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  1. #41
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    I was hiking on the AT in Maine this summer and came across the strangest footprint. It was definitely a very large barefoot human print except that at the end of the toes, there were what looked like claw marks about 2 inches long. Very funny I thought, and walked on assuming someone was pulling a prank. After all, it was just one print. Then, about 100 feet later a saw another one, then a succession of about 6 or 7 of them, both left and right prints with the long claw marks in the front. I tried taking pictures, but it was a dark, wet day in the Maine woods and the pictures didn't look like anything, let alone footprints. All in all I probably saw 30 or 40 of the prints over about a mile and a half of trail, then they veered into the woods and disappeared. My hiking buddy was about 20 minutes behind me and when he arrived in camp I really thought twice about mentioning the prints to him out of fear that I had just let my imagination go wild on me. As soon as he arrived in camp he says, "You saw them, didn't you"? I don't think either of us slept much that night.

  2. #42
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    Below is a quote from my journal of a few years ago. I thought it was a little strange...

    "Crossing the road I entered the woods and went about ¼ mile and ran into a man about my age – peeing beside the trail. He had no pack or other hiking gear – only two 10-pound barbells, one for each hand. He was wearing a Tennessee orange shirt. We made small talk for a minute and he used the words “research” and “fascinating” a number of times in that short conversation. I didn’t bite so he began to tell me about his research. He says he has discovered that absolutely NO disease is caused or borne by microbes of any kind. NONE of them. He has discovered that every disease is caused by chemical imbalance. This situation involves the mind, which punishes the body when the person experiences guilt, by attacking the body’s organs. He gave a very cursory explanation of how to apply his discovery, and claims it will cure any and all diseases. He says things like cancer just “clear right up”, but things like MS “take a little longer”. With me standing there soaking wet from sweat and very tired from the recent climb, I mentioned that I needed to go in order to make my destination. He was disappointed, made a small attempt to get me to stay and listen, but then told me where he lives and gave me his address “in case I want to write or come visit him sometime”. He even gave me a little “method” for remembering his name and address (which works, I still remember it). "

    Just one of the unexpected things along the trail.

    Dad

  3. #43
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    I was with two other SOBO's at a shelter in southern ME (1999). It was early dusk, still plenty of light, and we were at a shelter that must have been near a road access point, although I don't recall one. A man in khaki pants, button up shirt, and loafers walks up to the front of the shelter, throws up a suitcase onto the platform (one of those older hard leather ones) and starts unpacking....while mumbling to himself the whole time. One of the guys says hi, and the man just stops and stares at all of us, slowly turning to look at each of us. He never responded or said a word. He had a large knife clipped to his belt, and started unpacking beer, ropes, a blanket, and a couple more knives from the suitcase. There may have been a tarp to go with the ropes, but I don't recall. We all started slowly (attempt at casually) packing, and I left first telling the others I would see them later. I hiked until well after dark before stopping.

  4. #44

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    Sometimes the military practices on or near trails. I've seen this in several states(wide apart geographical areas) on different hikes. On the AT I experienced 4 well hidden soldiers, armed(not sure if their weapons were fireable/loaded), in full camouflage(right down to the face paint, ruffled netting, hats, boots, etc), one behind/partially inside a standing large hallowed out tree, two in shallow pits w/ leaves and duff over them, and one lying next to a downed tree. They sometimes screw w/ hikers so beware. They thought I didn't know they were there when I sat down on a tree to take a break. What gave them away was that I smelled them(perspiration), a cologne or bar soap fragrance, and I think the machine oil smell of their weapons as well as two of them being overly fidgety(I could hear their unnatural movements in the leaves). They were all less than 150 ft from the me. Despite them attempting to be cocky wise arses by suddenly jumping out AT ME intentionally attempting to sneak up and scare the shart out of me I let them know in no uncertain terms they had given away their positions in the various ways I just described before I even sat down on the tree. I plainly let them know they weren't as stealthy as they thought they were. They didn't like hearing that. They did listen somewhat to what I said though as far as improving their techniques. I hope they heeded what I said because their lives may depend on it in the future when the games they were playing became real. I also let them know that when one spends much time in the Natural Environment such as in the woods, like when you're thru-hiking the AT, away from the sounds, smells, sights, tastes, and feel of "civilization" IF your observant enough and in tune with the Natural Environment it's much more easy to pick out what doesn't belong what isn't customary. Wildlife does this to survive. They should take some more clues from wildlife.

