Whether you’re walking down the street from your hotel or traveling thousands of miles across the world in an airplane, travel can result in some extreme circumstances no matter how prepared you are. From getting lost in the desert on your skateboard to becoming stuck in the middle of the ocean, some of these life-or-death stories will make you reconsider how you plan your next trip.
36. Saved By A Dog’s Stomach
I was at a friend’s cabin and went squirrel hunting alone at dawn with his dog. I had been at the cabin for a few days and thought I had acquired a good knowledge of the local area. After about an hour of trekking through moderately-heavy maple forest, I realized I was lost. There was no cell phone coverage, I had no compass, and the sky was overcast. It is a terrifying feeling not knowing where you are, or even which way is north.
I wandered around aimlessly for another hour looking for a familiar landmark, but I was getting nowhere.
Out of desperation, I turned to the dog and in an upbeat voice said, “Let’s go home, it’s time to eat!” The dog quickly turned around and started bounding over a ridge. Fifteen minutes later we were back at the cabin. I still remember how I hooted once I knew I was safe.
Now I never go into the woods without a compass and whistle and I always let someone know where I’m going and when I expect to return.
And yes, the dog ate very well that day.
35. Nearly Drowning In A Rainy Cave
My friends and I love outdoorsy stuff. One day we decided to drive a few hours to do some spelunking (caving). This particular cave is near a river, so it has a maze of streams inside of it and a waterfall! Being young and stupid, we didn’t have much of a plan and took off. Well turns out, it started raining while we were inside. The rain partially flooded the cave and sealed off a lot of passageways.
It was unreal; you could actually see the water levels swelling up. Needless to say, we were scared and did some incredibly stupid stuff like swimming some of the flooded narrow ways. We came out starving, dehydrated, cold, and bleeding. Turns out, we had spent around 13 or so hours in the cave.
34. What Would Bear Grylls Do
Several years ago, I was on an assignment working in a sparsely-populated region of the Amazon river basin in South America. This was one of my early experiences with traveling in the region, so I hadn’t learned a lot of lessons yet. My destination was only about 16 miles from my duty station. Many locals had suggested that I bike or hike it, but I had a lot of equipment I didn’t want to leave behind and no one would rent me a bicycle.
I finally devised a route where I could hitchhike along a Jeep trail for about a total of 30 miles. Day 1, I caught a bus for my first leg of 10 miles. Then I spent two nights camped out for a supply Jeep to leave for my second leg. I rode with the supply Jeep to within 8 miles of my destination when we had a breakdown. We spent a little over 24 hours making repairs. We had plenty of food, but we had to drink water from a nearby river.
Moving slower now with our repaired vehicle, we got within 2 miles of our destination to find that the road had been washed out and rainstorms in the mountains were causing flooding around our destination.
This is where things get interesting.
Our Jeep was equipped with a snorkel to go underwater, but our payload was not waterproof. We scouted the area (as best we could in the dark) for better places to cross the flood waters, but nothing looked promising. Our scouting had cost us time, and the flood waters were several feet higher. We started to make camp, but as the waters began to encroach, we decided to park the Jeep at the highest point and abandon it. More rain brought faster rising water, so we decided to swim across before things got worse. We spent about 5 minutes formulating our plan. We would strip down to our underwear (not out of modesty, but because of piranha) and pack our essentials into zip-lock bags. The lead person would go with the light, but no bags to test water depth and look for crocodiles. We guessed the water depth to be about 6 feet at this point and moving very slowly. Without seeing any creatures and secure in the knowledge that piranha do not frenzy in flood conditions (although, little test bites are not out of the question), we set out through the muddy water.
At the halfway point, the road was completely washed out and the water depth increased quickly. I slipped from the rocks I was walking on and went under with my bags. I pulled down on my air filled bags to raise myself out of the water and busted one, losing my wallet, flashlight, and watch. I swam until I caught traction on rocks again and climbed out to the other side. We dressed and marched up into the higher plains away from the flood. A kind gentleman in a house, just past the flood waters, lent us a motor bike and we finished the rest of our journey.
For my return trip, I checked out the 16 mile hike. It was leisurely and scenic with lots of fruit trees and fresh water along the trail. Lesson number 1: travel as the locals do.
33. A Terrifying Ice Break Through A Frozen Lake
When I was 9 I went to Ohio during the winter. I was visiting my grandparents and I’m from Florida so I didn’t really understand frozen lakes. My father took me to lake Erie. I walked on the ice and fell in, after I managed to climb back up I fell in again. This time I didn’t make it back up and my dad went in to get me. I had stopped breathing because I was under the water for too long and when my dad pulled me out he had to give me CPR.
