Outdoor Campers Reveal The Scariest Things That Happened To Them In The Wild
Ah the great outdoors! Camping is said to be one of life's greatest experiences know matter how old you are. Since the beginning of time building a fire and snuggling for an evening with nature is a bucket list activity or a regular pastime. Hunting, fishing, lying in dirt in a sleeping bag... what fun. For some. Luxuriating with mother nature isn't always about smores and family bonding.
Redditor u/VengefulKenny wanted campers to share with us some stories asking... Campers of reddit, what is the scariest/creepiest/most disturbing thing that has happened to you in the woods? Don't forget about Jason Voorhies y'al!
GOTTA GO, GOTTA GO, GOTTA GO RIGHT NOW!
When I was younger, around 14 or 15 years old. My family used to camp at a state park. Every night my friend and I would walk through the woods. We called this "the ritual" this particular night we decided to walk further into the woods than usual. We had flashlights be we liked to try and navigate through the woods with them turned off. We were about half a mile from the nearest camp site when we heard soft whispering behind us. Obviously we hit the flashlights and spun around. Didn't see anything. So we kept walking and we hear it again. This time we stop and look around a bit before we decided to head back to our campsite. Then we see what's whispering. It's a lady crawling on the ground whispering just random words. She was wearing dark clothes and was covered in dirt. When she sees that we notice her she stands up and declares that she is looking for her campsite. We ended up walking her back to the campground and tried helping her find her group. Turns out she was just super drunk and got lost trying to find a bathroom. Her friends didn't even notice she was missing and if we didn't go that far into the woods she would have been lost all night. It was pretty creepy.
IF A TREE FALLS IN THE WOODS...
Went camping in Ginnie Springs in Florida about 10 years ago and sometime at night I heard that sound you hear in movies/TV of a huge tree falling. Didn't think anything of it. About 10 minutes later I started hearing lots of people talking outside my tent so I got out and discovered the tree fell on someone's tent kind of close by and killed them. A helicopter had to come and airlift them out.
MY MONEY IS ON...
My ex and I shared a birthday and would camp every year to celebrate. One night we heard this blood curdling scream followed by growling. We were convinced there was a mountain lion fight going on right outside the tent. After a few minutes of this I got up the courage to stand up in the tent and look through the mesh ceiling. Turns out it was a stray house cat engaged in a stand off with an armadillo...
Safari guide here. Woke up one morning, with "something" very warm, rather soft and comfy on my back. Realized my back was against the canvas of the tent. Realized it was an animal. It was a really cold winter night, temperatures drop close to zero here in the lowveld. WTF?
As I moved a bit, I heard the voice from my buddy, from his tent. He spoke a bit hushed, and with a definite tremble in his voice; "Are you awake?" Stupid me replied with a strong voice: "yes." The animal next to me got up, and (luckily) ran away.
It was a big male lion.
NOT THE DINGO!
Camping alone in a bit of secluded bushland (lots of sticks and leaf litter so can hear critters and people moving easily). Hearing a plopping noise during the night (but no other noises) to wake up to see a decapitated kangaroos head next to the tent that obviously wasn't there when I put the tent up. No explanation.
I was camping in a valley by myself with no cell service. I stayed late on a trail and ran into a nice local dude as it was getting dark. He showed me a local camping spot close to the road and the river, but camouflaged. I had a fire, drank beer, and listened to my friend's comedy podcast. I was loud and visible. Because it was dark already I decided to sleep in the back of my truck under my topper next to all of my gear as opposed to setting up my tent. The next morning I made a fire, cracked a beer, and started making breakfast. Then I notice that there is a man at the edge of my camp. He comes closer, but never looks directly at me. This dude looks homeless has a long ratty beard and has at least a hundred plastic grocery bags tied all over his clothes. I comment about how nice the day is. No response from him. I offer him breakfast, nothing. He sort of paces around the perimeter of my camp. I offer him a beer. But he just turns around. The dude is just standing there back to me wandering around. I'm realizing that there isn't going to be any good happenings. I had my bear spray and buck knife super close. I give him an ultimatum, "you are either going to acknowledge me or leave immediately!" He ignores me. I grab the bear mace and walk a few steps towards him. He sulked away and I threw my stuff in my truck and left that place right quick. I wonder if he had watched me during the night and I thank my laziness for staying in my truck instead of a tent.
It was 2 am pitch dark, low fire. We heard rustling in the woods, flashlights pan out, all of he sudden a mole comes running towards us and INTO the fire. We could hear it sizzling while we all were screaming! The next day the charred body was buried with an proper funeral.
