Jan 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm #1312238
I have never had anything terribly bad or dangerous happen in the great outdoors. However, I would love to hear some of your horror stories! I just think it'd be cool/interesting to hear what sort of experiences you all have had. Snakes in your sleeping bag? Forced to amputate your own arm? Blizzards? Mauled by a bear? Stalked by a mountain lion? Chased by a yeti? Lions? Tigers? Bears? Oh my.
Ready.. Go!Jan 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm #2064356
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
My story was a tough one, its only recent I can talk about it…
When I was a little guy we went packrafting with an early version of the Alpacka. Our plan was to packraft to a small island on the coast of Iowa (its not commonly known but Coastal Iowa is notorious around the world for its treacherous coast).
As we neared the shore my boat sprung a leak and I barely made it to the shore in a hypothermic state. My family was (and still is) nowhere to be found. I started a friction fire using braided dental floss and pocket lint and barely warmed myself up. I succumbed to heat exhaustion as I made my way across the frozen island. I was rescued by a tribe of Vegetarian Cannibals. I then spent the next couple years living with them. During that time I was chased by a rabid fox, fought off a Carnivorous Whitefaced Deer with a tent stake and lost a toe nail in a vicious Iguana attack. Then a National Geographic photographer saw me and arranged for me to be flown back to the mainland USA.
It was all pretty traumatic but through it I gained confidence in myself and learned the value of positive thinking. I used these lessons to good effect when I entered the cut-throat world of Beachfront Real-estate Sales in North Arizona. I took a struggling partnership of four agents and turned it into a successful solo operation making tens of dollars in the process (before losing them in a Red Bull fueled poker game at 3 AM).
My adventures in the wilds have taught me a lot but there have been some downsides. I suffer short term memory loss and struggle with making self contradictory statements, also sometimes I believe things that are not true… not sure if that's relevant or not.Jan 19, 2014 at 12:10 am #2064360
…Jan 19, 2014 at 5:08 am #2064368
@ejcfreeLocale: off grid
My then woman friend and I were sleeping peacefully in our tent when I awoke with a start as she grabbed something off the pillow between our heads and threw it to the wall. I lit the headlamp to find a frantically scurrying 14 inch centipede, the Alacran.
excerpted from this report http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=75423Jan 19, 2014 at 7:24 am #2064383
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
On my recent Adirondack traverse, I had fixed myself a celebratory drink for the final night on trail, using the last of my everclear stove fuel. When I got up to tend my fish cooking over the campfire, I accidentally kicked the mug containing my drink. I watched in horror as it ran across the duff in sticky pink rivulets, never to be seen again.Jan 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm #2064410
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
My god, Ike — that IS a horror story. Hope it never happens to me! :~)Jan 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm #2064418
Actually, Ike, the horror part of the story is that somebody secretly scooped some Sterno into your cup, then you unknowingly spiked it with EC, stirred it up, then proceded to kick it over. And they all lived happily ever after (except maybe the ants that scurried over to those sticky pink rivulets…).
If someone in the woods ever offers me a sticky pink cocktail after dark, I hope I have the sense to kick it over and act like I didn't mean to.Jan 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm #2064425
Seeing that life in the infantry is basically backpacking in Hell, here's mine:
I was on a recon patrol (training) in Panama in 1996. Night vision goggles rely on some sort of ambient light to work and in triple canopy jungle, they were pretty much useless and stayed in our rucks.
I was on point and fighting my way through waist high wait-a-minute vines. Our forward momentum was pretty slow as I had to raise my boot very high to stomp down the vines. We reached a spot in the jungle where there was a break in the canopy where the moonlight could shine through. I took my millionth (citation needed) exhausting step through the dense brush and vines only to see the furry back of an animal who was not only close enough that I could touch it, but more concerning to me, didn't give a crap that I was standing next to it. I whispered/whimpered to my team leader, "There's something right here!" "Ok, slowly back up."
When I stepped back, apparently lifting my weight off of some of the vines did something where a branch hit me. Assured that I was about to become disemboweled by the Chupa Cabra, I lost my military bearing. More accurately, I lost my S%+ and screamed like a Justin Bieber groupie.
