My wife (25/f) and I (25/m) were headed up to my folk’s cabin in upstate New Hampshire for the weekend. We both had to work later than usual, so we knew we weren’t going to be arriving until around 1am or so.
This wasn’t really a problem since we lived in Massachusetts and the drive was typically only 4 hours or so depending on traffic.
Now, the cabin itself is on a small and very secluded lake, at the very end of a dead end private dirt road. Its isolation is largely part of the appeal. There is no phone, and in order to get a cell reception you have to drive a few miles into town. There is only 1 other house on our side of the lake (who is never around), and only 6 cabins in total on the entire lake, so it is pretty much about as secluded as you are going to get (in modern day New England anyway). As a matter of fact, in order to even to get to our private road, you have to drive a mile down another dirt road, cross a causeway (it’s basically a dirt road bridge) that crosses a narrow point in the lake, and then take a fork in the road with signs that plainly states “Dead End – Private drive” – And even then, it’s another 1/4 mile to the cabin. So basically, this isn’t the type of place people would typically stumble across.
So we get into town a little after 1:00am, and swing through the nearby gas station hoping to pick up some snacks for rest of the night. However, not much to my surprise the gas station was closed, but we had picked up beer before we left so we could wait until morning to get supplies and still have a good night. Well after circling around, as we are pulling out of the gas station, I notice the lights of a pickup truck turn on at the back of the station. I didn’t really think about it – I had no reason to – I was honestly just excited to get to the cabin and start the weekend.
From the gas station, it’s about 10 miles to the cabin, and all the roads are unlit and pretty rural. After a minute or so I noticed headlights in my mirror, and assumed it was the same truck I had seen at the gas station. I didn’t mention it to my wife because I didn’t really think they were following us, and want to creep her out – But the more I thought about it, I thought it was really strange for the truck to just be sitting at the back of the gas station with its lights off, but after seeing the truck take the second turn behind us I started to worry.
It was almost 1:30am in the middle of nowhere – Why was this truck on the road, and more importantly why has he taken the same 3…now 4 turns as me? This went on for about 5 minutes, and as I approached the first dirt road that would take us to the cabin, I thought about driving past it and making a few random turns to see if it was really following us. However, part of me still thought I was being stupid and paranoid, plus I also didn’t want to alert my wife that I thought we were being followed. So I decided to make the turn, but I didn’t use my turn signal. About 10 seconds later I saw the truck turn in behind us.
My alarm bells starting going crazy. I can’t stress enough how unlikely it would have been for someone other than us to be headed down this particular road, especially at this time of night. Like I said before, there are only 6 cabins on the lake. There are 2 chances to turn off towards other cabins before the fork to our private road, and I watched in utter dismay as the truck passed the first turn off.
“Is that your neighbor?” asked my wife. She had apparently been paying close attention to the truck as well.
“No – I don’t think so…I don’t know who that is” – Which was true. I could tell the truck was dark and was raised up; my neighbor drove an older red pickup.
“Weird…do you think they are following us?”
“I don’t know, probably not. Maybe they are lost.”
I could tell she was nervous by the one in her voice, but I tried to play it cool and act like nothing was wrong, despite the fact I was completely on edge. The second turn off came and went – The truck was still behind us.
The causeway across to the other side of the lake was coming up, and after it was the fork that led to our cabin. Once you hit the causeway, the only chance you have to turn around is at the cabin itself. The 2 roads that fork off are not only dead ends, but they are 1 lane only, so you have to drive to the end and actually turn around in our driveway (or my neighbors). As we came up to the causeway my heart sank. It was spring, so all the melted snow had raised the lakes water level WAY higher than I had thought it would be. Judging by how high the water was at the causeway I knew our road would be flooded. Not just a few inches either – Sometimes after big storms this would happen, and we would have to park at the fork, and then hike through the water to the cabin and sometimes come back to the car with a canoe. I guess this is a good time to mention that I was driving a 2000 Golf GTI.
When I got to the fork my worst fear had come true. In my 25 years of coming to this cabin, I had never seen the road flooded like this. It literally looked like the road just ended and the lake began. It looked like a boat ramp more than a road. The clearance on my car was about 5-6 inches (maybe), and I had actually cracked the oil pan on this car by bottoming out on a rock the year before driving down this very same road. With the truck headlights coming up behind us I was forced to make a decision. I could either stop the car and wait for the truck that had been following us into the woods in the middle of the night, carrying who the fuck knows to catch up to us – Or I could risk driving my car, completely unequipped for off-road scenarios down a very flooded dirt road in the middle of the night.
I dropped the car into 2nd gear, and drove into the water, hoping that it wasn’t was deep as it looked.
Fuck. The water was even higher than it looked after I got into it. At first it came up to just beneath the headlights, and then when the road dipped, it came over the headlights – which killed 90% of my visibility. I looked out the passenger side window, and it looked like the lake came up to the edge of the car – It was just black. Sitting, floating along through the middle of a black lake is the only way I can describe it.
“Is it safe to be doing this!?” my wife said, obviously scared.
No – Of course not. It was incredibly stupid to be doing what I was doing. WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING?! We didn’t have a cell signal to call for help if we got stuck, or to call for help if the truck decided to follow us.
“Probably not…but I can’t stop now…” I said – and gave the car more gas.
I looked in my review mirror and saw the truck, just sitting at the mouth of our road, at the edge of the flood water. I felt absolutely sick. Not only had it turned down my road, but it would also have a much easier time navigating the flooded road than my tiny little Golf. Plus, even if I made it – If they followed we would have nowhere to go – It was a dead end. I can’t remember a time in recent memory I felt so helpless. I am not a big guy so if there was more than one person in that truck, and they wanted to make trouble – They could – And they would have the perfect place to do it. I started to think of things I had in the car I could use as a weapon if I needed to, but I knew I didn’t have anything I could get too quickly. Waves upon waves of regret and fear washed over me.
It was really hard to gauge where the road was, but having driven down this road hundreds of times and judging by the trees on either side of me, I knew the road would start to climb up soon, and hopefully the water wouldn’t be as deep. I was right. After what had felt like an eternity, I felt the car start to climb up and out of the water uncovering the headlights. Inch by inch the car climbed higher and higher until it was out of the water and on dry land. My heart almost burst out of joy. I checked my mirror again to see the truck still just sitting at the beginning of the road. I punched the gas and ripped around the upcoming corner. At this point I knew the road well and that it wouldn’t be flooded again, but I was worried that after seeing my car make it through the water that the truck would follow us. When we got to the cabin I shut off the car and just waited for the trucks headlights to appear around the corner. They never came.
After we got inside (and locked the doors) we talked about how weird the whole encounter was, but I still tried to play it cool.
“Yea they must have been lost, and then decided to turn around after seeing the condition the road was in” I said.
I made jokes about how stupid I was for driving through the water, but underneath it all I was still freaked the fuck out and on high alert. Whoever was in the truck knew where we were, and knew it wouldn’t be easy for us to leave. Hell – All they would have to do is park at the end of the road and wait for us. I spent the rest of night listening for car engines and waiting for headlights to start coming down the road. After a few beers and a movie we eventually fell asleep, but even then it was not a restful sleep – I just lay awake in bed listening and waiting for sounds with an ax by the door and my knife (which was packed away in my bag at the time of the whole ordeal) on the bedside table. It sucked.
The next morning I drove back down the flooded road (which was still really risky) and parked at the fork. The truck was nowhere to be seen and no one bothered us for the rest of the weekend. It all turned out well but it still ranks as the creepiest encounter I have ever had – or potentially had.
Producer’s note: this story was excerpted from Reddit user TheScrumpster‘s account of his life.