.

They used scissors to carefully cut her clothing off to inspect for other broken bones... They packed her up on a stretcher and winched her out onto the chopper. All said and done, we hiked back down with the fire dept and we gave our testimony to the police. They said the girl would have died had we not found her. They said a previous hiker had found a dead body - her friend - at about 10am but they didn't find any other injured hikers in their search so they assumed he hiked alone.

Turns out she was hiking with her friend the NIGHT BEFORE when they both fell off of the waterfall. Her friend must have gone to get help, but unfortunately died less than 100 yds from where we found the girl. So no one knew she was hurt or that she was even there.

It's a miracle she was still alive and mind blowing to think what she had gone through when we found her 20 hours later.



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