I came back to life and he put me in the car and turned the heat on; all I had was a blanket. I was awake for maybe 3-4 minutes before I passed back out. Those 4 minutes seemed like an hour. I went into a coma and didn’t come back out of the coma for 2 weeks. I was on life support. I remember waking up from the coma not knowing what happened. I thought I only fell asleep for a few minutes.
32. Those Glowing Eyes
So when I was 14 my family had this lot at a campground. There was about 100 cabins there or so. And surrounding it is nothing but Canadian wilderness.
So one day me and my friends were quading in the hills in this campground. Well, we had been gone for 2 hours already. I had never been that far down the trails. One of our friend’s quad ran out of gas. So we push it under a tree, take the key out of it and he hops on the back of my quad. We’ll head back grab a jerry can and refuel it.
We are driving back and come to a fork in the road. After arguing for nearly 10 minutes of which path we came down, its a 3 to 4 argument for the left one. So we turn left and head on down the trail. After about 30 minutes the path is opening up into these huge puddles and mud pits. I hadn’t remembered seeing them on the way in. As I thought this, the quad in front drove into the mud and got stuck. Well, crap… we all start arguing and yelling. “I told you we came in on the right trail.” “Learn to drive” after the dust settled we got some tow ropes out, hooked up the quads and tried to pull it free. I’m laying on the throttle and it’s not moving. I let go of the gas and suddenly my quad jerks left. I immediately think “Oh no, I got stuck in the mud” I look at my friends and all their jaws are on the floor. I look down and my wheel is casually rolling by. I had somehow split my axle in two and the wheel just fell off.
So here are 4 teenage boys stranded in the woods with only 1 quad and not enough gas to get back. So we pile up on the remaining quad and we drive back to fork in the road. By this point the amount of gas left in the tank we could get half way home… but still have at least a 2-hour walk to the camp, and it’s getting dark. So we clear a spot on the side of the trail, light a fire and wait until morning. We’re going through our bags seeing what we have for food. Pretty much all we have is 7 granola bars and a couple cans of coke. We sit around this fire for close to 4 hours… by now the moon is up, the stars are out, and we’re imagining the panic our parents must be going through. I’m freaking out about what my dad is going to do about me loosing a wheel.
When we start hearing rustling in the trees. We all start joking around trying to make light of the situation. Then one of the guys starts getting a sick sense of humor and suggesting the noise is a bear, or Bigfoot. The noises are getting closer, but almost quieter, like something is sneaking up on us. I walk over to the quad and turn on the light on the front. Everyone kind of gathers around the quad ready to make a quick get away. There is this low grumble in the trees and a loud snap. It came from behind the quad, down the trail. We go absolutely silent. Everyone is staring into the darkness. I remember telling myself to get my pocket knife, but I was frozen with fear. It felt like an eternity. We all just stared at the bushes. My friend whispers:
“Is it still there?”
We hear this deep breath-like noise and just like that these two glowing eyes appear. My arms went numb and my legs buckle. And I fall against the quad. But no one screamed. Then out of the bushes, this mule deer steps out down the trail. We all stood there looking at it. It looked towards us, smelled the air and turned around and walked away. We all looked at one another and all laughed and sighed with relief.
About 30 minutes after that we started to hear engines in the woods. And sure enough, two of our dad’s found us. We all piled up on the quads and went home. We had left the camp at around 6 or 7 PM. and we were found at around 2:30 in the morning.
31. An Insane Plummet From A 75-Foot Cliff
While stumbling and mumbling my way home from a night of drinks, on one of the premier Greek party islands — I was thrown off of a 75-foot sheer cliff. I was apparently annoying these two muscle headed dudes from California. One of them threw a round house kick at my midsection. I somehow managed to block the kick, but it put me off balance. As I started to fall backward the other guy caught me under my arms. The guy who threw the kick immediately picked up my legs.
One quick swing to the left and then the right and I was falling head first off the cliff. Somehow I landed, about 15 feet down, upside down in a small tree sticking out of the side of the cliff (one of a few sticking out from the cliff, and not much more than a branch). If that tree wasn’t in just the right place I would have landed on jagged rocks 75 feet below. Without thinking I instantly up-righted myself and scurried up the face of the cliff. Within thirty seconds of being thrown off of the cliff, I was standing back on the path completely sober, watching the two “murderers” running away. These two girls saw the whole thing happen and consoled me on my way home.
