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.
My friends and I 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. her friend was dead.
A little backstory – my 2 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.
When we found her, obviously we called 911 and gave her any supplies we had. Eventually a helicopter showed up and they flew her to the nearest hospital.
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 yards 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.
Before we found the hiker, we were climbing rocks in the area and taking pictures. We didn’t even know the poor girl was in the background of these photos!! look towards to right side of the frame in the background.
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 a 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 what assholes did this? or left their shit out to be bear food?
The more we looked around though, the weirder things seemed though. 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 the hell 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.
This happened to me back in the ’80’s, when I was in my 20’s. 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 an Oh Shit 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.
I’m pretty sure our dogs found a radius / ulna bone of the kidnapped and murdered girl, Heather Dawn Church while hiking off trail outside Colorado Springs. As a biology major who remembered some from my anatomy class, I thought the bones looked like they came from a small human. My friends convinced me I was being dramatic and I forgot about it. A couple years later her body was found in the exact same area.
18. An Abandoned Bed
A shed behind an abandoned house with a steel reinforced door broken off the hinges. The windows of the shed were boarded up from the outside. The only thing inside the shed was a queen size bed with shredded, partly singed white sheets.
19. Lost At Night
Per a friend from college, she was in middle school or so when she went on some hiking trip through the woods with a club she was part of. It had started to get dark so the older group leaders decided to lead everybody back. However, it quickly became apparent that they didn’t quite know where they were.
It was getting darker and darker and they still weren’t able to figure out where they were. Eventually, they stumbled across a small cabin. Without many other options, the group leaders decide to ask whoever is in it if the group can stay the night. They approached the door and knocked but there was no answer. They knocked a couple more times and still no response.
They tried the handle and found that the cabin was unlocked. As they entered, they were pretty freaked out by what they saw. Along the wall were several pairs of shoes. Scattered along another wall were a few bed frames. But the most startling thing was that the walls were just covered in chicken scratch writing.
Everybody was freaked out but it was too dark at this point to risk wandering into the woods blindly again. The group hunkered down on the floor. They didn’t really get much sleep that night, but when daylight broke they got the hell out of there.