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.