We've all been frightened by things that go bump in the night, but imagine hearing those scary sounds isolated in a forest, miles away from mankind and any sort of salvation. That's the reality for many park rangers. Rangers are often left to venture out and care for parks on their own, often going weeks or months without interacting with another human being. In that quiet time, some pretty creepy things can happen out in the wilderness.
We hiked over to Reddit, where we found some of the creepiest things park rangers have seen or experienced. From nature at its roughest to unexplained phenomena, these tales may make you want trade in your tent for good.
From Redditor /u/TheCopyPasteLife:
Our park lets kids from school in so they can look for animals in the forest and the streams.
One day a kid finds molars. The teeth looked like human molars, but the teacher said they were a deer's. I dismissed it and completely forgot about it.
Two days later, they found a corpse with a smashed skull and jaw in another part of the park. All its teeth were missing.
A local news paper covered it, but all they had to say was thank the spooky skeletons for good bones and teeth.
From former Redditor:
A shed behind an abandoned house with a steel reinforced door broken off the hinges. The windows of the shed were boarded up from the outside. The only thing inside the shed was a queen size bed with shredded, partly singed white sheets.
From Redditor /u/RogueLeader096:
I found a [deceased] man in a tree... I am a seasonal ranger for my local forest district. The rest of the rangers say we find about one [self-harm victim] a year, so here was the one for the year. When we go around opening parks each day, we drive through to make sure everything is OK. In this instance, I was driving through, and had just lost sight of the road when I saw a man hanging from a tree in a clearing. He had hung himself.
I called the cops [...] the [medical examiner] took an hour to show up, and he was the only one with a ladder long enough to cut the guy down.... so I stared at a [deceased] guy in a tree for an hour.
From Redditor /u/smokeythemarshmallow:
The scariest experience I had as a back-country park ranger in Washington State was being stalked by a cougar for a day and a half. I was hiking up an unpopular trail up to an old shelter and had that creepy 'being watched' feeling. I had seen fairly fresh cougar scratches and [droppings] along the trail but that's pretty common up here so I wasn't worried at all. That night I camped at the shelter, which only had three walls and a roof. I felt uneasy all night and hardly slept. At one point (chiding myself for being paranoid) I arranged my emergency foil tarp around my sleeping bag so at least I could hopefully hear something if it approached me as I slept.
The next day I found FRESH [droppings] and scratches on the trail I had hiked in on. About a mile past the shelter I found a mostly-eaten deer in some dense brush off the trail. Cougars often keep [deceased prey] stashes throughout their territory for later snacking. Now a cougar won't usually tangle with a human, but here I am a five foot tall, 100 pound sack of flesh and bones at least 13 miles out from any other humans. I decided to cut short my three-day trip, and hot-footed it out of there. The last two hours of hiking through dusk in a dense forest was the most hair-raising hike I've ever had. I didn't know I was capable of being that hyper-vigilant.