Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:23 pm Posts: 453 Location: Howell Mt., Napa Valley
I was at Mt. McLaughlin, Oregon one spring. I had to hike up the mountain to reach snow line. The trail was covered in downed trees and debris. I had to start pre-dawn to catch the good corn up high. There are LOTS of bears in this area. Seen a few on other trips here.
So I'm hiking up through the woods. Following my altimeter, map and compass. I can only see about 20 feet at a time, before the woods closed in. The trail was useless. I was crashing through the woods, breaking branches underfoot and making quite a ruckus. Very dark. Then I heard it. Was that breathing? I stopped. I could hear rhythmic breathing like a sleeping animal. A large animal. With huge lungs. It was coming from my left. No! Wait! My right. Two to the right. Deep, heavy, raspy, rhythmic breathing. Another over there.
I had stumbled upon a sloth of sleeping bears!
I was scared out of my mind. Then I thought, 'Was I tripping?'. 'How could I have crashed my way through the woods, making all that noise and get that close to them?'. I stood still for about a minute. The bears still slept. Breathing loudly. About 5 of them. I eventually decided, that if I walked up on them so easily, I should be able to simply walk away. I had to get out of there. So, I continued on my way, making a ton of noise. I was terrified. I got to snow line without any other incidents. The sun was a joy to finally see! Got some turns and hiked back down into the woods. I hiked down, yelling and hitting trees, throwing rocks, singing and making as much noise as I could. For about two hours, I kept hearing the bears running away down the hill in front of me. Sounds of huge animals tearing through the woods. It was crazy!
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:44 pm Posts: 548 Location: Flagstaff, AZ
A little background to set this up: As you can see to your left, I live/ride in Flagstaff, AZ. We are located at the base of an extinct volcano almost 13k' tall, known as the San Francisco Peaks, or just The Peaks for short. It is visible for over a hundred miles in any direction. As such, a landmark of this stature is highly regarded by the local native american tribes. The Navajo consider it to be one of their defining boundary mountains, the SE corner of their rectangle of traditional lands, and the dwelling place of several of their "yeis", or deities. The Hopi's consider it to be the dwelling place of several of their "kachinas(or katsinas) or dieties, and call it the mountain that makes rain and snow.
A couple seasons ago, we had a brilliant early season which got us into some more distant terrain that requires quite a bit of snow. Me, SplitChimp, and a couple other splitters skin out to a place called Lew Canyon on the maps. We toured out there for a few hours, did some snow assessment, decided it was good to go, had a safety meeting, and dropped a 1000' chute down into a drainage to a point where it gets completely flat. We stopped to spit boards, eat, drink, another safety meeting... And I couldn't help but feet as though we were surrounded. By? Who knows what. Someone got one pic of the spot,
Now I don't believe in religion, deities of any sort, etc... But for the short time we sat there , at a time when I should have been riding high on stoke, I have never been so creeped out, by anything or anywhere. At that moment I undoubtedly would have acknowledged we had stepped into the very place where the spirits dwell. We skinned out for three hours and I spent the next three days with the flu.
Digging this thread, nice one Splitrippin! Another thing I've learned; Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story!
_________________ "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go where there is no path... and leave a trail." --Today's fortune cookie.
When I first moved to Utah a couple years ago, I was really big into hiking as many peaks as I could. One that stood out in my mind that I wanted to bag was Lone Peak. I had two unsuccessful attempts to start out climbing. The first one I started at 10:30 due to drinking all day, and I reached my 3 o'clock turn around time surprisingly. The second time someone built cairns going the COMPLETELY wrong direction. Instead of going to the southwest ridge it was more like the east ridge they went up. I am still bitter about that. Well not to be outdone I figured 3rd time is the charm. I woke up at 3 am to start hiking. I wasn't going to be beat by this mountain.
Since I started so early, I had to start under headlamp. No problem what is the worst that could happen? Hiking alone in the dark, I had done it several times already since I moved out here. Before dawn so about 3 hours into my hike, I kept thinking something was around. I was using the red light on my headlamp in order to save my eyes. I then saw a set of eyes. That was freaky, but I kept telling myself it was a deer. Yes, dumb but I seriously didn't know all of the wildlife that is in Utah. So ended up seeing the set of eyes twice about 5 minutes apart from each other. Stupid deer what does it keep following myself I kept thinking.
