I was in a remote mountainous area surveying trees. One morning while walking near my camp, I crossed a stream and there was this younger man just standing in the middle of it with a little net, staring at me, motionless. I froze for a moment, and then continued on my way.
It was like a 15-20 mile hike from the nearest dirt road. Point being that he wasn't just casually out catchin tadpoles.
So I worked at a ranch in southern Arizona, right on the border. I didn't really consider it to be secluded because I had horses and cows. In hindsight, I guess it was really lonely because sometimes they'd talk back to me.
Anyways, doing fence borders with a guy from another camp and we had to go down into this dry river bed. As we round the bend we see a bunch of beat up trucks sitting there armed to the teeth. Turns out we ran into some kind of big deal for a cartel. The other guy told me to keep steady and we just walked straight through them on our horses. Everyone staring at us, looking like they were ready to shoot us up if we made one false move.
I asked about it when we got to the other side without turning into swiss cheese and the more experienced rancher told me: "The Cartel only cares about Border Patrol and Cops. They know this is a ranch, and they know we roam around here, and they know we don't say much." Reason being, if they ever assumed the ranchers were the snitches, they could easily find our little ranch houses. Only had 1 person to so many acres. Could have been offed and left there for many days before someone noticed. With all that in mind, I had a very passive relationship with those kind from then on.
Sorry for a "not me but someone else's story" story, but here it is anyway: I used to work for the US Forest Service and sometimes worked with an older gentleman that had lots of interesting stories from his many years of life. But by far the most chilling tale was from when he was working in a very secluded area of wilderness and was walking through the forest when a thunderstorm hit. He had seen a opening in the hill a little while back and headed to it to take shelter. Once inside he shined his flashlight to check he wasn't going to wake up a bear or something and found the skeleton of a man, sitting in a lawn chair, with a rifle rigged up so he had been able to shoot himself. The skeleton was still wearing jeans and a flannel shirt.
I've met a lot of bull shitters in my time and this guy wasn't one, he'd honestly just led an interesting life.
I was on a the bow of a sailboat crossing the atlantic in pretty heavy winds, going about 15 knots. Crew had to be stationed alone on the bow in two hour shifts at all times, keeping an eye out for anything in the water. About 10 meters away from me I see a weird glint in the water. Then I realize it's a partially submerged shipping container. Before I had time to even open my mouth, we passed it by, missing it by a few feet.
And that's the story of how I nearly got shipwrecked in a storm in the middle of the atlantic ocean.
When I was a scout in Iraq, I was setting up a concealed observation post when we saw the largest cat through our thermals. Like Lion/Cheetah/Leopard (the thermals were fuzzy, but we could identify size based on distance with the laser range finder)
The thing is all three of those animals used to live in Iraq - but they have been LONG since extinct in the area.
I was running on a logging road in central Wisconsin and stopped because I felt like I was being watched. It was just an instinctive feeling. That's when I noticed a large wolf step out of the forest about 50 yards ahead of me. It was just staring and I stared back. After about 30 seconds of us checking each other out it just slipped back into the woods and was gone. I kept running in the same direction but never really shook the feeling of being watched. I guess it's not that scary because wolves rarely attack people, but you betcha it was creepy enough being alone out there.
On a small sailing boat in the Pacific, sailing south from Panama to Ecuador in the middle of the night. Two people on deck – the helmsman and me, theoretically on lookout but really just there to keep the helmsman awake. It’s well after midnight and we’re away from major shipping lanes. We’re somewhere west of Colombia and we haven’t seen land or another vessel in at least a day (at least, not while I’ve been awake – four hours on, four hours off).
And then I see a light off the port bow. It’s far off and distant and under the sail, and therefore hard to keep track of, but it’s there. It isn’t moving. And it seems to flicker and dim but gradually I become aware it’s getting a little brighter, bit by bit. And then I realise it’s a boat, and it’s coming right for us, and by this time I can hear the engine and I yell to the helmsman: “Hard a-port.”
(Yes, I used old-timey sailing talk in a crisis. I have no good explanation for this)
So we steer to the left, and the oncoming boat passes on the starboard bow. It’s less than 10 metres away, a big RIB with a massive outboard engine at the back travelling at full throttle. There’s enough light from the moon and our running lights to see that there’s only one person aboard, slumped upright over the steering column, and a load of fishing equipment in the back. Then it’s gone into the night, still travelling straight at maximum speed.
This was over ten years ago. To this day I have no idea if that midnight fisherman was alive or dead, if he’d fallen asleep at the wheel or suffered a sudden heart attack or what. I don’t know if he powered on until the outboard ran out of fuel and was never seen again, or woke up five minutes later and steered back home. I don’t know what he was doing that far from the other fishing boats (we later saw other lights on the horizon and guessed that they were the fishing fleet), or whether he aimed for us deliberately or if it was sheer coincidence that brought him within spitting distance of our tiny boat in the empty sea. I still wonder sometimes.
I was on an Outward Bound trip in the White River National Forest in Colorado. A part of OB trips is a solo, which can be anywhere from 12-48 hours in which the participants are by themselves with a journal and some snacks.
I set up a sweet tent in a tree grouping. It had rained the night before so the ground was pretty soft. After setting up I walked around the area. I felt pretty tired, and decided to take a nap... for 8 hours. I woke up in the middle of the night to a bunch of twigs cracking. It turned on my torch to look to see if it was the instructors or any kind of animal. I even called out, "Hey, you good?" (not sure why I said it that way). Nothing.
In the morning I found some big cat tracks right by my tent that were not there when I took my nap. It was really unnerving knowing that a mountain lion was near me when I was sleeping. I told the guides about it and they got really particular about keeping our food away from where we were sleeping.
Driving through the middle of Montana one night, going about 100mph, passed something on the side of the interstate that looks like a mangled body. Turned around at the next pass, came back. Definitely a body. Put my lights on it and tried to call 911 on my cell. No reception. Got in the car to see if i could pick up cell reception (lights were still on)...nothing there but the blood splatters. Drove away QUICK
(Serious) I was living in a dirt floor cabin for about 6 months. I would pack a lunch and hike out half a day in random directions. One day I found an abandoned hotel with an attic full of bats. The old kitchen was full of taxidermy. Not abandoned old taxidermy...current taxidermy, in various states of finish. There was a closet with stacks of dead birds, tools, woodworking tools and glass for the display cases, etc. I noped out of there in a hurry. I took my brother there later because he didn't believe me...so I have a witness.