There's something really majestic about hitting a trail and backpacking through the mountains or the wilderness. The sights you see? They can be incredible. The feeling of independence as you keep walking, unencumbered by the pressures of everyday life? They can feel fulfilling. The horror stories? Terrifying.
Believe it or not, they happen, especially if you're not careful as we learned after Redditor EinnVon asked the online community, "People who have done a multi-day hiking trip, what is your horror story from the trip?"
I'm a city boy. I think I'll stay right where I am.
"First night out."
Night 1 of a trip at Sleeping Giant in Canada, I believe. First night out, I'm always a little jumpy because it takes a while to get used to the sound of the woods, and this was no exception. It was a solo trip, so just me in a little tent on the edge of the forest, looking out onto a small slope down onto a pebble beach.
I was having some real trouble getting to sleep, the woods were just so loud and my mind kept jumping to 'serial killer' instead of 'normal wildlife'. I was trying to convince myself otherwise when I hear some heavier footsteps. Breaking twigs. My heart is in my throat because I just know I'm going to die all alone in the Canadian backwoods.
Then I hear a crash and some falling rocks directly outside my tent, and I work up the courage to turn on my flashlight and unzip the door to have a look... at which point I catch a glimpse of the very clumsy woodland elk that had just fallen down the slope onto the beach right in front of me.
Thanks for the clarification.
"Spent the whole night half asleep..."
Great Dividing Range in Australia. Doing it in summer, so we didn't take tents - just slept in sleeping bags in the open, under the stars. (We had tent flies with us in case it rained.)
Gorgeous. Except for the one night when we camped near a huge infestation of caterpillars. Fuzzy hairy ones. Spent the whole night half asleep, and peeling tickly fuzzy things off my face.
That's a big nope from me, dawg. Call me a wuss, but I hate dealing with bugs.
"My wife and I had set up camp..."
I was on a canoe camping trip, on a long narrow lake. My wife and I had set up camp about halfway along the lake, and all was well.
After dark, I went to wash my face in the lake, and I see two lights on the other side of the lake! (It was only like 50 meters wide). As I'm watching, their headlamps fade and die. And then something big starting snorting over there. A moose or a bear? It was pretty loud.
It was a still night, and so I called out to them: "Hey are you alright?"
It turns out they had accidentally started hiking from the wrong parking lot (delaying them an hour or two) and then when they got to the lake, they had hiked down the wrong side of the lake.
So I offered, and then went and picked them up in my canoe, and lent them a flashlight so they could set up. I think they were pretty relieved to have gotten away from whatever animal that was. If I hadn't been there, that would have had hours of hiking to get to the next campsite! Without lamps!
"I barely remember the rest of the tour..."
I went out to Muir in CA to see the redwoods. I did one of those old-person tours and that was one of the stops. Everyone in my group stayed on the ground trails, but I decided to take the elevated trail up and around. I was having a blast with my camera and relished the solitude within the forest. I suddenly realized that everything around me had gone quiet. Deadly silent. The only thing I could hear is the ringing in my ears and my own heartbeat pounding because I knew that meant a predator was in the area.
I did the same thing you did, and kept saying to myself repeatedly, "I'm not ready to die. I'm not ready to die," as I slowly made my way down. I didn't want to run because I didn't want to start a chase, but it was HARD resisting the urge to just scream and run for my life.
Suddenly there were birds singing around me again, and I heard a bunch of kids running and yelling up the trail behind me.
I barely remember the rest of the tour. The other people on the bus kept asking me how it was up there so I showed them photos from my camera but I was definitely in shock. The bus driver noticed something was up, I could tell he looked a bit worried. But I would crack jokes to distract him from questioning me.
"As we walk backwards..."
I was doing a one-night backpacking trip with a friend a few years back in some woods we didn't know very well. It was a very popular area for such things, and not particularly remote, so we weren't worried. The sunset snuck up on us a bit, so we were making camp in the dark. I was gathering some firewood by the light of my headlamp when I spot the unmistakable shimmer of a pair of eyes maybe 100 feet from me. My dumb @ss is excited because cool; wildlife! After staring at these eyes for a minute though, it becomes clear this is not a harmless raccoon; it is something big.