Animal noises are constant in the jungle but we could hear something circling around us as we completed the patrol. Could have been just a jungle rat but the M16 filled with blank ammunition did little to comfort me. I of course received gold medal ball busting when we returned to garrison; fortunately I was scheduled to PCS to Ft. Drum a few weeks after this incident.
We had a couple patrol bases raided by wild boar in Germany but other than destroying our rucks, they didn't seem all that interested in us.Jan 19, 2014 at 4:17 pm #2064443
I have hiked many thousands of miles with over 5000 miles on the PCT and AT. Over all of those miles the closest I came to death was on the AT in northern Va. There is a short road walk section and as I was walking I nearly got run over by a police car flying around the turn. Wish it was a better story.Jan 20, 2014 at 10:43 am #2064582
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
The only horror story was when several heavily armed guys (AR15, shot gun, etc.) showed up. They were there to "protect" their mining claim. It was in dispute, and we happened to know the other party to the dispute. Not that we volunteered that information. It all ended well as we were not who they were looking for.
No, this was not in some foreign county. We were in the sierras. The worst stories not involving humans is having some animal eat some of our food.Jan 20, 2014 at 11:14 am #2064591
I was in Yosemite a couple years back.
They had a historic hail and electrical storm that weekend and a woman was actually hit by lightning on half dome.
Anyway. I was a few miles east from there up past the Little Yosemite Valley down past Clouds Rest.
The sky was insane. It was impossible to predict what was going to happen. I kept hearing lightning and seeing thunder but it always seemed a few miles away and it wasn't raining.
Eventually it caught up to me and started to rain, a bit. But the sky looked reasonable.
I just ducked under a very large/massive redwood tree.
This was a short shower… maybe 30 minutes. Didn't even put away the Kindle. I just chilled and read my book. The tree completely protected me from the rain.
So now with the false assurance, and the rain stopping, and the clouds clearing up, I decided to keep hiking.
I'm hiking for about 45 minutes when I come upon a clearing of granite. I wasn't TOO concerned about thunder at this point. If I was I wouldn't even have taken any risks.
I was at about 8k feet… there was still tree cover so with that I felt safe from the thunder at least. And I didn't get struck or anything so that was good.
However, the storm started getting worse and it did start to rain a bit.
The clouds looked the same as before so I just ducked under a fallen redwood. It was horizontal and made a GREAT barrier from the rain.
Except it kept getting worse. And worse.
Then hail…. then more hail. Then hail the size of a dime. Now it's ALL hail… now the hail is the size of a nickel….
and it's coming down HARD!
What I didn't expect was that the canyon walls were all granite so ALL of the water, hail, etc was being directed to my spot.
Pretty soon a wall of water and hail is coming my way and I have to bail…
I had to pack up all my stuff in like 2 minutes as it's getting wet and then run up the canyon while I"m getting pelted by hail and rain HARD… I'm soaking wet…
I manage to setup the tent and keep MOST of the water off me.
I was somewhat cold but don't think I was near hypothermia. My biggest concern was setting up my tent without getting anything wet.
The biggest issue was the hail as it REALLY hurt and one errant piece hit me in the corner of my eye and I had a little bruise there the next morning.
On the upside, the tree across the canyon caught fire from lightning and was burning the whole night.
It was like a second sunset… I'll never forget it. Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture or get to it as it was across the river.Jan 26, 2014 at 9:35 pm #2066667
I was peacefully sleeping in my tent on a fall hike, when I was awakened by something touching my face. Holy crap, a mouse was in my tent, and he had just run across my face with his filthy little feet I sat up excitedly, scanned the tent with a flashlight, and couldn't find the bastard. No sleep the rest of that night.Jan 26, 2014 at 10:49 pm #2066696
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Bob, you nailed it. That's the one I really don't like – rodents scampering over me in the night. Even if it is only psychological (what isn't) if I'm worried about it puts a damper on my slumber, to say the least.Jan 27, 2014 at 12:45 am #2066713
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
We stayed in Signature Tent Cabin 936 in Curry Village for a hike up Half Dome with our (then) 7 and 12 year olds. 2 weeks later the NPS calls to say there has been been a second round of Hanta illnesses and fatalities. "Which tents were the fatalities in?", I ask. XXX, YYY, ZZZ, and 936 she says. I got examined by a physician every day for the next month.Jan 27, 2014 at 8:02 am #2066753
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"I got examined by a physician every day for the next month."
