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Old 04-09-2020, 01:07 PM   #1
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camping stories.

had an odd thing happen to us over last summer. just thought id share since a lot of us are stuck at home right now.

i had been working 4-10's. wife had van ready to go so when i got home from work, we were on the road asap. we decided to go check out an area we havent been able to go since 2015 due to fires. the main road in had washed away and only access to the area was via foot, but i had heard that they finally got the road fixed and teh area was now open. i think we got up there around 6ish and had a spot in mind that we have been trying to get for quite a few years. well off the road and no other camp sites anywhere around. we'd seen the spot on a day trip, but every time we wanted to camp there it was occupied or some ******* had their trailer parked to save it.

we drove down the nutty little goat trail to access it and it was open! we parked the van near the water and tucked ourselves back in the trees. as i was chopping up some firewood we see a suburban come ripping down the road with a pop top trailer. they didnt see us till they were almost into camp. they slammed on the brakes and you could see the guy wasnt happy we had nabbed the spot. getting that little trailer down in there probably wasnt easy, lol. i figured id save others the same hassle and hopped on the moto to head up towards the road to hang a sign letting folks know that the good spot was taken. got up there and there was a sign that read johnson family camp next camp spot on the right. figured that was good enough to let people know it was occupied and rolled back to camp.

we thoroughly enjoyed the camp wed been after for so long and during one of our walks we went up the road a bit. upon our return i noticed something sticking out of the washed out sand build up from running down the gnarley little road to camp. it was a bone shaped dog tag with the dogs name, addy and phone number. figured id call the number when i got home and see if they wanted their tag back.

wife had stuff to do on sunday so we packed up considerably earlier than norm and headed back home. got unloaded then took a shower and decided to call the number on the dog tag. left a message that i had found their dog tag up camping that weekend and that i couldnt quite make out the address. if they wanted to call back and confirm, id drop it in an envelope and get it back to them. then i laid down on the couch and passed out cold for a solid 2 hours.

when i woke up i noticed i had a message. listened to it and it went something like this. "hi this is lee johnson (< made up name) and we got your message that you found our dogs tag. thats really weird cause we didnt take that dog camping this past weekend. either way, please call me back when you have time.".

i called lee back. he asked me where i found the tag. i told him where and the name dawned on me that johnson was the same name on the sign left at the turnoff to our camp. I asked if he was driving a white suburban with a trailer and he said yes, then asked how i knew that. i chucked and said that i was the one that nabbed the good spot up at jackson peak just before he had got there. we both had a good laugh. i said if it makes you feel any better, we only beat you to that spot by about 20 min. he said no, lolol. we talked for the better part of 20 minutes about the area and what each of us liked up there and exchanged some stories. he said he camped up there 2-3 times a year, but still didnt understand how we found his dogs tag since he hadnt taken that dog up there that weekend. figured that the tag was caught up in his camp gear and just must have rattled out during that crazy little drive off the main road.

as i was wrapping up our call i asked him to verify the address on the tag so i could get it back to him. he told me and i was like wait. this tag says emmett idaho, you just gave me a nampa address. there was a long pause and he said seriously? i said ya and told him what i could make out of the addy on the tag and he just said no kidding? I said ya why? he said, we havent lived at that address in 13 years. we were both kinda in awe.

that dog tag had been floating around up in that area for at least 13 years. still blows me away that all the stars aligned and we crossed paths like that. i dropped the tag in the mail and never heard from him again, but it left us with a great campfire story anyone else got a good campfire story?

"understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of your car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of your car, horsepower is how hard your car hits the wall, and torque is how far your car moves the wall."
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:45 PM   #2
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FANTASTIC!! I love life's cool stories and PERFECT TIMING (whether you believe in God, Gods, dirt) it's life's little mysteries and blessings like that that makes it all so great!...I got a nice smile and happiness from that story...that's what we need now eh!? Thanks very much Shenrie!

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Old 04-09-2020, 10:23 PM   #3
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Yep... what ctb said. Thanks
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Old 04-10-2020, 05:12 AM   #4
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Great story---funny how things like this happen from time to time............

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-10-2020, 06:18 AM   #5
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thanks guys, appreciate the feedback!

anyone else got any weird camping stories? only other off the wall story that comes to mind is already posted to the forum, but its kinda a downer
"understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of your car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of your car, horsepower is how hard your car hits the wall, and torque is how far your car moves the wall."
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:11 PM   #6
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I have a small world story. In years past I use to ride my motorcycle from S.F. to Fairbanks Alaska every year, camping the whole way. Several years later, I was standing outside a sporting goods store in downtown S.F. when a jogger ran past me. He suddenly stopped, ran backwards to where I was, stopped and said "Hey, I know you" Huhh??? I had never seen the guy before. He proceeded to say "Yea, you stopped to help me on the Alcan highway when my motorcycle was broken down" "Well anyway, thanks for the help" and he jogged away. I'm stunned because I had no memory of him, but much later that day, I remembered a guy on a bike with the rear sprocket so worn, it was down to little nubbs and the chain was slipping badly. We tightened it as much as possible and he rode away slowly. It's a small world.
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Old 04-10-2020, 01:03 PM   #7
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I got one...