I don't have any sort of weapon and don't know how best to scare away my mystery animal. I call out to my buddy, who shines his brighter light in that direction. Turns out our visitor is a mountain lion. Maybe the fear distorted things but MAN that thing looked big. I didn't know much about them but I knew that if they attack you, they are spectacularly deadly. We decide to try and make a fire as quickly as possible since we figure we can't outrun the murder kitty.
As we walk backward toward our campsite, that damn thing kept perfect pace with us and never broke its gaze. The more of it I could see, the more I wished I couldn't. That cat was absolutely pure muscle. Luckily we had supplies to get the fire going very quickly, which had the effect we hoped; our stalker stopped slowly advancing on us. It appeared to think for a minute about its next move and then decided to maintain its current distance but circle us for a while. So now it's a stalemate.
Despite not being very remote, this area didn't have cell service back then, so we had no choice but to play the waiting game. We pitched our tent, made dinner, and tried to make jokes about the situation for the next few hours. The cat circled us for a long time maintaining his perimeter. At some point, though, he stepped behind a tree and we never saw him come out the other side. My friend and I had opposing reactions to this. I took the glass-half-full route and was relieved that it was gone. My friend's view was "well now he can be anywhere you idiot! It's not like we'll hear him coming if he charges us from behind!!" He was probably more right than me.
Eventually we are too tired to stay awake and aren't willing to risk burning the forest down so we let the fire burn out. No sign of our stalker for a while so we're hoping to sleep without being eaten alive. Luckily we did just that and I woke up the next morning well-rested and enjoying the act of breathing. As soon as I sat up in the tent and saw my friend though, it was obvious something was up. He was wide-eyed and looked pretty freaked out.
It turns out just as the morning light showed up in the sky, our feline friend came back to check on us. Apparently there was a funny yowly sound that woke my friend up and got closer to the tent over the course of 10 minutes or so. I didn't know at the time that mountain lions make a sound similar to a scream, which is very disconcerting when you're camping by yourselves.
Not that I cared though, my survival instincts were going strong as I happily slumbered. My friend hoped it was a bird at first but pretty much knew what it was. He didn't want to risk making any noise by waking me or getting out of his sleeping bag, so he just laid still hoping it would pass by. Apparently that harbinger of death got right the hell up on our tent and paused trying to figure out what it was. The windows were zipped shut, but my friend said it got close enough and there was enough light that he could see its shadow on the tent wall. It made another screech or two, sniffed around, and decided to move on.
So anyway, I wake up not knowing any of this, but just seeing my friend doesn't look good. I asked him what was up, and he says let's get out of the tent and he'll fill me in. I wonder now if that was because he didn't want to be the first one out of the tent. Maybe I had made too many jokes about how I could run faster than him, so he would likely be the tasty treat.
Luckily, the hike out was uneventful and this whole event was nothing more than education for us. We always carry a gun while camping now, though we've never seen anything else even close to that scary. Read up on your local predators ahead of time, kids. And definitely bring one really slow runner on every trip.
Why would I want to go somewhere I might be stalked by a mountain lion? I'm cool where I am.
"We found him again..."
Leading a youth group on a hiking trip. Lost a kid.
We found him again but I don't think anything will compare to the fear of losing someone else's child.
This has "horror film" written all over it.
Getting lost in the woods is not my idea of a good time.
"It was supposed to be..."
It was supposed to be a two night stay in the backcountry in Grand Teton National Park, with my parents. The day we hiked out, it rained the entire day and only got worse when we got to where we were camping. Everything was soaked through despite our best efforts (this was far from the first backpacking trip we'd been on), and we ended the day with sleet. I ended up wrapping myself in one of those emergency foil blankets inside my sleeping bag to get warm. We were so miserable the next morning that we threw in the towel and hiked back to civilization... in perfect weather. Every single person we crossed paths with the next day was shocked we'd even bothered going out the day before.
Moral of this story: if you compare your father to Ron Swanson on a regular basis, don't let him make decisions about activities if inclement weather is in the forecast.
"But the worst..."
When I was a kid (like 10ish?) my parents took us on a family vacation, a week-long backpacking trip through the Smokies.
It was mostly fine, I still look back on it fondly. But there were big millipedes everywhere and you had to be careful when packing up otherwise you'd probably roll one up in your tent or something.
