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Hiking totally rules.

You get to experience the unique quiet of vast expanses and jam-packed wooded zones. You hear strange bugs, smell all sorts of things, remember how to walk on uneven ground, and forget what rushing feels like.


Of course, there are levels of hiking.

There are day hikes, which allow us to steal away from civilization for just a few hours. These feel more like a break than a total departure.

There are weekend trips: longer excursions that make society go forgotten for full days.

And then there are the out and out adventures, where a person leaves for days and days, or goes somewhere so remote that it feels not only far from civilization, but perhaps untouched altogether.

In these bolder adventures, we feel truly in touch with the natural environment. But for all that excitement, we expose ourselves to the strange and terrifying realities of life out there in the dark.

prestonmelky21 asked, "Hikers/off-roaders, what is the scariest or weirdest encounter you've ever had?"

Profound Silence

"How f***ing eerie it is how plants and vegetation can absorb sounds."

"We were on this hike and me and three other dudes got separated from the main group. We were yelling at the main group of people from a couple yards away, like we could see them and their mouths moving, but we couldn't hear their voices."

"It was like the leaves ate up all the sound, real spooky. At some points and areas, there weren't even any birdsong."

-- 426763

Communications From Nowhere

"The words 'Per audacia ad ignotum' drawn in the snow in the absolute middle of nowhere, yet no footprints around them. The words were probably a few hours old."

"The closest translation we could find was 'through audacity towards the unknown.'"

-- WilheminaHunsicker

Circling Each Other

"Scouting for elk on the Mogollon rim in Arizona. Since the hunt was a week away I couldn't carry a rifle (at least I thought it was illegal, still not sure)."

"My truck was parked in some brush and I returned to it after hiking around to look for sign. I found several very large cat tracks, presumably mountain lion. These tracks were much wider than my boot and I followed them around the truck out of curiosity."

"When I returned to the driver's side door, I realized one of my boot tracks from a minute ago had the cat's track on top of it."

"I jumped into the truck and slammed the door, and ended up laughing at myself because I'd locked it (as if the mountain lion was going to grab the handle and open it)."

"Spent quite a while looking out all the truck windows to see if it came up close again. Never saw the animal though. It was still creepy realizing it was just on the other side of the truck while I was walking around."

-- pullin2

Part of History

"Not me but my uncle. He was off-roading near Death Valley in the late '60s and came across some hippies living in some dilapidated buildings. He said they gave him some weird vibes so he turned around and left."

"He later found out that it was the Manson family."

-- froglover215

An Unexpected Guardian 

"I was hiking with my boyfriend in Northern Macedonia. We were camping one night in the middle of nowhere, next to a closed mountain cottage. In the afternoon, there were no people around, we started to set up our tent."

"This big shepherd dog came and started to hang around - he was not aggressive so we let him be."

"Around 10 pm, it was already dark, a pack of stray dogs appeared next to our tent. They were barking and growling and we were scared as f***."

"My boyfriend wanted to leave the tent and chase them away but I told him not to be stupidly heroic and to try to sleep."

"Well, sleep was complicated because we knew that there is only our tiny tent keeping the pack away from us."

"Suddenly, the big shepherd dog laid down next to the tent - literally 10 cms from my boyfriend. He started to bark and growl at the pack and I am quite sure that he was protecting us from them. The dogs left around midnight and we were able to get some sleep."

"Thank you big doggo for chasing the pack away! I also promised myself to always carry pepper spray with me while hiking. It was very scary."

-- WhiteRabbitWithGlove

The Ritual Site

"Went wheeling for some obsidian way out in eastern Oregon. Came across a burning campfire and about 20 skinned animals from rabbits to dogs and bobcats to cats."

"Sh** was weird. Must've just missed a cult. Got the hell out of there as quick as I could."

-- FreshFartsFastSharts

Horses in the Night 

"Camping once at a place called Gordon Country, it was my first time ever camping and it was freezing cold, -5ish Celsius..."

"...in the middle of the night my partner shakes me awake because she can hear breathing and something rubbing up against our tent, we were terrified the whole night."

"Turns out the owners of the property allow the horses to roam freely in the field, other than that it was a great trip!"

-- ihaveabigego_12inch

Some Very Alarming Yard Work 

"Shovel, 8 foot deep hole and a garbage bag a little over 100km into dense wilderness with the nearest trail about 15km away (outside of bunny trails)."

"Nothing in the bag, but holy f*** did that spook me."

"Like there wasn't even any dirt, the whole was shoveled, dirt removed and a bag with a shovel 3 feet away left?"

"Spooked me out and I don't go out in the area anymore. Quite a lot of old 1800-1900 coal mines and trapper cabins but it's all since been forgotten about."

-- ThisIsAAccountNameYa

A Specter in the Wheat

"I went on a scout camp when I was a kid where we camped at the bottom of a cliff. We went on a big hike that ended at the top of the cliff, which we abseiled down."

"While I was waiting my turn to abseil, I was watching the wheat fields that surrounded the hill."

"I noticed a man who appeared to be walking along on top of the wheat crop. Just sort of floating up there. My friend could see it too."

"We found our troop mates to show them, but by the time we did, the floating man was gone."

"To this day I don't know if we saw something supernatural, or just an optical illusion. Either way, it was very eerie."

-- bornwithatail

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