My SCARIEST Human Encounter while Hiking (learn from it)


You are going to rarely but occasionally encounter dangerous, weird, or sketchy people while hiking and backpacking. This is the story of when it happened to me and what you can learn from it.

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33 comments

  • Definition of anticlimactic.

  • As a neophyte hiker, I've been going on practice hikes through summer and fall as training for full day hikes in 2022. It was back in the early fall that I was doing a practice hike in my city and stopped to rest on a bench in a city park. As I was resting and relaxing, I noticed this big guy walking towards me. He looked young, had short hair and was dressed casually; I could tell that he must have lifted weights as he had a big torso and big arms. The stranger looked at me as he walked in my direction; I didn't think anything of it. He got up to me, seemed to look right through me and said that we all make mistakes but if I ever showed up in this park again, he'd knock me on my ass. He stared at me for another second then turned around, walked away and disappeared down a side street.

    To this day, I never saw the stranger again and I'm not sure who he was or what he wanted. Given his clothes and hygiene, I don't think he was some unbalanced homeless man. At no time did he identify himself, especially as an authority figure like a police officer or a city parks staff. He also didn't appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I was in a city park open to the public during the daytime so this couldn't be trespassing. I suspect that he thought I was someone else.

  • Lol. Thumbs up given for the old lady photoshop alone….

  • My creepiest story involves a Methhead and a couple of fist sized rocks.

  • One time when I was hiking with some friends all day in the rain. We came upon the shelter we thought great we’re going to chill out in the shelter for a little bit and then get to our destination. The shelter was full of people drinking their asses off. When we come up to the shelter the biggest of the drunk people carrying a giant hunting knife with his hand on the handle told us that we had to get out of there and that we couldn’t stay there. Of course we had no intentions of staying but my friend being the guy he is doesn’t like being told what you canning can’t do. So some words got exchanged and the rest of the group started getting a little grumpy with us and a little bit combative. So we decided it was probably a good time to throw the packs back on and split down the trail. When we got to our destination we ended up camping with some really nice people they had to head the same situation with those folks. Other than that I never have too much trouble with anybody on the trail.

  • Yeah, Edward Abbey had a saying about the farther you got from the road. An equation of sorts for each mile away from the road. Sketchy for me: three teenagers with knives in Philly. Definitely more serious than your situation with a hillbilly crackhead.

  • Glad you escaped the geriatric. Always pay attention to your surroundings wherever you are. Be careful. But, enjoy your hiking. Thanks Kyle for your advice.

  • TBF, dilated pupils don't automatically mean anything. My sight is G_d-awful, it's legit my poorest sense, & my pupils are always massive because my eyes need to take in every little bit of light they can get. Strangers frequently think I'm rolling (I get hit up quite often), but it's legit just because I'm blind as a bat.
    Just wanted to get that info out there, because hey, you never know when it might effect your judgement.
    This woman in particular does sound like a freak, though.

  • I did go to Clemson. The official orange is just called "Clemson Orange" officially. The purple is called "Regalia" if anyone cares.

  • This isn't really a hiking story, but it's semi-related. The area where I live, northwest VA, the AT goes through a wildlife management area where I hunt. Last year I went out and was scouting off trail, pretty far from where I parked, ~5-6 miles. I was creeping though the undergrowth looking for deer sign and heard this guy call to me. I turned around and saw this 6ft tall, fat, Billy-Bob lookin guy way out in the sticks with me (not sure how I missed him now that I think about it). Now, I'm not easily freaked out by much, but the initial fear of being called to when you're seemingly miles and miles away from any other human made my blood run cold for a second. As weird as it was, good 'ol Cletus was just out mushroom hunting, but it was still sketchy as all hell at first.

  • there's meth in them thar hills…

  • Another reason why I always carry.

  • should have called the sheriff. The woman obviously was impaired. You left her to drive on stoned?

  • Two books that relate to your story: "The Gift of Fear" and "Left of Bang" really worth reading for ANYONE….

  • I ran into a couple of young Maoists thugs in Nepal while hiking back in the 90s. They were shaking down the locals who were scared enough to give into their threats and hand over what little they had. My uncle was playing with his Lieca binoculars and they really latched onto them and came after us hoping to get us to hand them over. There ensued a long, slow motion foot chase up the trail, it was at elevation and we had packs, but we were fitter back then and we managed to out paced them. We spent a nervous evening wondering if they would find us and start something, but luckily they went off looking for easier targets. Not a big deal, but it could have gone south fast, and all we had as defense were a couple of hiking poles. Trust your senses and work on your 'runfu'!

  • Meth addict prison escapee?

  • Most people on the trail isn't an issue. Its the in between where you run into the most off the wall people.

  • Highway rest stops are notorious for stretchy folks

  • I was hiking a 14 mile loop out in BFE, and some guy passed us going one way, and 20 minutes later came back the other direction and started telling my date how good her perfume smelled…So I carry a self-defense knife when I'm hiking now lol. I work on a psych unit and your crazy lady would just be entertainment for me 😉 But I do understand, I would have been terrified of someone like that in my early 20's.

  • Maybe she was being territorial and was trying to run you off. I think it's better to leave these people "territories" than to deal with them. Sucks but the grass is greener away from idiots anyway

  • Is it true that FBI is looking for this lady since January 7th?

  • Anyways… which ways did you go? No such word as anyways.

  • I've never run into this problem… yet.
    Yes, I do love a good picnic table.

  • Apparently Kyle has never watched the movie '"Wrong Turn!"

  • I’ve never had any in 40 years … still I’m alert and carry maze
    Nerve had one

  • Use common sense and be alert to weather AND people ,etc

  • Welcome to the trail hiking …..

  • She looks like someone escaped prison.

  • You sure it was Clemson swag and not some orange is the new black?

  • Thanks for the tip who is new to camping. I use to be a caregiver and I assisted mostly seniors who are schizophrenic, paranoid or has dementia/Alzheimers, it can be scary. I only had 3 people say they wanted to kill me after saying how l lovely I was and resemble a relative.

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