Wait a second, isn't your wife a physician?Jan 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm #2066909
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
>> "I got examined by a physician every day for the next month."
>> Wait a second, isn't your wife a physician?
Exactly, Jerry — it was the most "fun" month of their marriage! ;~)
Edited to add: Since I moved to Arizona, I have been "buzzed" SEVERAL times by rattlesnakes (buzzed = being within striking range, with the coiled snake rattling its tail, and hissing at you). Of course this always happens when you're least expecting it (the snake is hidden under a bush by the side of the trail, for example), and — honestly, after that happens, I am shaky for at least an hour afterwards, and I imagine that there's a rattlesnake waiting for me at every bend in the trail. Sigh. I've been buzzed in Grand Canyon (more than once), the Sierras (Rae Lakes loop, believe it or not), and in numerous places in Southern Arizona. I very much doubt that I'll ever get used to it.Jan 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm #2066933
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
I forgot the time me and a buddy of mine were "dive bombed" by a rabid bat. We both swung our fishing poles as the bat reached us and hit it where our poles crossed. The bat was dead after that. Apparently crossing the streams is good for fishing poles. ;^)Jan 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm #2066952
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Back in the 80's I started to do winter snow trips. It was time to retire my old army gear and modernize. I bought new snowshoes, ice axe, shovel, a down parka and pants, and a winter tent. I couldn't wait for the next big snow storm.
Well it came. Forecast was for a lot of snow between Christmas and New Years; I headed up to the San Jacintos. Told the wife I would be back in a week.
The rangers really, really tried to discourage me. But they finally relented and gave me a permit. Well, it started to snow, and the wind started howling. I finally had to camp a few hundred feet below the peak, the visibility was so bad and it was difficult to stand. I thought about going to the emergency shelter, but I was too difficult to go further. Besides I had me a new winter tent.
I was in a blizzard. Pinned down for close to 48 hours. But this isn't the horror story. The tent was great, and the shovel was handy to keep the snow load off the tent. I was having a grand time.
THE HORROR STORY
I had taken some freeze dried food from a new company that is no longer in business. I suppose I should have tasted it before a trip like this, but I didn't. The food tasted awful, but I ate it. The second night, it must have been past midnight, the food went to work. My stomach gurgled and gurgled. Then it started to ache. It was bad. And I had to poop even worse than I felt. Outside the weather was awful. But I had no choice. I bundled up and ventured out into the blizzard. No time for a proper cat hole or to scout a proper location, I had to go NOW. Pulling down my pants, I ran out of time. No log to deposit, but a liquid projectile of which I had no control. When the deed was almost done, I noticed I had gone all over the outer bottom of my new down pants. Egad!
Well, I cleaned up as best I could, and pulled up my pants while fighting the wind gusts and snow. And then to my astonishment, I saw the liquid stuff had completely frozen, and it was just a matter of flicking it off my pants with the snow shovel. Everything was nice a clean. No residue. No smell.
I did wash the down pants when I finally got home though.Jan 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm #2066966
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Camping in a lean-to in the Catskill mountains in the 1970's, on top of a small ridge that dropped off to a stream. Started raining mid-afternoon pretty hard. At dusk a very large tree next to the lean-to just fell over making a tremendous noise, fortunately it didn't hit the lean-to we were in (we would have been crushed).
Now we were a bit spooked, especially when my girlfriend (future wife) started talking about the reason the tree went over…the ground we were on was too soft, and now the lean-to was going to slide into the ravine! Needless to say we didn't sleep too well, and it didn't help that some mice ran across our faces in the dark, and we thought we were being attacked by bats.
Even worse, an errant M&M was sitting at the bottom of one of my pack pockets and a mouse chewed a hole in the pack to get at it.Jan 28, 2014 at 4:45 am #2067097
I once was caught in a series of tornados while camping at Red River Gorge in Ky. Trees everywhere down everywhere, had to find an alternate route out, as suspension walking bridge had trees over it.
