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Random Creepiest Things Park Rangers Described They've Seen

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    Unauthorized Tent Found Filled With food, Smokes, Even A Teddy Bear - But No Occupant

    [ranking: 12]
    From Redditor /u/NotSoSingleBuck:
    The oddest thing (that is, my unsolved mystery), was the abandoned camp next to the trail. Camping outside of designated campsites is a big no-no, and I was surprised as all get-out to walk around the corner one day and find a tent set up directly next to the trail. The trail ran along a nice stream, and was a very tranquil spot. Inside, I found a cloth sleeping bag, some dirty clothes, LOTS of food (big cans of Spaghetti-os, and what looked like some leftovers from a refried beans and rice dinner), and a teddy bear. Everything reeked of cigarette smoke. I was reticent to confiscate everything and leave the individual out there with nothing, but I did take all the food and pack it to a secure food storage box along the way back to my cabin. I left a note explaining where I had taken the food, and that they needed to move camp.
    I was unable to return to the tent for two weeks (way too long to leave it sitting there, next to the trail). It was basically untouched when I returned. Some trail crew folks had checked it out and let me know, but that was probably it. I packed up the rest and hauled it out. I spent some time poking around the area, but never saw any other signs of life. It was obviously someone who was not prepared for camping out in the back-country, judging by the food, equipment, and the teddy bear....I just don't know. Everything: clothing, gear, etc., indicated just one individual.

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    Ranger Followed By Cougar For Days

    [ranking: 9]
    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.

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    Search For Teen Hikers Runs Through Super Creepy Clearing

    [ranking: 3]
    From Redditor /u/GenesisProTech:
    There was a group of teens that hadn't been heard from after their scheduled return time from a camping trip. [A coworker] and I head out in the general direction the teens had set off in. We'd been hiking for most of the day and seen nothing. We're about 35km into the woods at this point when we start noticing odd things. Sticks carved like spears stuck into the ground, weird carvings in the trees, a child's stuffed animal hanging from a noose up in a tree. This place was nowhere near any roads, it wasn't on the regular trails people would go on in the area. The really eerie thing was that everything was freshly-carved. Somebody had been there within a couple of hours of us and made these things. Mind you we're still looking for these teens.
    We kept on hiking and eventually made camp for the night still kind of on edge from what we had seen earlier but we settle down anyway and go to sleep. We get up with the sunrise hoping to cover more ground before it gets to hot. We pack up the gear and get ready to go when I notice a bit of shirt that had caught on a small tree and ripped along with some shoe prints. We were thinking: great maybe we're close by to the teens, when a radio call comes through.
    The teens had just been found 20 kilometers east of us, and they're calling everybody back. All those weird things we had seen from the day before came flooding back into my mind, and we wasted no time hiking out of those woods.

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    Totaled (Yet Empty) Truck Found At Cliff's Bottom

    [ranking: 19]
    From Redditor /u/BeardsuptheWazoo:
    A pickup truck that had been driven off the 1200 road up in the Cascade Mountains above Washougal. It was totaled. I hiked down to it and checked it out. No signs of injury, so maybe it was just pushed down after being stolen. But behind the truck seat was a used pair of women's panties. I called the cops with its location, don't know what ever came of it.

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    Park Worker Finds Abandoned House With Sinister Shed

    [ranking: 6]
    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.

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    Eagles Teach Chick How To Grab And Drop Young Goats

    [ranking: 20]
    From Redditor /u/Bobdylansdog:
    Working as a ranger in western Queensland, I saw three wedgetail eagles rounding up some feral goats. It looked like mum and dad were teaching junior how to pick the weak goat - diving down on them and separating the weak young from their parents. Finally the large eagles were picking up the young kid on their fly-through, lifting it up a couple of meters then dropping it. Not supernatural, just strange and cool.


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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.

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