Hiking is scary and difficult as it is. Add in the creepy woods at night and you have a recipe for terrifying possibilities. And these hikers have unfortunately found themselves in these scary situations.
Here were some of those stories.
Crunch Crunch CrunchGiphy
One night I was sleeping in my tent up in the Canadian shield. I heard crunching on the rocks near to me. It got closer and closer. Then things started brushing against my tent. I was terrified, but also stupidly curious. So I poked my head out of the tent to see what was going on and guess what I saw?
Wolves. A whole pack of wolves, sniffing around the tent. They barely even reacted to me poking my head out. Just stared at me and then kept sniffing. I closed the tent back up and hid in my sleeping bag hoping they didn't decide to rip in to my tent and eat me.
A Voice In The Dark
Was camping alone at a nearby lake in my late teens. I'd basically bushwhacked to a remote part of the woods just off the shoreline of the lake. I grew up hiking and camping wherever I could get to, so I was used to the noises and calls animals will make in the woods at night.
Sometime after I fell asleep, long enough for the small fire to die to embers, I woke up with this immediate awareness that I was not alone. I couldn't hear much over the bug noise of summer, but then I heard voices off behind me. I slowly threw as much dirt and rock onto what was left of the fire and waited. It sounded like someone whispering, or talking low. I strained my ears, but the harder I listened the more everything began to meld together. At one point it sounded like they were to my left, then minutes later, directly to my right. And once it sounded like the voices were tuning in and out like a radio; kinda quiet, then suddenly louder. I laid there motionless for hours.
I fell asleep for a few hours after the sun was starting to come up. When I woke again, I packed up and crept back out of those woods. Just did not feel right. Haven't felt it since, thankfully.
I was camping with a friend at a campground just outside Portland - so well-traveled, fairly urban, lots of rvs around. It was raining and we were both in my tent dozing off. We heard - I kid you not - a LOUD animal scream, very close by. I'm an ecologist and know all the typical campground animal noises and this was not something I could identify at all. It sounded like it came from something pretty big, but it wasn't a coyote or a raccoon or anything - my closet guess is maybe a cougar, but I wouldn't expect them so close to people in an urban campground, and the sound was not right.
My friend heard it too and we just waited in silence. A few minutes later, another one screamed back from across the lake. The next morning when we got up, every dog in the campsite was totally terrified - we saw a few that had been leashed outside and were still hiding under rvs. To this day, I maintain it was either Bigfoot or a massive cougar.
When I was a kid, my mom took my family camping near a very large lake. The second day we got there, I really really wanted to go to the lake, but my younger sister was taking a nap in the tent, so she has her boyfriend at the time watch my sister while her and I hike to the lake ourselves.
When we got there, there were camp rangers, cops, and ambulances all pulled up to the side of the lake, and there were a bunch of small boats circling the water. My mom goes up to a ranger to ask what was up, and I snuck off to get closer to the water edge. I get maybe ten, fifteen feet from the water edge when two guys in diving gear start pulling out this big, purple thing from the lake. Just then, my mom lifted me up, shoving my face into her chest and running us away from the lake.
As we were walking back to the campsite, my mom tries to distract me by asking if I wanted to make s'mores and catch butterflies with her later. Something didn't feel right to me, so I just said no and stayed silent almost all day. That night, when my sister had gone to bed, she explained me that a man had drowned in the lake before we got there, and the purple thing I saw being pulled out was his dead body they retrieved.
I only vaguely remember the body; the purple arms being pulled by the divers is what stands out to me most. I don't know how I didn't see the face.
My mom used to walk/hike at a forest preserve before work every day. But the last time she went...she saw a man in the distance following in the same direction. He kept getting closer every time she looked back, like a poorly directed horror flick. She instinctively ran to the nearest bathroom and locked the door behind her, sure enough the man tried to get in, pounding and yanking at the handle. She held out long enough for a passerby to scare the guy off.
Was camping up in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota as a kid and in the early morning hours, we're awakened by this tremendous "SLAP" and a huge splash in the middle of the lake.
First thought is someone either threw a rock or fired a gun, which would suck when you're that far out in the wilderness. My little nine-year-old self almost shat my pants as another massive smack rippled across the lake.
Turns out it was a f*cking beaver which, for those who aren't aware, smack the sh*t out of the water with those massive tails of theirs before they dive under. It's incredibly loud and absolutely obliterates the quiet of the night around it.
Also, we heard a rustling in our camp a few nights later and it turned out to be a very bold duck.
Have You Ever Seen A Moose? They're GIGANTIC.
When I was in the Boy Scouts, I went to Big Horn leadership camp. On the second to last morning of the trip we woke up to someone screaming at us imploring everybody in our campsite to stay in our tents. We had no idea what was happening but I just used it as an excuse to sleep for another 20 minutes. Right as I was about to pass out a couple of massive shadows comes closer and closer to our tent. I just remember sitting there in dead silence as this THING comes up to our tent. I see an imprint the size of my torso start pressing into the tent for a second, sniff around the outside of my tent. After that it left just as soon as it came. Turns out there was a mama and baby moose roaming around the camp area.
Listen For The Birds
I live in southeast Asia, have a distant relative in Sabah, he owns a wood shed that our family will go there vacation once a year. He always say that jungles are ruled by different spirits, some good and bad ones. And you should never ever track alone and never call anyone by their real names in jungle, because that's how the bad spirits will lure them.
He also says that, don't ever go into a woods with no sound or noise. Usually in woods there are birds chirping or animal sounds, but if there isn't, it means there is something so dangerous, be it spirits or tigers, it's their territory.
I was probably 16 or 17 and bombing home from a party on my skidoo late one night. It was a full moon, cloudless night and the moon illuminated the hills and trees of the northern prairie landscape. I darted between forests along a trail I knew well. Ahead was the river, but my trail crossed it in a place that was reliably frozen solid, especially in cold Februaries like this one.
As I approached the river my trail was a narrow path woven between poplar and black spruce. All of a sudden, a massive moose, silver in the moonlight, stepped into the trail, blocking my path completely. I hit the break, nearly flying over the handlebars (but I was on a Bravo so I wouldn't have ever had enough speed to fly off haha), and skidded to a stop just before the river.
Shaking, I looked up and into the bush and saw absolutely no evidence of a moose. I figured maybe I was tired and maybe shouldn't have had a couple beers earlier on. I was still a bit out of sorts as I sat back down and started slowly towards the river.
Except as soon as I saw the river, I saw that it was open. Had I not stopped, I would have hit the open water going too fast to stop in time, on a sled too small and slow to skip across it. I would have fell into the river, all alone at -20. If I'd made it out, nobody would have been there to help me. I certainly would have died.
I have no explanation for that moose. I'm pretty skeptical, I don't believe in ghosts. But that night, that moose saved my life. And if that is what ghosts are like, well, I'm not afraid of ghost.
Prints Of How I Almost DiedGiphy
I went on a 2 month pre-mid-life crisis road trip with my dog. We started in DC and took 50 all the way to San Francisco, then the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego and Route 66/40 to Chicago to end in Baltimore. 8k miles total.
The creepiest was camping in northern Nevada after 3 days not seeing anyone we found a spot to camp. At 3ish AM, Ampersand, my 7 yo lab, wakes me up barking her head off. She then moved her face slowly around the tent growling, snarling.
As a man, of course, I closed the sleeping bag over my face and hoped it would go away and peed myself a little.
The next day I found mountain lion prints circling the tent. I kept Ampersand on a leash for the last bit of the hike.