But the worst was I went into my sleeping bag for the night and I felt something crawling along my leg. It felt like an inchworm, but it was, in fact, a bee. Somehow. Fortunately, I'm not allergic, but dealing with a bee sting in my calf right before bed some 10 or 15 miles from the trailhead... not fun.
"My only real horror story..."
My only real horror story was learning the lesson that the weather report for the nearest town does not reflect the weather at the top of the mountain where the open-face shelter is. When you pack for a low in the high 40's, sleeping in single digits is rough.
Also grew up in swampier parts of Florida. Wildlife can startle you. Not really "scary" once you know what to look/listen for. A cougar makes a horrifying sound if you don't know what it is. If you are near water in nesting season, always check for gator nests nearby. You don't want to find one while you're mid-dump. That does make a good laxative though.
"Did a miscalculation..."
Kepler Track New Zealand. Did a miscalculation on the number of calories two adults needed for the four-day trek. Had nothing but one jerky stick left and minimal water when we barely caught the last shuttle from the end trailhead back to Te Anau an additional 14K away. Whenever I think of the hungriest I've ever been it's the last half-day off that trek.
When we got back to our rented room we ordered two pizzas and a dessert made of berries, ice cream, and chocolate. I can not remember what the pizzas tasted like or even what we ordered. I only noticed the food going into my mouth at dessert. It was the most beautiful flavor I've ever experienced.
Have these stories put you off of hiking yet?
Here's a life tip: You can be a city boy like me and just not do it. It saves you a lot of trouble. (I'm being facetious, by the way.)
If these stories only further awaken the adventurer in you, then have at it.
Have some horror stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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When looking at a resume, it's easy to understand how prospective employers will assume someone is very intelligent based on their education and past experience.
But one shouldn't only assume someone's intelligence based on what they read.
More often than not, one can tell rather quickly that someone possesses above-average intelligence, based on how they speak, how they behave, or other telling details.
Redditor PadWanKenobi was curious to hear what people felt were the tell tale signs they were in the company of a possible genius, leading them to ask:
"What’s a sign of extremely high intelligence?"
"Ability to intuitively and quickly understand complex systems and how lots of parts relate in a coherent whole."
"Like I work with some people who just keep tons of concepts in their head and easily integrate new information into their understanding of those concepts."
"They immediately know what questions they should be asking to better understand."
"And these are things they're currently working on, not like things they spent time studying in school over years."
"They just have a very strong ability to synthesize new information into their understanding."
"I sit in meetings distracted and confused having forgotten what we talked about in the previous meetings, and these folks just consistently have a solid handle on everything."- Ok-Control-787
Innate Problem Solvers
"They know when not to solve a problem."
"This took me a while to understand but the smartest people I know do this."
"It could be a really simple thing like ignoring emails from people asking for help."
"The supervisor or boss might have a quick and easy solution for the situation but instead of just handing it to the person that asked they let them figure it out on their own."
"They know who they can do this with and when to do it."
"If they did that with all of their underlings it would just create a mess."
"Another example that I can think of is planned chaos."
"Some people can predict exactly where things will go wrong and they could fix it before it creates a problem."
"They don't because nobody ever notices what's going on in the background when things are working perfectly."
"Once things fails then everybody notices and if you are the one person that fixed it you become the hero."
"They can also use then chaos to reach a goal they couldn't get before if things were working correctly."
"There's many examples of this in every day life that I didn't see before until I realized what was happening."- atapesGiphy
You know what they say about people with small hands
"If your hand is smaller than your face."- FallofTheKnight
The all knowing glow.
"When someone asks you a question and you push your glasses up while light comes out of it and covers your eyes for some reason."- JonEregor
Those giveaway behavioral quirks
"Wearing glasses and saying things like 'ah yes', and 'I see' while you pensively rub your chin."- iuytrefdgh436yujhe2Thinking Reaction GIF by ABC TV + IVIEWGiphy
"When they explain something they make the people around them feel smarter, not dumber."- redkat85
Being one step ahead.
"The capacity to understand complex things, see patterns where regular people don't."- Ostepop234
"They have this tendency to make you go 'Ohhh, why didn't I think of that?' when listening to them talk."- did_it_forthelulzWhy Didnt I Think Of That Cillian Murphy GIFGiphy
An endless love of learning
"A passion for knowledge and expanding understanding of complex concepts."