  5. #45

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    I thought it was strange when I first experienced the sounds and sights of a major gun battle on the AT as well. Historical battle reenactments are staged very near the AT.

    More than a few gun ranges are in close proximity to various hiking areas/trails as well. It's not always strange encounters with people that occur hiking it's strange encounters in general. There are some very unusual things happening in remote areas like in the Mojave Desert near the PCT. I don't think it too far fetched to say technologies/scientific advancements exist that haven't yet been made known to the public that exist in the Mojave Desert area. There were certainly some things that I witnessed on the PCT that I can't find explanations for.

  6. #46
    PCT 2013, most of AT 2011, rest of AT 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I thought it was strange when I first experienced the sounds and sights of a major gun battle on the AT as well. Historical battle reenactments are staged very near the AT.

    More than a few gun ranges are in close proximity to various hiking areas/trails as well. It's not always strange encounters with people that occur hiking it's strange encounters in general. There are some very unusual things happening in remote areas like in the Mojave Desert near the PCT. I don't think it too far fetched to say technologies/scientific advancements exist that haven't yet been made known to the public that exist in the Mojave Desert area. There were certainly some things that I witnessed on the PCT that I can't find explanations for.
    In lots of places, the hills are everyone's informal gun range. On the PCT in SoCal south of Cajon Pass this year I could look down and see two rednecks tailgating and firing their rifles up into the hills straight at the PCT where I was hiking (then running). I'm still in Halfmile's water report for reporting it. Not strange, given that it's rural America and the locals probably assume 'tain't nothin' but jackrabbits and Mexicans in them hills, but scary.
    "Hahk your own hahk." - Ron Haven

    "The world is a book, of which those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine

    http://www.scrubhiker.com/

  7. #47
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    There used to be a green alien at the Hogback Ridge out house. He hung around for at least two years.

  8. #48
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    While hiking between Hog Camp Gap and the Priest I came across a day hiker that was using an oversized oven mitt hooked on his belt to carry his hiking supplies. It is a fairly remote area and it was just strange.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjam View Post
    While hiking between Hog Camp Gap and the Priest I came across a day hiker that was using an oversized oven mitt hooked on his belt to carry his hiking supplies. It is a fairly remote area and it was just strange.
    That's interesting.... I love that area btw.. :>)

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seatbelt View Post
    Since my accident and my wife's resulting condition, I can totally relate to this HM. Backpacking has helped me with this.
    I hear ya Seatbelt... kinda goes hand in hand!

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfayer View Post
    Hiking in northern Michigan, just as the sun was setting and the trail was getting to dark to hike without a flashlight, miles from the nearest trail head,

    I came around a corner in the trial and coming towards me was a line of people all in dark hooded robes with rope belts all carrying burning candles.

    I stepped aside and they passed me one by one, no one looked at me, and I could not see their faces. None of them said a word.

    That sounds exactly like a Freya walk. But I don't know what they were doing in Michigan... . If they were from Hollins, they were all women. From Hollins University's student orientation handbook (2013):
    Freya Walk. Freya Walks take place on nights of special events or issues. Members of this secret society walk at night to call attention to or celebrate current events. They wear black-hooded robes to protect their anonymity and carry candles to symbolize hope. Since 1903 Freya has sought to emphasize the notion that "concern for the community is a creative and active force." Please join Freya tonight as they welcome and show support for the new sisters of Hollins.