30. A Harrowing Hailstorm In Flip-Flops And Shorts
I went geocaching one time with some family friends. We split up into groups and in my group, I had a 15-year-old, a 13-year-old, and a 7-year-old. Now, our parents had set up the spots, so all they did was give us the coordinates written down on a sheet of paper, and GPS, and send us off. We found our first two spots no problem, they were less than a mile from our campsite, but when we plugged in the coordinates to our final spot it showed up as 3.2 miles away.
Okay, whatever, how long could it be? We set out in t-shirts, flip-flops, with nothing but the clothes on our back and a GPS. The first hour was great. We were hiking the deep rocky mountains, it was a beautiful day, and we were off trail, so everything was pristine.
gAfter that though, we began to wonder if our coordinates had been copied down incorrectly. I mean, we had to cross two barbed wire fences. Looking back, that should have been a warning sign.
The littlest 7-year-old of our group wanted to turn back, but we were only a mile away, and we didn’t want to have hiked so far only to return empty handed, so we kept going. It took us another few hours to finish that mile because we were hiking steep uphill now. What’s worse, the sky was beginning to cloud over, and before long it was pouring, and then it began to hail.
So here I was, standing on the top of some godforsaken mountain, in charge of three kids, who were wearing flipflops and t-shirts and huddling under a tree, covering their ears whenever lightning flashed and thunder sounded.
We all wanted to turn back. But we were only .08 miles away! We waited the rain out and continued on, knee deep in grass and mud. When we got there, there was nothing, as expected. Only a grassy slope with scattered trees.
We started back downhill and kept walking down until we found a road. Then we hid in grass while our little 7-year-old stood on the side of the road to grab a ride (not my best idea either) and when that failed (apparently a 7-year-old on the side of a mountain road is suspicious) we hiked about five miles back to find our parents frantic with search and rescue rangers blowing whistles.
So… yeah. Fun times.
29. An Incredibly Lucky Lumberjack
Before my father had any of us kids, for his summer job he was basically a lumberjack up here in Canada. He was out there doing his thing and a branch had fallen and hit him in the head. Most likely one that had broken off while cutting down a tree and rested itself in a neighboring tree. So there he was, knocked out on the forest floor with nobody around. As he had collapsed he put a significantly sized cut with his chainsaw into his thigh. He woke up in the middle of the night. Limped his way back to his truck and drove himself to the hospital.
28. Fear And Loathing Near Las Vegas
I was moving back to L.A. from Vegas and had my 20-year-old Honda full of my stuff. Sometime after I was outside of Baker, my car started screwing up. The AC stopped being cold. I turned it off. The car began overheating. There was water in it. Why was it overheating?
I’m not a mechanically-inclined girl. The sun outside was turning my car into an oven. There were very few other cars on the road; I hadn’t seen any since I got past Baker. It was bright as hell, I was burning through my windows as my car crawled slowly along the highway. I dared not stop until I could find an overpass, a bridge, or any kind of shade because once I turned that engine off, it wasn’t going back on again (at least not anytime soon or before I could get help). To make things even better, I had no cell phone reception whatsoever. I opened a water bottle and soaked a t-shirt and placed it on my cat. It wasn’t enough. She began meowing and then peed and pooped right on my lap. She is the most well-behaved cat ever, and this was not like her. She just lost control. I was sure my pets were going to die, and I had to freaking watch. I was desperate, desperate, for an overpass, another car, anything.
Then out of nowhere, I see an exit and a small convenience store. Literally my last and only hope and nothing else for miles. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I turn onto it and stumble out with my cat in my arms and mouse cage under the bench, sweating, and smelling like a litter box. I pleaded with a couple people outside the shop to use their phones, but they all said no. I guess I looked like a derelict or something. At least there was shade. I was trying to figure out how I was going to go inside this place with my pets and not be thrown out. I began sobbing when suddenly an older gentleman stepped out of the shop and said, “Come on in, let’s get you taken care of.” He was the owner. He allowed me to put my pets in their respective cages in a side room while I used a shower outside (pretty much a hose with a shower nozzle hanging from a hook), and changed my clothing. He let me use the phone to call my boyfriend from Vegas to drive a few hours to my location and escort me the rest of the way to L.A.
His name was Michael, if my memory serves, and he was my personal angel that day. I got so lucky to have found that rest stop when I did.
27. A Frightening Dose Of Reality
My father intentionally left me with 3 kids (12, 8, 7) on a hike about 1 mile away from where we camped. He left us a picnic box, stated he needed to go do something, but would be back in a few minutes.
We sat and ate, oblivious to time. About an hour passes, we are suddenly very aware that we are very alone. My big brother and I stay put and call for dad loudly for about 15-20 minutes. My little sis cleans up and tries not to freak out. We then decide to pack up and head back for camp, because we are pretty confident on how to get back.