When I got to work that Monday, I was telling some guys about my deer incident. Since I work with rednecks, they started laughing at me. Apparently deer do not track people. There is one type of animal that hangs out in the Lone Peak Wilderness area...... the ole cougar. I never got a photo of it, but it is fairly safe to say I was stalked by a cougar. That could have ended pretty poorly for myself.
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am Posts: 1515 Location: 395
I know this isn't a "backcountry" story but it is a spooky story involving a place a lot of backcountry skiers/boarders frequent in the spring and this incident supposedly happened a month ago. I copy/pasted the article:
TIOGA PASS: I received this correspondence on 8/28/2012...and received a followup last night 8/29/2012. I'm posting the unedited email: "Sir - my brother referred your email addy to me. He thought you may have an answer to what I saw this past July while camping in the Sierra Nevada Mts. near Tioga Lake, California. My teenage son and I were camping in our RV. There were other campers in the area but not very close to us. On the 3rd night of our trip, we encountered something that neither of us can explain.
This is bear country and I know that there have been Bigfoot reports over the years. But what we saw was neither as far as we can tell. We secured all of the food and other supplies in the RV and were getting ready to go to bed. It was about 12:30 am. My son fell asleep quickly while I was getting a few things ready as we were going to leave this location later in the morning. I was looking at a map when I started to hear high pitched screams. At first I thought it was a coyote but it was a single scream and sounded more human - like a woman's scream. I opened the RV door and stood silent in the doorway. Once again the high pitched scream started. This time, it woke my son. We both stood at the door as the screams continued from the direction of the mountain. After about 10 mins the screams stopped - we both went to bed.
Something startled me while I was sleeping because I woke in a panic. I looked at my watch - it was 2:40 am. Then all of a sudden that same high pitched scream erupted outside of the RV. As it started my son jumped out of his rack and fell to the floor. I grabbed my .44 just in case. As we looked out through the windshield the moonlight was bright enough to illuminate a tall thin creature with light colored skin. My son yelled 'zombie!' - it did look like a female human form but the face and the rest of the body looked horrible. It reminded me of an old witch - no clothes, deformed face, long light colored hair, long arms and legs. I figured it stood almost 7 ft. It was walking away from the RV toward the lake. I had seen enough. I made sure everything was ready to go and drove out of there ASAP.
We ended up near Mono Lake. A few days later I was able to talk to a ranger as he walked through the camping area. He was an older guy and quite engaging. I described what we witnessed - my son also verified what we had seen. The ranger got a serious look on his face and said that over the years, something similar had been reported a few times. He said that they called it 'Penelope' but he didn't know why it had gotten that name. That's all he knew.
When I got home I searched the internet but no information was available. My brother gave me your email addy and said you may have an idea of what it was. I'd appreciate your help - you can also call me at XXX-XXXXXXX. LR"
I contacted LR by email...then talked to him last evening (8/29). I received this email later: Hi Lon - thanks for calling. As you requested, I am including a picture that closely matches what we saw (the image on the left...Lon),
though it is just the face and the hair was much lighter. Like I said before it was very tall, no clothes, long thin arms and legs. You have our permission to post the email on the condition you not release other private information. If anyone has details please forward to me. Thanks for your help... NOTE: I looked for 'Penelope' online with one small reference but little detail. I contacted Inyo National Forest information...they directed me to the Mono Lake ranger station. I was able to talk to a ranger who confirmed that there were a few very odd sightings in the Sierra Nevada range and that one of these 'beings' was dubbed 'Penelope' but he was unaware of how or why the name was given. I sent out a few inquiries last evening. Today I received a short email from a folklore writer in Reno, NV that 'Penelope' was supposedly a woman who became lost in the Sierra Nevada Mts. several years ago and eventually became a flesh-eating monster. OK. Seems like we're getting into the 'urban-legend' column on this one. Well, anyway, I'd appreciate some followup if available...Lon
UPDATE: As dumb luck has it, I had a reference to 'Penelope' in a book I recently received from Eric Altman titled Monster Spotter's Guide to North America The brief description is similar to the information that I received from the folklore writer with a few more gruesome details. It seems 'Penelope' disembowels her victims before feasting on the remains. As well, she is supposedly responsible for a few unexplained deaths in the Sierra Nevadas. Other than that, I have no idea what LR and his son witnessed...Lon
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:02 pm Posts: 754 Location: St. Croix Falls, WI
Holy Shit! Yetis, Sharks that wanted to eat TEX, dieties, man tracking cougars, and Sierra witches...faaaaaaawk yeah! I love a good spooky tale. Especially, when it's experienced by tangible people.