"The plumber can be just as insightful as the scholar."- KatatoniK94
Of course, one shouldn't always be fooled by what they see.
As many people are masters at appearing much smarter than they are.
In fact, one important sign of super intelligence is being able to separate those who appear smart, from those who actually are.
With each passing year of a marriage, couples will often discover that while they don't love each other any less than they once did, that spark their relationship used to carry has faded.
This will often lead these couples to look for ways to spice things up a bit.
Among the more popular experiments is inviting a third member to their bedroom.
Enticing as this prospect is, however, it's also easy to be intimidated by the reality of it, or even the mere suggestion of it.
"Men, what advice do you have for men whose wives want to bring a third into the bedroom?"
Make sure you want to do it.
"You need to be completely honest with yourself, ask if this is something you want and could live with."- Dame87
Proceed with caution
"It’s like frolicking in a mine field."
"You both better be SUPER into the idea, you can’t have one person who’s reluctantly agreed to go along with it."
"And established rules."
"A threesome sounds like fun and games until you’re watching your partner make faces and sounds that you only thought were for you in your most intimate moments together, and a burning jealousy comes out of nowhere and breaks your heart."
"I’m not saying it’s automatically a bad idea and I know people do polyamory successfully, but dear god be careful."- coleosis1414
Make sure you're an active participant
"I had an ex that was adamant that she wanted to be a swinger or whatever."
"The one time I decided to roll with it, I hit it off immediately with the other dude's girlfriend and had a blast hanging out with her all night."
"The other dude was a total creep, though."
"Also, my ex could not handle the fact that someone else was giving me the slightest bit of attention."
"So, needless to say, that didn't go anywhere."
"Turns out she didn't want to be a swinger, she just wanted to have sex with other people behind my back, which she had no problems whatsoever with."- Ted_Denslow
Look out for ulterior motives
"Just remember that if you bring this up and your husband is against it, that could be the beginning of the end of your marriage."
"For a lot of people their partner saying 'I am seriously considering having sex with other people and I'm checking with you if it is ok', is a deal breaker."- gamerplays
Consider a test run?
"Go to a bar together separately."
"Watch them flirt/interact with someone else."
"If you get jealous, it's probably a bad idea to bring in a third."
"If it turns you on, go for it."- SinSlayer
Query people with experience.
"It’s something my wife and I have talked about."
"We both agreed that opening the Pandora’s box is not the way we want our relationship to go."
"While it sounds fun, we have seen way to many relationships derailed because of it."- DarthDujo
Consider going whole hog.
"Bring a 4th."- xxemrgmi
Evaluate your relationship first.
"Make sure you and your partner are secure in your own relationship before having another person join."
"Have boundaries, and no secrets."
"From my experience it doesn't usually work out in the end."- Thick-Procedure455
"Don't do it."
"For a long time, my ex harbored a fantasy of watching me have sex with another woman."
"Hey, who knows why any of us are wired the way we are?"
"After contemplating the idea together for a while, we decided to approach one of her more attractive co-workers, who had made a series of flattering comments along the lines of "you're so lucky" and "he's so good-looking'."
"She enthusiastically agreed."
"Our first meet-up was of course awkward, but the second, third and following were pretty good."
"In fact they got progressively hotter, as we all got more comfortable with each other's boundaries, erotic likes and dislikes."
"However, over a few months these occasional kinky weekends transitioned into the co-worker asking more frequently and aggressively to be invited over."
"We tried to explain that we had intended these threesomes to be rare and exotic highlights in our sex life, not regular occurrences, but she didn't take the message to heart and instead became increasingly insistent, bordering on smothering."
"After being turned down one Friday, that night she unexpectedly showed up at our door anyway, carrying a weekend bag and wearing nothing but a raincoat, stay-ups and heels."
"While that was quite a sight, it definitely creeped us out, as it made us finally realize the whole arrangement was descending into 'play Misty for me' territory."
"My ex and I agreed that her unexpected and unwelcome appearance signaled the end of future three-ways, at least until we were able to cool our own selves down, reassess, and perhaps later find a less demanding and insistent third."
"Things subsequently got very sticky at work for my wife, as her co-worker, with whom she had to interact closely, strongly resented being permabanned, and kept demanding to know 'what she'd done that was so awful'."