AND THE THUNDER ROLLED...
I had a nasty thunderstorm that spawned a tornado roar over me one night. The tornado cut a path a couple of kilometers away.
At one point the lightning was almost continuous.
No choice but ride it out.
STAY INDOORS PEOPLE!!
My wife and I were camping alone in a kind of remote area, but there were little campsites made by the parks dept that were flat and clear. We found a great looking spot, but it was right on a lake which I thought was to be avoided. But we were beginner backpackers and figured the parks dept wouldn't make a spot there if it wasn't safe, so we set up camp mid afternoon.
I was feeling a little beat so I took a short nap while my wife read a book. When I woke up she told me that somebody was walking around in our camp site. I looked around but didn't see anything. There were some other camp sites maybe 500 feet away so I figured it was another camper checking the place out.
Late that night, after we'd gone to bed for the night it was drizzling a little rain and I was sort of half asleep at probably 2 or 3 am. Then I realized that if I listened really closely I could hear someone walking around our campsite, very very quietly.
I didn't have a knife or any sort of weapon and started freaking out. I carefully woke my wife up to get her ready and we listened together. Then suddenly we heard it, it sounded like a cat cleaning itself (we have cats). Then more walking around in circles around the tent. Then the sound of a large cat lapping up water just feet from our tent. Then walking back to the tent, immediately beside me.
I heard it flop down on the ground. Cat owners know how a relaxed cat flops over. It was like that but WAY bigger. I was trying to control my breathing as carefully as I could so it wouldn't hear me but I was so panicked it was hard to do.
It hung around for what seemed like a long time. I really had to pee, but I wasn't ready to move or breathe, let alone go out there. The scariest part is that the whole time, it was so quiet that if you didn't concentrate you couldn't be sure that it was even there. So when I think it left, well it might have been way before or way after it actually left. No idea.
Eventually I was sure I hadn't heard it in a long time, so I very cautiously poked my head out. Didn't see anything (it was pitch black), did my business, went back to bed.
The next morning we get up and there are massive paw prints in our camp site. Looks just like a cats paw print, but more like 8 inches across.
Later after getting home I called the park ranger to let them know in case they're monitoring encounters with dangerous animals or something (I dunno, I'm not a wilderness expert) and they told me it must have been a mountain lion, and how lucky I was to have an encounter with one (!!).
When I think about my wife telling me that someone was in our campsite around 12 hours earlier than the encounter, it creeps me right out to think that we might have been stalked by a mountain lion for some time.
My parent were on a canoe trip way up in nowhere, Saskatchewan, far from any semblance of civilization.
One morning, they hear a rustling outside their tent. Still half asleep, my dad sits up and tries to figure out what is going on. The noise is loud, and very close. Before he can collect himself enough to go investigate, his whole side of the tent collapses in on top of him.
The weight lifted quickly. Now entirely awake, my parents scrambled to open the tent flap and figure out what was going on. About ten feet away was a spooked black bear, staring confused and concerned at the tent. After being yelled at a bit, it ran off.
We figure it had been foraging in the bushes right behind the tent and lost its balance. So my dad can truthfully say he has been sat on by a bear.
BAMBI? YOU THERE?
Went camping with my friends back in high school. We hiked way out into the woods/mountains and collapsed exhausted into our tents. Middle of the night, I hear something outside my tent. Then another something, and another, all around the tent. It sounded so much to me like something stalking up to our tent, surrounding it. I gathered my courage and looked out, shining my flashlight inot the pitch black darkness. All I could see in the dark was shining eyes looking back at me. Not little eyes or eyes close to the ground, but almost man height and large.
Turned out it was a herd of deer.
DON'T SAY BOO!!
We like to hike 3-5 miles down a trailhead in deep Georgia. One night the temperature dropped into the low 20's, which is really rare for mid fall. We got a solid fire going, and the heat mixed with a full belly put us all to sleep.
I woke up to my buddy tapping my foot with a stick. I looked up at him and he nodded toward the fire. There were 2 wild boar kicking up dirt around the dying fire. We didn't have any sort of weaponry except a hand axe that was out of our reach. My friend and I laid there completely silent watching these two for about an hour till the fire died completely down and they moved on.
If you don't know, Wild Boars in Georgia are easily 150lbs, pissed all the time, and prone to gore literally anything . We were reaaaally lucky we didn't spook them.
