20 Outdoor Adventurers Share The Scariest Things That Happened To Them
Being outdoors in the woods can be quite an adventure. Folks generally love to head out, especially with their kids in tow, to explore the wild in search of natural interactions. After all, it’s a great way to enjoy some quality time together or it’s even great as a quick solitary getaway from all the stress of the corporate rat race. It’s also a great way to get away from screen time and to just detox from digital addictions.
However, while there are many benefits to going hiking and exploring the great outdoors, there can occasionally be a less-than-savoury encounter in these somewhat unpredictable environments. The otherwise invigorating experience can quickly turn dangerous and nerve-wracking, which albeit is also part of the draw of being in the wild. However enticing such episodes may be to adrenaline junkies, they can still be rather scary. Scroll down to read some of the most terrifying stories Redditors shared on a dedicated thread detailing their experiences. And remember, if you’re planning to go camping or hiking, always be aware of your surroundings in the woods.
Had an over-curious bear climb up the tree I was in during a hunt and man I almost jumped out of the tree. He just wanted to say hi but s**t yo I definitely was scared to death
Walking from the dam to my house. Stumbled onto a litter of wild pigs and momma was not impressed. Chased me for about 2kilometers through the trees and waited at the bottom of one that I climbed for over an hour.
Man I don’t even go out that often but the one time I do I found a severed ear on a hiking path
I had to “clear the perimeter” when i was in the army out bush on training exercise. Was my turn that one sunny morning. Had to clear a bit further this time. Into the dry creek bed. Crawled under some scrub and looked up. Was surrounded by a s**t load of orb spiders who had webbed the entire area in the creek bed. I slowly crawled backwards and reported it clear.
The corporal thought i was taking the p**s because i was quick. He went himself and confirmed no enemies. Agreed with me that the creek bed was indeed “f****d”
I was hiking alone in Northern Italy, although I knew severe thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon. I figured I could get up and down the mountain (Grigna Meridionale) before 1pm and wait out the storms in the bar by my campsite. Instead, I got caught out in the open, thunder and lightning all around me, and I had to cling to a shrub while what I am sure was a weak tornado passed overhead.
The wind became deafening, the trees and shrubs all bent one way towards the ground, then after about 10 seconds they turned and bent the other way towards the ground, all while I was holding on for dear life getting totally soaked by the horizontal rain.
There was a major tornado that day in Bergamo from the same setup, so it’s not impossible that I had been caught in a spinup. 100% thought I was going to die.
Image source: ergotpoisoning
Grizzly bear chasing a moose through the middle of our camp. Turns out you can fit about 10 full sized middle aged adults into a kevlar canoe in about .05 seconds.
Partner and I set off for a weekend camping trip in the Rocky Mountains after work on a Friday. Late start, so we didn’t get to the road we were looking to camp off of until late. It was getting dark, we found a cleared area, parked my Jeep and hastily set up our 2.5 person tent, threw in our sleeping arrangements and dog, and hopped in the tent for the night.
We were playing a board game sitting cross legged around 9p when something swiped at the back of my head through the tent wall. We panicked a bit, used remote start on the car to scare whatever it was off. I tried to convince myself and my partner that it was a falling stick. There was no wind and we were in a clearing.
The next morning we came to discover that we were about 10 feet from a half eaten deer in a mountain lion’s pantry.
I got pet on the head by a mountain lion. Mind you I’m well above average height and this kitty was taller than me sitting down!
Image source: DankJohnson
I was all dressed up in a ghillie photographing bee-eaters and then some little boar piglets start getting near me sniffing at me. 10 seconds later I hear a very loud noise and the mom was running towards me. I left there my camera and climbed the nearby tree faster than a monkey. I stayed up there like an airborne turd half afternoon.
Had a truck pull into my deserted primitive camping area on national forest land around 2 AM and stop right next to my tent. Now, in context, I was camping alone, this was a designated camping area, and I was the farthest back from the road, a good 200 feet. I had no fire going. Still visible from the road, though. Anyone just wanting to turn around could have done so right at the front. Around 2 AM, this truck comes in, drives all the way back to my tent, and stops right next to it, just sitting there. I could tell the type of vehicle by the silhouette its headlights cast through my tent. There was absolutely NO legitimate reason for anyone to do that.