"Coworker eventually asked to be transferred to another office, but by the time that process was over and done, the discomfort / guilt / pressure / confusion my ex was suffering both at home and at work had begun to take its psychological toll."
"I must confess it didn't help that our own sex life was simultaneously going through a rough patch."
"Long story short, we ended our decade-long relationship less than a year after breaking off the threesomes, chiefly due to trust issues and growing sexual incompatibility, both perhaps triggered by our experimentation."
"Ever since, I've regretted agreeing to that first three-way."
"If I hadn't been so damned eager to take a bite of forbidden fruit, we might have kept our relationship intact."
"But I guess this can also be put down as what sometimes happens when you ignore that old advice, 'don't sh*t where you sleep'."- theartfulcodger
When venturing into the unknown, it's always wise to gain some first hand experience, to hear a variety of pros and cons of what you're possibly getting yourself into.
That way, deciding whether or not it's for you will become increasingly clear.
It's also important to remember, that it is always ok to say "no".
People Share Their Best 'You Either Die The Hero Or Live Long Enough To Become The Villain' Experiences
"You either die the hero or live long enough to become the villain."
Though not necessarily a universal truth, all of us have witnessed unfortunate moments in our lives where we've seen this saying become a reality.
Be it seeing our favorite public figures take a serious fall from grace, someone we know and admire eventually disappointing us in a devastating manner, or even seeing ourselves turn into someone we promised we'd never become.
One Redditor was curious to hear people's examples of this saying coming to light, either from a personal experience or seeing it happen to a well-known, public figure, leading them to ask:
"Who is your example of 'you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain'?"
"He originally stood up for civil rights when it was really unpopular."
"Was hospitalized and accidentally placed in the black ward."
"When the doctors found out, they tried to move him, but he refused."
"Then he became a cult leader and used his power and influence to end the lives of a thousand people."- Crvsby
Earning a position of power
"Working in restaurant kitchens."
"You either burn out young, or become the boss that everyone hates."
"There's exceptions, but that's the rule."- grandpas_old_crow
"Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver."
"Made up a bunch of untested uses for it, treating people having asthma attacks, and drowning victims were the two I remember that he publicly talked up."
"Later, he funded an experiment that involved injecting people with Malaria to see if it would treat other conditions.
"The experiment was found to be unethical by American review boards, so he conducted them in Ethiopia." - User Deleted
"In WW1 he led the French to victory at Verdun, one of the worst battles in human history."
"In WW2, after France was beaten, Petain was the head of state of Vichy France."
"Guy went from the Lion of Verdun to the biggest Nazi collaborator in France."- arthuranymoredonuts
"Every organ until it gets cancer."- SuperBaconjam
"He had the whole country behind him here in Ireland at one point bar people who thought combat sport is grotesque."
"He was witty, original, backing himself up and having a Hollywood like rise to stardom."
"Now he's someone who the whole country is ashamed of, goes punching old men, clearly sleeps around on his wife while she's at home with the kids, just a walking caricature of himself."
"He didn't listen to his own advice."
"Get out."- StephenPigot2020
Turning into our parents
"My dad used to annoy me by calling my Pokemon cards 'Pokey-Mans'."
"Now my kids have them and I do the same thing and it annoys the sh*t out of them."
"Thanks for the (Pokeyman) gold!"- rumpel4skinOU
"Almost died during the revolutionary way, if I recall correctly, and if he had he would have been remembered a huge hero, and a martyr."
"Instead he lived and changed sides, and is remembered only for his being a traitor."- uniqueperson22
Be it someone we knew quite intimately, or someone we admired from a far, it is always heartbreaking to see someone evolve from someone we love, to someone we utterly hate.
Sometimes we do things that have to be done.
And some of those things live in life's gray area of right and wrong.
What comes as a surprise to some is when we don't care if we're wrong.
We may still technically be in the right.
But morally and ethically, there may be some issues.
But still, many people don't care.
Redditor BirdyPizzawanted to see who would fess up about some of the worst things we're responsible for but have no shame.
"What is the darkest thing you have ever done and don’t regret?"
I've stolen from department stores that overcharged. I was arrested. I didn't care. So there...