  12. #52

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    I was 18 and backpacking in Europe alone. I was hiking near Stuttgart when I heard a whistle. I looked up and a man in a trench coat stepped from behind a tree and flashed me. I laughed and kept walking but was secretly quaking in my shoes.

  13. #53
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    Dogwood... Do you remember the '06 AT hiker, Trouble?" He was the second to the last man walking NOBO that year. He frequently hiked at night.

    I recall a story that he was intercepted by the Secret Service for hiking too close to Camp David in the middle of the night. He'd set off motion detectors, or some such thing. I never got to ask him if the story was true, but I recall many NOBOs had heard the rumor.

    You?
    When you get to those unexpected situations in life where it’s difficult to figure something out, just ask yourself, “What would MacGyver do?”
    See ya!
    Rickles McPickles

  14. #54

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    Well, I'm sure Camp David has security quite possibly including motion/sonic and infra red detectors near the perimeters and very likely roving patrols when someone "important" is visting. I think they do rove the perimeters when someone high in political office is present but maybe at other times as well. Gotta respect that space as a hiker on the AT.

    Interesingly, when thru-hiking the AT in 2006 I took the train into Washington DC from Harpers Ferry for three days. While wearing my backpack I was wandering the grounds outside the Capitol Building looking at the many large specimen plantings(I'm a Landscape Architect and Horticulturalist so that stuff fascinates me) when I was escorted off the grounds by, I think, plain clothed Secret Service. I think I probably got to close to the building. I was just wandering around looking at the plants. I wasn't fully thinking about what potential risks I may have potentially posed to them or the Capitol Building. They were decent though. I told them why I was there and showed them my ID, ATC Membership Card, my AT Thru-hikers Databook, train ticket, and opened up my pack for them. They were guarded in their demeanor but OUTSTANDINGLY professional and decent. It's the way I expect LEOs to be within reason when I act respectfully towards them. They saw I was who I said I was and that I was just acting a little aimless. I should have been more aware that something like that would happen under those circumstances. LEOs sometimes get a bad rep undeservingly. .

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfarrell04 View Post
    We saw the tuba-dude somewhere in VA back in I think 2000 on a section hike.
    I saw him in Vermont. At Kelly-stand road
    Everything is in Walking Distance

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITri View Post
    I was 18 and backpacking in Europe alone. I was hiking near Stuttgart when I heard a whistle. I looked up and a man in a trench coat stepped from behind a tree and flashed me. I laughed and kept walking but was secretly quaking in my shoes.
    You look kind of shady yourself ITri like a blond ninja in training without her hat in your avatar. But, since you're wearing ArcTeryx I'll let ya slide..... for now.

    When you hear whistles these days do you have flashbacks?

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by pipsissewa View Post
    That sounds exactly like a Freya walk. But I don't know what they were doing in Michigan... . If they were from Hollins, they were all women. From Hollins University's student orientation handbook (2013):
    Freya Walk. Freya Walks take place on nights of special events or issues. Members of this secret society walk at night to call attention to or celebrate current events. They wear black-hooded robes to protect their anonymity and carry candles to symbolize hope. Since 1903 Freya has sought to emphasize the notion that "concern for the community is a creative and active force." Please join Freya tonight as they welcome and show support for the new sisters of Hollins.
    Well I wish I knew they were all college girls at the time. Isn't Freya the Norse version of Aphrodite?

    Actually I think they were guys, but it really would not have mattered at the time. Did you ever see the movie "The Omega Man"? I did.

  18. #58

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    BFAYER: No, never saw that movie--looks scary! There are probably other chapters of the Freya Society (at co-ed schools) around that I'm not aware of. After all, it IS a "secret" society!

  19. #59

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    See, all these stories are exactly why I can't hike alone. Not one person was hurt or harmed by these strange encounters but Wow... just wow!

    pipsissewa... interesting username!

  20. #60
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    While I was camped by the Toccoa River bridge on the Benton Mackaye in October, soldiers from a nearby base started playing war games. Their leader was polite and alerted me before all the noise started.

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