So I’m there, in my small A-frame tent which I’d made the bad judgement of setting up with its door towards the road (thus providing me no cover to exit), and all I can do is sit there in my tent with my AR15 at the ready, freezing my butt off in 39 degree weather because I had to crawl out of my sleeping bag and was just in my underwear, knowing if they mean harm and there’s more than one person I’m almost certainly dead because I’m a sitting duck. Note: I had the AR15 in the tent with me because it was bear country. Fortunately for me, they probably decided there wasn’t anything worth stealing and left after a few minutes without getting out of their vehicle. All my valuable stuff was locked up in my SUV and all I had visible was some cookware and a small camp stove.
I learned a few things from that. One, get a bigger tent that I can more easily move around in and it’s quicker to get out of, and two, always set your tent up with the door facing away from the road to provide some degree of concealment if you need to exit.
Remember, folks: not all predators walk on four legs. Some walk on two.
I got a couple that all vie for top place. This is one of my favorites to tell…Now.
Some of you may remember that back in 2014 a man named Eric Frein ambushed two Pennsylvania State Troopers, killing one, before fleeing into the woods, armed and intent to cause trouble, and beginning an almost 50 day manhunt in the wet forests of eastern Pennsylvania.
That part of Pennsylvania is beautiful but treacherous land. It’s rolling, gentle hills with thickets of scrub and hidden bogs. There are a million swamps to traverse, and some of those hills are secretly just piles of shale waiting to slide out from your feet. The tree cover is dense, and you cannot walk a straight line for fifty feet. Mr. Frein knew this land well, you see, and it’s why he dodged a massive manhunt for about six weeks, often teasing the trackers and their dogs. He laid traps, stored weapon caches, and generally relived Rambo: First Blood but with way less fighting.
I was working as a wetland scientist scouting out a proposed path for a natural gas pipeline through that land…in the middle of the manhunt. In the very same forests Mr. Frein hid in. So we were in the woods being stopped by search teams, buzzed by helicopters, and, in all likelihood, crossing old trails laid by Mr. Frein himself. When the pipe bomb traps hit the news, I spent every moment scanning the forest floor for tripwires. It was a frightening experience at odds with that land in early autumn: the bushes in the swamp started to turn firery red while the leaves went orange and yellow. The air is crisp and there’s enough green for it to stand out. Everything is covered in a light mist in the morning that burns off by lunchtime, and the sun is clear and warm. There is nothing so off putting as standing in radiant beauty believing you are in absolute peril.
Image source: Peggedbyapirate
When I was like 14 I was hunting deer with my dad and heard a weird sizzle. I heard 2 more and my dad screamed at me to get down. It was the sound of another hunter shooting in our direction. He hadn’t seen us despite the orange. I will never forget that sound. It’s a very different experience being on the other end of the bullet.
Hiking in Australia I stepped on a common brown snake. Felt something squishy under foot and bolted like a m**********r. If the snake had decided to strike would have been a 30 minute countdown.
I was packing supplies into a shelter on the Long Trail. I was ten or eleven. I got 10 bucks for it each time I did it. I am coming back out and I hear a dog barking. I think
“cool. Someone is hiking with their dog.’
Then I hear another dog bark and another and another until there were about 20 different voices and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck go stiff. They could not have been much more than a couple hundred yards away.
I knew there was no way to avoid or outrun them so I climbed the hearest pine tree I could get to. I was up about 20 feet when this pack of wild dogs arrived and proceeded to circle the tree, occasionally following my scent up the tree trunk. Then they decided to try and wait me out (?). Only one person knew I was packing in and he wasn’t going to be home until 10:30 at night.
So we waited.
All I had was a buck knife and a wrist rocket.
So I made the wait as painful as possible. When I ran out of rocks, I used pine cones. Small green ones. I may have peed on them a few times too.
It was dark when they decided to leave.
I walked home after collecting a handful of stones.
Met my dad on the road going home.
NEVER so glad to crawl into bed.