But that is nothing to my experience in North Eastern Tn. (Big south Fork area). I was camping, and the weather was perfect (early fall) to sleep out under the stars. Woke up to something crawling on my face. It was a small scorpion. I didn't even know they were in this area. I screamed like a 5 year old girl waking my friends up that were with me. I didn't really go back to sleep, and have not sleep slept outside without some netting/tent since.Feb 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm #2069150
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Two horror stories.
I almost fell out a window at Agra Fort in India. The marble floor was slippery and wet. I walked over to the window and slipped and nearly fell out the window. I was up as high as the top of a tall palm tree.
Once I was hiking up the side of a hill and stepped into a yellow jacket hive. I was paralyzed by the swarm that was stinging me everywhere. I was swatting and screaming and an arm came out of somewhere and dragged me away. I climbed up the cliff and when I got to the top, my boyfriend spent a few minutes picking stinging yellow jackets off my pack and from under my pack. They had burrowed into my hairline around my hat and stung me multiple times at my hairline, under my pack on my back and on my arms. I had 16 locations where I had been stung but each location had multiple stings. I freaked out for at least 10 years at the sight of a bee or yellow jacket. I freak out less now but I will walk miles to avoid a yellow jacket hive near the trail.Feb 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm #2069408
@kelhikerLocale: Close enough to the Adirondacks
Camping in the adirondacks a few years back with a brand new bear canister. Apparently we didn't latch it properly closed, or the bears have gotten smarter – either way we awoke to the sounds of a bear very near our tent. My camping partner got out of the tent to find the bear face deep in our food. He started yelling and then I hear him say, "oh, shit!". The bear had charged him. Within a few minutes the bear ambled away far enough into the woods for him to put the top back on the cannister and re-deposit away from our tent.
But he/she came back. And successfully got into the canister again.
This time I got out of the tent as well. As a 125 lb woman, I'm not sure what I thought I could do, but I was incensed. The horror, for me, was not the fact that I would be facing off against a bear 6 miles into the woods, but rather that our planned 4 day backpacking trip would come to an abrupt halt should the bear scarf all our food.
I put on my headlamp and slowly raised my head up. There it was. Maybe about 200 yards away from me? Distances are hard to judge when you are scared sh*tless. We both yelled and waved sticks above our heads. Again the bear walked away, but I could see its eyes glowing in the woods. Top put back on the cannister and this time when he/she came back it held.
The next morning we opened up the cannister to see how much food we had left. The bear had only eaten the chocolate and gatorade mixes – and very nicely left all of our freeze-dried food.Feb 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm #2075497
Went up in the Sierras to climb Mt. Dana. The weather got bad, so we were confined to my two man tent for all of one day. SIMULTANEOUSLY, me and my partner both got sick from food poisoning. We thought maybe the water bottle we had was so dirty it had mold or something in the threads. We both had to get out of the tent about every half hour to relieve ourselves, with the weather outside being driving rain and wind. back inside the tent was not much better, getting rain gear off, and crawling into a sleeping bag growing wetter by the minute. And just when I'd doze off, my partner was waking me up to get out of the tent himself. It continued into the night: bad weather plus digestive rebellion. It was a trip to hell.Feb 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm #2075570
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> The bear had only eaten the chocolate and gatorade mixes – and very nicely left all
> of our freeze-dried food.
Well, I can understand the bear eating the chocolate and leaving the freeze-dry food. After all, would you eat DRY freeze-dry food?
But I can NOT understand why he touched the Gatorade! Ah well, no loss.
CheersMar 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm #2086754
@gordongLocale: Front Range, CO
So I took an after work hike up Bear Mtn in Boulder, CO. It was early spring so there was ice on the ground in the shaded areas. On the way down it began to get dark. Luckliy I had my headlamp in my pack. Too bad the batteries were dead. Ugh. I had to decend a very steep Fern Canyon which was covered in ice and pitch black from the dense trees and boulders. Needless to say I slipped on my arse quite a bit. I had to use some fallen branches as trekking poles to keep me up. When I got close to the bottom I was able to get my light to come on for a minute before flickering off. It was just enough time to see 2 eyes staring at me from about 50 yards away. This area is commom for mtn lions. I almost shat my draws. Good thing it ended up being bambi. Phew.
In the end it was an awesome experience. Just a little nerve wracking at first.
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