One thing that's in common in these threads is a "feeling" that we get when something just doesn't feel right when nothing within our 5 common senses dictates anything different.
I have a theory on this, and it comes from a different mind set. While meditating one day, I was pretty deep in when my cat bumped my hand. It felt this "shock" from that small contact.
So, look at it this way... we're all energy...in fact everything is energy. You don't have to go far in mainstream Physics, and Quantum Physics for validation of this. What if that "feeling" we get when spooked is actually a 6th sense of sorts that most of us don't use during our daily lives, so it's not as keen as say this sense that animals have. Ever notice how fish, and migratory birds can turn on a dime in unison.
This uneasiness, or shock, or feeling of being watched I believe directly relates to that.
I read a cool webpage about some Yeti trackers actually using a form of meditation to somehow use this same form of communication in the animal world to make contact with yetis. The whole idea of meditation is tapping into a single consciousness. I believe this is exactly what creatures are already in tune with automatcially.
Man what a cool time we're living in.... Crank that 3rd eye open people.. discover meditation. You'll never be the same.
Great stories.. keep em' rockin.
_________________ "Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a supreme power, honesty, generosity, and brotherhood"
I went to high school in Gallup, New Mexico which is just off the Navajo reservation. A lot of my friends were Navajo and I'm pretty sure that everyone of them believed in skinwalkers. I heard a lot of skinwalker stories but the common thread is that they're malicious shapeshifters. One of my closer friends whose grandfather was a medicine man told me that skinwalkers are medicine men committed to evil. The final step in becoming a skinwalker, the shaman must kill the person they love the most.
So one day I go hiking with a friend at an area of rock formations bordering the reservation. There are no cars at the trailhead but we do meet a three-legged dog who's happy to see us and joins us on our hike. The dog follows us for miles and up steep terrain that becomes a good scramble. We're exploring the area around a promontory when the dog starts freaking out. We didn't understand what was bothering our friend so we shrugged it off and started climbing the formation. The dog couldn't go any further so he stayed at the base and continued to act nervous.
About halfway up we realized we shouldn't climb any higher without equipment so we sat on a ledge and lit a cigarette. We had a great view of the slickrock and were talking to each other when we both noticed a man who seemed to appear from nowhere standing fifty yards from the base of the rock we were on. He was just standing there staring blankly at us. He was dressed in rags and looked dirty and disheveled. Stunned by his appearance, my friend and I turned back toward each other with a mutual look of wtf and then turned to look at the stranger again. He was gone!
Within the seconds that we turned our heads from him, he would have had to cover several hundred yards of slickrock before he could have disappeared behind any sort of cover. Now we looked at each other again really wondering what the fuck had just happened and if we were both in agreement. Once we confirmed we had both witnessed the same thing, we climb down and got the hell out of there.
He was the only person we saw that day and we didn't see him again. The dog followed us back to the trailhead and calmed down considerably once we were some distance from the area of weirdness. I felt sad leaving the dog where we found him but he seemed to be ok with it like he was at home there and I'm pretty sure he was.
When I was 6 years old I had a formative spooky experience on a backpacking trip with my parents in Glacier National Park. I spent much of one night awake in my sleeping bag, staring terrified out the tent door, convinced that the distinct glowing amorphous shape hovering in the pitchblack distance was a ghost - what else could it be? In the morning it was revealed to be a lone patch of snow that had been illuminated by moonlight. That stuck with me as an example that what we think we see, may not be what it really is, and I think of that experience as having significantly informed my outlook on life.
There was a documented bigfoot sighting in the 70's about one mile from a yurt in the Uintas that we frequent; we've labeled that area on our informal map as Bigfoot Flats. I also remember being scared shitless as a youngster by a 1970's 'In Search Of' reenactment, narrated by Leonard Nemoy, of a lady seeing a bigfoot looking in through her bathroom window and freaking the f out. I'm actually now working on a Bigfoot graphic for an upcoming event.
I highly recommend a visit to the Cryptozoological Museum if you're in Portland, Maine. I especially liked their exhibit of creatures, previously widely considered by American culture as imaginary, that have subsequently been proven real (panda bears, coelacanths, zebras, etc). You think we've found everything? Come on son.
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:25 pm Posts: 42 Location: Backside, Wasnatch
So I went for a solo night mountain bike ride last night on some of our local single track here on the backside of the Wasatch. Nice full moon, but it was still kind of spooky. Shadows, random noises, glowing eyes, etc. Of course, all I could think about were the stories on this thread, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it out of my head that around the next blind corner would be a Yeti, man eating wild animal, or some other other spooky apparition ready to eat and/or disembowel me. The mind works in mysterious ways.
