Monday, September 22, 2014

Frightening solo hiking trip:

Somewhere in the Lassen National Forest in northeastern California, I walked around a bend in the trail only to be startled by two people sitting on a rock dressed in nearly all white....After I said hello, they said nothing and simply watched me as I passed. Even that I didn't find odd. I chalked it up to them being foreign and not knowing what to say. 
... 
Several days passed and my mind was at ease again. I had begun to circle my campsite with sticks to wake me in the event of an intruder, animal or otherwise. I awoke in my tent one night to the sound of those sticks crunching. I grabbed my hunting knife. 
... 
Several more days passed and I was now in Shasta National Forest, probably 50 to 75 miles from where I first encountered the couple. The trail became more or less a goat trail. Being on the side of a mountain and above the treeline, I could see the trail winding for miles in front of and behind me. I stopped for water in the rare shade and noticed two hikers miles behind me. All I could see were two white dots moving along the mountainside. 
... 
After a few hours in my tent I heard the telltale signs of another bad night: the footsteps, the whispering, the sticks breaking. Sound travels far in the absence of other sound. I knew they were close, but wasn't sure how close. All I could think was "This is fucked up, this is so fucked up. God dammit." Finally a flashlight hits my tent, lights up the entire thing, and goes dark.