My time in the Army meant i spent a ton of time in the woods of upstate NY. I remember many of nights waking up to things reaching into my pockets, pulling things from my kit (body armor). Id wake up to a raccoon pillaging my things, literally unzipping pouches and such. I still swear to this day they were organized, rallied behind this giant raccoon stick who would sit outside and keep guard and coordinate them.
THE OLD LADY AND THE SEA...
My family went camping every summer when I was growing up. We usually bounced between Virginia Beach, Assateague, and this godawful place called Westmoreland. One trip we were in Assateague, near the beach, and we had two tents set up in different parts of the site.
Some time in the middle of the night my mom woke up, which woke me. She was sitting up straight but completely still, and I looked over at what she was staring at. In the moonlight there was the silhouette of what looked like an old woman looking into our tent. Long wiry hair and everything.
I was young, so it terrified me, and I started asking my mom what that was, who was outside. Once I made noise it spooked the "old woman" and she took off, and that's when we realized she was actually one of the feral ponies that live on the island. We had set up that particular tent on one of their trails, and they were going down to the beach.
Saw a mountain lion looking at me from about 100 feet away while pooping. Good thing I had a gun with me just in case but it was at my most vulnerable moment. Also it really helped me take a crap faster.
CLUE... THE CAMPING VERSION.
Scariest was camping with my wife when a windstorm blew up. I am talking trees being blown over, branches falling, the works. In a forest full of jack pine.
The creepiest was camping with my best friend. We were in a semi remote camping area. Driveable usually to get to it but definitely only with a 4x4. It was a semi maintained camping area as in there were a couple of fire pits, a few rotten picnic tables and a run down out house. Parks checked this place once a year or so.
So we get there and start setting up when buddy wanders over to the pooper and opens the door. He stands there for a second or two and then closes the door and goes to the 2nd one, goes in and comes out a few minutes later.
He comes back to me and says go check out that first one. I assume someone s*** on the floor or an animal got stuck in there and died or something.
Nope. 3 full backpacks. And i am talking big bags. Like the bag i have that size i use for week long trips. So we are nosy. We open them up. 2 are full of good quality gear. Nothing unusual. The third is full of skittles. Bulk bags. Small bags. Regular. Tropical. Sour. Every flavor and size of bag you can imagine. Just full of skittles.
Camped for 4 days. Never saw a soul. Bags still there when we left. We let the COs know when we got to civilization.
Who left all that gear? Why did one person pack 80 litres of skittles? Dont know. But it was weird.
Oh. Another scary one. Dog and i were backpacking. Spur of the moment overnight trip. Wasnt far off the road or anything. So i just have a tarp up as a small shelter. Small little fire. Wasnt really hiding per say but wasnt being obvious. Just dozing off when i hear a truck rip up and a bunch of drunken voices. Then the shooting started.
Now they probably didn't know i was there. I was parked on a different road and hadn't realized i had walked as close as i had to the second one. But i still don't like being in the area when a bunch of drunken yahoos are shooting off guns. Especially when i was fairly certain they were shooting in my direction (based on the lay of the land). So i put pupper on a tight leash and headed out asap.
I was camping in Glacier National Park a few years ago and decided to wake up early at night to catch the Perseids meteor shower. I stepped out of my tent and turned on my headlamp to see 5 pairs of glowing eyes staring back at me. It ended up being the same family of goats I saw when I set up my campsite, but still not what you want to see in the darkness.
25 years ago or so. Saw eyes in the darkness of the trees when shining a flashlight out. Seemed kinda high up. They were red reflecting. Also was having sticks and rocks occasionally thrown into our camp. Nothing big and it was directed at the fire. Eventually it stopped and we went to bed. There was 4 of us. I'm a light sleeper and so is my dad. We both woke up to footsteps and a really bad stink about 5am. My dad shook the side of the tent and yelled "get the HELL OUTA here" whatever it was it ran off. Cowlitz country WA.
STAY OFF THE PROPERTY..
I know someone who while hiking in Colorado with some friends, they found an abandoned cabin. In a roughly circular region around the cabin, everything inside was dead: plants, small animals, etc. They didn't step inside and have no idea what was up.
My dog absolutely lost it on a nice hike. Like, she was scared for her life, and would have ran out into the woods had she not been on a leash. Lucky that she didn't pull me over and run away anyway. My mom and I are pretty sure there must have been a mountain lion stalking us, and the dog could smell it. Scary as hell, because we didn't see anything, and if it had been one of us alone, who knows what would have happened.