I only felt that I wasn't going to get eaten by a shark. But having surfed my entire life until moving to the mountains a few years ago, I've dealt with that so often that I've pretty much gotten over the fear of 'the man in the gray suit'. It certainly seems to be true that if you face your fears enough, you can get over them, at least to a point. Case in point is Tex ready to paddle back out to the same spot later the same morning after his encounter. Balls. I remember paddling from a boat into the lineup at Big Flat up in Humboldt, and never have I felt like such a part of the food chain, but it still wasn't anything like I felt last night.
This also brought up memories of my Dad (old commercial fisherman and captain) telling me stories of his personal unexplainable situations on the high seas in the Bermuda Triangle area during his late teens and early twenties. Scared me to death when I was a little kid, kept me up and night, and I've never forgotten them. Plus, I've certainly embellished his tales over the years, which is fun.
So just a heartfelt thanks for these stories. Nothing like unmitigated fear to make all your nerve endings stand at attention and to just plain 'ol feel alive. Freaking great stuff. And by the way, I did sleep great last night. Cheers and pray for snow.
A group of us had just completed the semi-technical section of the classic Subway canyon hike in the Left Fork of Zion National Park. Now that we didn't need to worry about fussing around with ropes, and had a mellow obstacle-free couple hour hike back to pavement, we broke out our 'certain snacks,' basked on a sunbaked creekside slab, and had a leisurely lunch. After a while the snacks were starting to tickle our prefrontal cortexes with that anticipatory rubbery come-up, when I realized I had to take a leak.
I slipped away to the nice little slickrock balcony immediately above, and hidden from, our lunch spot, and after I peed, it occurred to me that an impromptu "...who....who...who-who-hahahaHAHAHAHAAAA!!!" classic monkey hoot would freak out my buddies and be just the funniest, most clever thing EVAH, so I got down on my hands and knees to crawl farther along the slickrock, where the ceiling pinched down to 3 feet of headroom. I crawled out a bit, looking down at my buddies (and apparently not where I was crawling), until I was positioned about 15 feet immediately above them for maximum hilarious monkey-hoot effect.
I had gotten the first couple quiet "haha's" out, when I heard the rattle. Yep, I had ALMOST crawled onto a mature Western Rattlesnake, who I now saw in VIVID pulsating fractal-shifting detail coiled seriously like 2 feet from my face. My humorous monkey-hoot immediately devolved into choked terror gasps. I crawled/flailed/scratched backwards on hands and knees in complete primordial desperation. The snake did not strike.
I stumbled my way back to my buddies, all my hair on end, shaking like a leaf, almost throwing up. They were oblivious to what just happened, and were like: dude, WTF was that warbly whimpering noise you were making up there, you are SOOOOO retarded. I could barely explain myself to them, the canyon having now transformed itself from a place of sundrenched womb-like comfort into a kaleidoscope of terror.
I'm way more careful about not crawling onto snakes now.
...So, on this one forum website, there's this...thing....its called the thread killer. It comes around about one-two weeks after a new thread is established and all the fruitbooters have said what they wanted to, Barrows ( ) has been involved somehow, and everyone is searching for something else to argue about. Then a perfectly great thread dies.
_________________ "Finding hope in uncertainty is far different than temping fate."
i really wish i had something good, - like truly spooky to add to this... but i dont.
once, before the tipi canvas shredded, i was skinning back to it after a day in the valley, following my own skin track in the valley bottom. it was late december and so i was travelling by headlamp. i came out in a clearing to see some tracks paralleling mine.. i get up to them and they are some BIG paws, that rolled up to my track, ran along with it for 100yds or so, then veered off into the trees. could have been hours ago, or could have just happened, i could'nt tell in the dark. Some serious "alone in the woods in the dark " paranoia set in on me, with 1.5km left to get back to my glorified tent. i spent the rest of the skin sweeping the trees with my headlamp looking for glowing eyes, and giving out the occasional angry man yelp to let the population know i wouldnt go down easy..
and then a long time ago, there was random forestry road camping with my friend Rick. We were high as a motherf***ker going for a walk under the full moon at 2am or so, when he says, " you know, we are prime targets to get abducted by aliens right now..."
and it was so true.
_________________ Libtech Emmagator 165 (retired) Never Summer Legacy 161 dynasplit