During our little ‘hike’ away from camp, my dad had pointed out several nearby identifying landmarks on our way. A large boulder that looked like a nose, a skunky smelling area, a pile of trash with a zombie looking rubber duck… He seemed to make a very stern deal out of these things.
We used the landmarks to find our way back… the whole while leaving stone arrows in the trail we are walking… every 50 to 100 feet. My little sister was scratching one long continuous line in the trail too. Any wrong turns, and we headed back to the last arrow, easy peasy.
We made it back easily… and we were rewarded with some really nice smores.
Little did we know that our dad had been testing us to see whether we were paying attention to taking notes of landmarks, North/South direction, staying on the left of under the highway, etc. He had been silently following us a distance away, making sure we were in no harm.
He did many little tests like this that really helped ingrain survival skills better than simply being told.
26. An Accidental Ski Trip Down A Black Diamond
I was skiing at Sante Fe, New Mexico. I usually traverse the blue lifts as I wasn’t comfortable enough to go on the blacks.
There is a section on the mountain where the black and blue lifts are side by side. It wasn’t until halfway on the lift did I notice that I went on the black one. Lo and behold, I get up at the highest part of the mountain and if there was a point that I felt I would just drift into space from being up so high, that was it. People were tiny specks from where I was standing.
After a minute of freaking out, I calmed my nerves and basically… went for it. Turns out that stopping on blue’s is a lot different than black, so while I was trying to stop I end up gaining more speed. I was getting scared and wasn’t thinking properly so I just kept going while picking up speed.
Now at this time, I was getting air like a good 30% of the time with drool coming out my mouth. I went so fast that I was basically cutting through the moguls. I ended up smacking a tree, instantly blacking out.
I wake up to a fellow skier poking me with his pole and asking if I was okay. I nod and he skies off. My goggles and mask were filled with blood but other than that I felt okay. So my stupid self thought I made it here so far, I might as well just ski the rest of the way down.
I end up smacking into another tree but this time I remain conscious and feel every bit of pain. Now I’m pretty messed up at this point, but no, I must remain persistent. So I take about 2-3 hours and skii the rest of the way down. I come down the mountain a bloodied warrior and reach my friend. He looks at me with my blood-soaked goggles and gear and says “…black?” “Black.”
Then I went to the ER for treatment.
25. Always Pack A Blankie
I was deserted in one of Virginia’s larger cities. Snow will do that. Nobody could rescue me from my car, so for hours I just sat and slowly got colder and colder. I tried making arrangements to get help before my phone died so I wouldn’t have to spend the night there. Thank god for the hand warmers in the console. A kind of primal fear had sunk in. One daring rescue later, I was trapped in a hotel for 3 days. Much more preferable.
But seriously. It can happen to you. Pack an emergency kit. Food water, blanket, the works. It doesn’t take much space and should you need it, you’ll be so grateful.
24. A Couple Of Crispy Critters
We went backpacking in the San Gabriel wilderness in California for a few days when a fire started (2002/3). We got cut off from our exit and got stranded. We were trying to follow a fork of the river (San Gabriel River) , but the fire was charging down the ravine and cut us off. We were about 10 miles in and had to figure out how to circumnavigate the fire. It was really windy, smokey, and overall, very scary. Giant towers of smoke were just piling up in the air; search and rescue was buzzing the area along with fire planes dumping water and chemicals (the red stuff?). Finally, we got to the top of the ridge to see where we would go from there, water was getting short (as we were anticipating being able to use river water), and we see that we can get over to the next ridge and cut back down to the river- we set the compass, and move out. We got back down to the river and filled up on water (we had been up and moving since early AM- when we started to hear the planes and helicopters). We were exhausted and miserable. Our lungs hurt, our legs hurt, we were all tired- the detour took us another 3-4 miles out of the way, added another 3-4,000′ of elevation gain, and ticks. I hate ticks. So we finally get back to the river, we fill up on water, and we can’t stop. The fire is on our backs at this point, and we think it is advancing towards us. We have about 8 more miles to go and we all are seriously considering dropping all of our gear grabbing the water filter and bottles and just book it down the river bed. We decide not to and just tough it out, which I am so glad that we didn’t. After about another hour of making it down the river we run into a search and rescue squad!
We all were just blown away, I couldn’t believe that this was even happening- or would ever happen in my life, it was just surreal. We weren’t lost anymore (once we got back down to the river), but now we had help and encouragement. The Search and Rescue team was also equally surprised, looking at us covered in dirt/ash, wheezing, and just plain beat. They told us that we had to get moving as the fire was running along the ridge parallel to the river and was coming down the ravine.