Last 4th of July we went camping up by Ponderosa in the Sequoia National Forest. Weather was perfect and we had a full 4 nights to enjoy ourselves. It was decently crowded up there but we managed to find an isolated spot with easy access to Peppermint Creek which was flowing well. Pictures of the site included.

As we were celebrating the 4th we had a little bit of foot traffic through our campsite since we had excellent access to a nice swimming hole on the creek. At one point the swimming hole must have had a family of like 20+ people enjoying themselves. All of this is just to say that throughout the day we had grown accustomed to yelling and other voices in our general vicinity. Just as the sun starts to go down we hear a man's voice yell out "Hannah!". Not distressed in any way, but we figured it was just some remnant noises from the large group at the creek. Sure enough we hear the voice yell out "Hannah!" again, and he continued to yell periodically. At first the voice was clearly far away, but it began to sound closer and closer with call of the name Hannah. It felt straight out of a horror film.

Sure enough the "Hannah!" yells got closer and before we knew it we could hear footsteps. At this point the women were kind of panicking and it was dark out. Moments later we saw a lantern bobbing towards us. We had two toddlers with us and one of the women was pregnant so my brother and I walked out to meet the guy about 50yds away from the camp. We do not carry fire arms when we camp but this trip definitely made me second guess that.

Upon meeting the guy he is fully decked out in hippy gear and clearly under the influence of something. His lantern is one of those shitty inflatable solar LED things and his footwear clearly suggest he doesn't walk around in the outdoors a whole lot. He was remarkably calm throughout our exchange. He explained that he was looking for his girlfriend Hannah who had left to go use the bathroom and not come back. Keep in mind we had been hearing him call out Hannah for approximately 3 hours. We let him know about 2-3 miles down the road was a lodge with the closest bathroom. We offered to help him and he declined. He said he was going to keep looking and respectfully just let us know he might be walking near our camp calling out for her. That was it. No signs of distress or panic despite the fact he had been looking for his missing girlfriend for 3 hours out in the middle of the woods with no cell phone service. Sure enough we heard him walking around and yelling for the next hour or so and then it just stopped. We were all a little perturbed by the whole thing.

This is where the story shifts. The next night we are hanging around the campfire drinking beer as one does when they are camping. I get up to pee, and as I am walking away from the campfire to pick my spot I come up with an idea. I walk about 200yds away from camp, far normal than usual to pee, and turn my headlamp off. I slowly walk back towards camp, and in my best impression of the mystery man from the day before begin to yell out Hannah about every 40 yards or so. I wasn't able to witness the panic around the campfire, but from what I was told it was real. All the women started freaking out and one of the guys went to grab an axe. I kept my headlamp off all the way up to the campfire and really gave them a scare. We all had a good laugh about it in the end once they realized it was me. One of my all time favorite camping moments.

We never saw the guy again the rest of the trip and never learned what happened to Hannah and if she was ever found.
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Old 04-10-2020, 01:36 PM   #8
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Years ago I was backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania with a small group of friends. It was Halloween night and we were staying at a trail shelter when we noticed a bonfire glowing on a peak back along the trail about a mile or so. The sound of drums and weird chanting were carried on the wind to us and it kind of unnerved us all. Our own small fire kept the night at bay around us, but beyond the light of the fire the darkness was complete.

The lone woman in the group, the girlfriend of one of my friends, announced she had to pee and headed off into the nearby woods alone. We remained chatting around the fire until we noticed she had been gone a while, and we couldn’t see her flashlight any more. About the same time we heard her blood-curdling scream come from the woods.

The four of us guys around the fire kinda looked at each other, with the collective “I’m not going out there” thought silently apparent on all our faces. Finally someone said “Dude, it’s your girlfriend. Go check on her!” Somewhat grudgingly he headed out into the woods. Eventually he came back with her, and she reported that she had dropped her flashlight while squatting and then thought she felt a snake and screamed.

Ah, ok, that made more sense than her being abducted for ritualistic Halloween sacrifice by Satanists.