"Five years ago my dad suffered a catastrophic stroke. Left paralyzed and robbed of his speech and ability to communicate he was a shell of the once vibrant, charismatic man he once was. He was moved into skilled nursing where he lived for nearly two years, he was miserable."
"On my last visit I told him it was okay if he wanted to leave us, that we would miss him but he should go. A week later I received the call that he had passed. Instead of immediate grief I felt relief. Relief that he was finally free. The grief came later and I still miss him every single day."
"Got into a car accident and had to stay with my mom for a couple days to figure out what to do. Went back to my apartment (I had two roommates) and everything was missing from my room. Long story short one of my roommates had everything hidden in her room."
"I called and told her the things were missing from my room and she came up with a lie that a couple girls came to look at my room (I was moving out bc of the accident, long story) and that they must have taken my things. She had everything I owned. Including my grandmothers perfume bottles, stuffed to the back of her closet, under her bed, behind her dresser etc."
"So I packed all of my stuff up. Then took a giant black garbage bag and stuffed as much of her closet in it as I could. Took it to the middle of nowhere, dug a hole and burnt it. She called screaming at me that her stuff was missing. I told her the two girls must have come by and taken her stuff too."
"I hit my uncle left right and center when he was trying to choke my father to death. I was 16 years old at that time, a very skinny girl. I beat his face neck and every part of him that I could target with so much intensity that my knuckles turned blue the next day. I had an animalistic rage that day trying to help my father get away from his death grip. I hate my uncle even today."
"I got anger issues because of growing up around him. And I don't regret beating him that day at all. He was physically abusive to his wife as well. One fine day, his wife retaliated by beating him blue with a stick. And he stopped being physically violent towards her post that."
"A neighbor like 10 years ago was neglecting their dog badly in the heat. The dog escaped often and ended up at the shelter a lot. One day she jumped the fence and got her tie-out cable stuck on the fence. (She was not in danger of choking.) Neighbor put her on a 3-foot-long cable tied to a doorknob, no water, 90 degree day. I let some kind folks steal her, watched the whole thing and said nothing to stop them."
"When my father was dying and in pain I was the one who told the doctors he had been through enough and we couldn't see him suffer anymore. Doctor injected him with something, I assume a morphine mega dose and he passed peacefully moments after. Euthanasia may not be legal in UK but compassionate doctors know what's what. I don't regret it because my pa made me promise I would have his back when he got sick or old. I'm sad he got sick and never got to get old."
That is a lot of mess. But sometimes we have to do what we have to do.
"One of my ex best friends in high school was a real narcissistic lunatic. Had so many egotistical fantasies about what he deserved but I remained his friend because we met through my close friend (his girlfriend). As I started realizing what a terrible person he was I convinced him to go after his fantasy of a harem by asking to add a 3rd to their relationship, that led to a fight between his gf."
"I called her about it and asked how she felt about him adding someone to their relationship and about him sleeping with her. She said she knew nothing about that and started crying because he cheated on her. I basically helped orchestrate their breakup and have no regrets. She is happy with her first child now and he is in a toxic af relationship with 3 kids, 2 of which aren't his and his partner is 8 years older than him."
"Had to make the choice to take my dad off of life support after he got Covid this year. He was sedated for a couple of weeks and one of his lungs collapsed and I couldn't watch him fall apart anymore. My dad was a bulky dude. Constantly did a lot of outdoor work and to see him bone skinny and have no muscle left killed me and I knew even if he somehow got through it, he would have been so miserable and depressed in that state he was in. I don’t regret it. I think it was the right thing to do by him. I’ll never not miss him though. That was my buddy."
"Turned a close friend into the fish and game. He would poach mountain lions and bears. His whole family would literally shoot them and leave them. He would brag about it. I couldn’t stand it and felt that I needed to stop him. He’s in prison and so is his uncle. I know I ruined his life but he was literally killing so many mountain lions and bears."
"In middle school, there was this group of boys that would corner me in the hallway and try to scare me. I was the perfect target for these little b**tards. I was short, skinny, and had (and still have) and anxiety disorder. One day I just had enough, and asked a friend if I could have an extra pencil, sharpened it as much as I could, and when I saw one of them in the hallway, I stabbed the hell out of his leg. Sh**head got what he deserved."
Wow... we really are a dark and secretive people.