When i was 10 or 11, I was sitting at the top of a burm alone overlooking a beautiful valley, I must have sat there for a few minutes in the tall grass soaking it up, I panned my head to the left slowly and roughly 75 meters away, I could see the ears, eyes and snout of a cougar sitting in the grass, looking right back at me. I darted back to safety as fast as I could, but when I got there I realized that the cougar didn’t give chase, it must have just been soaking up the scenery as well.
Slipped and tumbled backwards head over heels down a rock face. There was about a twenty foot drop after that but I got wedged in between a tree and the rock face. Ended up walking away with just a couple bruises.
Another time in the Sierra Nevadas I fell through a hole that was covered in snow. My rifle stopped me from falling straight through and I yelled for help. When I was getting pulled out all I saw was a black hole beneath me that covered in snow again. No idea how deep it was or if anyone would have heard me if I just poofed through the snow into a crevasse.
The woods in Sweden is not exatly known for dangerous animals. Sure there are brown bears, lynxes, elks and boars, but nothing realy to be affraid of especiall not near urban areas.
So I was out in the forest looking for mushrooms when suddenly all of my field of view was filled with something black screaming like a deamon from hell.
Turn out a western capercaillie (fairly big bird) was hiding under bush near the path, and got scared an flew away when i got to close.
My dad was a professional land surveyor and I would work for him on weekends or during the summer. We were doing some work in a large conservation area, and had parked the truck in a wide path that was supposed to be only open to environmental police and such, but there was obviously illegal dumping.
We were going back to the truck for lunch, and when we stepped out onto the path near the truck, it was surrounded by at least half a dozen bikers who had broken the driver side window and thrown all the gear out looking for stuff to steal.
We were about 50′ ft from them, and it felt like hours of silence when one of them said to the others “he saw us, they can identify us….”.
I was 11 or 12, I don’t really remember, but I was old enough to know what he was insinuating. My dad stepped in front of me, made a gesture with his hand that was holding his machete (a common tool for land surveyors), and said “we didn’t see anything, we’re just working”.
Now, I know for a fact my dad was capable of hurting people (even his own kids) and he could f****n SCRAP. After a loooong pause, they backed away, got on their bikes and left.
My dad had us pack up only the important/expensive gear – stakes and property bounds stayed – and drove us out of there in the other direction. I’ve never seen him be that reckless with a truck, before or after. With we got to a nearby convenience store my body and mind completely drained of adrenaline and I f*****g lost it. I couldn’t even stand. I couldn’t believe those people were going to f****n kill us just because we caught them breaking into our car, but they absolutely were.
My dad was a s**t person, he was abusive and mentally ill. But there were a few times he showed he didn’t hate me, and that was one of them.
Image source: MaritimeOliver
I’ve told this story before, but when I was a kid there was a creek in the woods near my Grandparent’s house that I would hike to and play in. One day I climbed the berm next to the creek and saw a woman with long black hair wearing a white dress just kneeling over the water and staring into it. I hid behind the berm and just watched for a minute. Right as I was about to turn around and leave she suddenly stood up and screamed. Not a “Trying to scare this kid” scream, but more like a “Uh oh, I’m currently being burned alive” scream.
In response I promptly s**t my pants and booked it back to my Grandparent’s house. According to people on reddit I saw “La Llarona,” a ghost of a woman who lost her kids to drowning or something. I think it’s much more likely that it was a crackhead living in the middle of the woods somewhere (those woods were notorious for being home to a few drug labs and popular body dumping sites.)
Paranormal or not, still scared the s**t out of me and I never went to that creek alone again.
Bullets whizzing over my head. Some smooth brains were target shooting in the middle of an established hiking trail. Wasn’t a one off experience either!
Was hiking a medium grade trail with my then 4 year old. About 3 miles in they are tired and want me to carry them. Managed to get another half a mile down the 10 mile loop when suddenly a chill went down my back. The woods went really quiet too.
I told my kiddo I was ready to go home and we’d finish the whole loop another day. Set them on my shoulders and had my head on a swivel. I definitely broke my personal record for walking time getting out.
Found out via local Facebook group a couple days later than a mama mountain Lion and her cub had been spotted by loggers not very far from that area. I never saw a thing, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t see me. It was just a very unsettling feeling.