None of us slept very well that night...
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Old 04-10-2020, 04:40 PM   #9
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Tent camping in Big Bend Texas (many years before our Sportsmobile); Late one afternoon the wind began to pick up. As the Sun set, we could see the sky briefly light up followed a couple seconds later with the clap of thunder. For about two hours the storm relentlessly announced itself...then suddenly rain, huge gusts of wind, and some small hail.
Fortunately I prepared earlier by putting everything we wanted to protect in our 4Runner, then pounded an extra set of stakes into the ground through the grommets at the base of our large 6x8 tent, turned on our battery powered camp light and patiently waited as the storm continued. Very quickly it became evident this wasnt nearly enough. Wind was howling at a constant 30mph (or better), and for about 90 minutes it took everything we had to hold the tent poles steadfast in hopes the tent wouldnt blow away...with us in it.
Lightning was directly above us, the thunder claps became bombs that sent shock waves through everything - suddenly I had the scare of my life, as the lightning flashed I briefly saw the silhouette of a large bear standing on his hind feet just outside the wall of the tent I was facing..for a second my heart stopped and the fear froze my feet - broken from my spell when I heard the loud gruff voice yelling "get the hell out of there now!!!" ...Scared the hell out of me.
Turned out to be a Ranger that pulled up. From his truck he could see us through the illuminated tent holding the tent poles in the middle of a lightning storm. He was pissed that he had to get out of his truck in the middle of all the turmoil to give simple common sense advise. Wasnt the end of his ranting, but it faded as he went back to his truck.
At that point we realized how stupid we were, climbed into our truck and slept the rest of the night in the front seats. We got up early and vacated. Conversation for the better part of the morning centered around what an ass that guy was (we didnt speak at all about our actions - more out of embarrassment I think)

Two years later we went back to Big bend, rented a guide for a 10 Day raft trip. When we booked it, He asked if he we would mind if he brought his girl friend (ex park ranger), and we happily agreed - would be fun with the 4 of us.

After the first day on the water we pulled over and made camp on a shoal. He unpacked a dutch oven, and proceeded to make Cornish Hens with wild rice. She made a fresh cake! We sat around the camp fire that evening taking shots of Tequila and drinking beer. Not sure how it started, but his girlfriend began sharing stories of some of the idiotic things tourist do. Ben (our Raft guide) revealed he too was an ex-Park Ranger, and not too long ago he "rescued two knuckleheads trying to hold onto the metal tent poles during huge thunderstorm" - He continued, the fact they weren't electrocuted amazed him.
The wife & I looked at each other and burst out laughing, We all found the humor in it. What are the odds???
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Old 04-10-2020, 05:10 PM   #10
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I seem to recall a similar thread where I wrote of a couple of incidents that happened to me in Yosemite. Both ended up with me dealing with the Parks Magistrate and/or the DA. One was a guy went over Nevada Falls and I was the last one who saw him...alive anyway. His wife asked where did her husband go, and I said the guy with the plaid shirt? He's getting a drink of water which I thought not a good idea being people just 1000 feet upstream were swimming/bathing. When I said he was down behind me, I looked and he had disappeared. With it obvious that there was no place to get around me, I'll never forget the look on her face when she said Oh my God! I didn't actually see the guy go in or over the falls so there was some hope he had walked away. The search started. I was barraged by rangers and LE everyday for a week while I was in the park backpacking and after returning home received phone calls for weeks later as the recovery was going on due to my word and he had yet to be found. The park service was complaining to me about the cost (divers, helicopters, and search teams) but I told them there was just no way the guy could have got around me. Weeks later I got a call from park LE that divers had found the guy 1/4 mile downstream wedged under a rock. Had to do a deposition over the phone for the Magistrate. Strange he never called out when floating to his demise.

Another time I was camping during the off season up Tioga Pass. Nobody was in the CG and had it to ourselves. As thing go this couple just had to come camp right by us. That night we kept seeing this vehicle come and go. Later that night I heard what I thought was kids screaming and looked to see a huge plume of sparks flash upward into the sky. This gals boyfriend had thrown her into the fire, then drove off. She came to us for help. She had bad burns so I fixed her up as best I could but she insisted NO-COPS. Obviously some drinkin had been involved and she continued till she passed out. I carried her back to her tent for the night. In the morning she must have had pain both from the burns and probably the alcohol and finally asked for an ambulance. They put out a bulletin to arrest the boyfriend and Tuolumne Co sheriffs caught him in Sonora. I ended up subpoenaed to testify a number of times and while I love the park, not while being required to be in court. As I predicted she forgave her boyfriend and became a hostile witness. The highlight of the main trial was when the defense attorney was grilling me about the music we were playing that night. I said classic rock and she wanted to know what that was. I said, you know Led Zepplin, CCR, BTO, Trower and music like that. The judge magistrate leaned into his mic and said good choice. Kind of deflated the defense but in the end she won the court case.

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