We booked it out of there and got to our cars, which we then had to drive what normally would be a 2 hour drive- now a five hour drive due to conditions and traffic. The only way they knew we were back there was because of our cars and a note I left in the dash (how many people, how long we are going to be gone and where we are heading to). We were all so tired…
I went back to an area we passed through on our hike after the fire (months later); the area was completely scorched. We would have been some crispy critters if we slacked and rested.
23. A Severe Malaria Contraction Scare
When I was 3-4, my mother and (then) step-father went on a missionary trip to Africa. While there I get bitten by a mosquito and told by one of the women we were staying with that I needed to pray to God so that I didn’t become sick. Long story short, I end up contracting Malaria and almost die — I’m not even sure how I lived, even as a child (but I’ve come to find out there are different strains of Malaria, so I guess that would explain it).
I’m no longer a Christian, but this is something that’s always stuck with me.
22. Burn Baby Burn!
So I had a good friend whose parents owned a tourist fishing camp in northern Ontario, which could only be reached by a 45 minute flight or 1.5 hour train ride. One winter I head out there with him and another friend to do a job for another camp on the lake. The job involves shovelling snow into a half buried shed that is filled with Rubbermaid storage bins containing ice. The snow and ice last for most of the summer and it’s how they refrigerate. Job goes good, make some money, drink, snowmobile around, sleep in a winterized cabin, in general have a good time.
Following year I get a call from the camp down the lake, my friend is unavailable so they want to know if I’ll do it by myself. Sure why not what could go wrong. So I pack up all my gear, take a train ride 1.5 hours into the Northern Ontario wilderness in the middle of winter and head to the camp. I get off the train into a nice snowfall and a temp of -25 Celsius. Running off of memory I started out on the lake towards the camp. Not even five minutes out on to the lake the ice starts to break, I manage to get a couple of steps once this happens, throw my gear while jumping forward and sprawling out spread eagle. So my body is half in the water half out, somehow I manage to wriggle clear of the water and collect my gear. I’m soaked it’s -25 my only option is to get to the cabin and get dry and warm or die. So I hike about 2km around a peninsula and expect to see the cabin in the bay, which it wasn’t. I had gone the wrong direction so I now need to back track and head the other way adding extra time.
I finally reached my destination half froze and definitely feeling the effects of hypothermia(I’d been shaking uncontrollably for the better part of two hours. Now there was supposed to be a cabin left unlocked and stocked with wood and a pile out back, however there was no cabin left unlocked and definitely no wood inside or otherwise. So I made a fire of the little bit of wood in the wood box and proceeded to burn everything I possibly could, this included chairs, kitchen table, the wood box itself. It wasn’t much but it did the trick, I was warm and my clothes were drying, I even managed to heat up some soup. After warming up enough I threw my stuff back on and went and broke into the other cabins looking for wood, there wasn’t much but I thought it’d last for the night, so I threw it on the fire and went to sleep.
I’m not sure what time I woke up at (watch was frozen solid) but I was shivering uncontrollably again and looking in a mirror by candle light I could see my lips were purple and my face white as a ghost. I knew that I had to get warm, that if I went back to sleep I wouldn’t be waking up in the morning. So I got dressed( put my boots on I was still in my gear) and went out to get wood. Luckily it was a full moon and I was able to see fairly well. I started by shovelling up every heap of snow I could see looking for the alleged woodpile, the only thing I found however was a stump. Knowing the stump wouldn’t be enough I grabbed an axe and started to cut down green trees. I managed to get a fair bit and with the help a few more broken chairs from other cabins and some kerosene I got a fire going. The smoke from the green pine branches filled the cabin making my eyes water but I didn’t care, I was warm.
The following day the first thing I did was cut down some more trees, I made sure I had enough to keep the fire going all day and night. Other than that the rest of the time went by alright, I got the job done had a good night sleep and caught the train the next morning. Needless to say when asked the following year I declined the job.
21. Lost With A Major Language Barrier
My sophomore year of college, I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria. At the beginning of each semester, all of the students went to an orientation in a beautiful, rural village high in the Austrian Alps. Our story takes place in January at the beginning of the second semester in the early 90s.
After a group breakfast, all of us were bussed from the hotel down a country road to the village center, maybe two miles away. We had the option of taking the bus back or walking. The village was beautiful; the sun was shining, and everything was covered in snow. My friends and I wandered around and eventually opted to skip the bus, grab a hot cocoa, and walk back.
We had thought upon arriving that there was only one road out of the village, the one that would take us back to the hotel, but with the sun setting (the day was shorter than we anticipated) and new snowfall, everything looked different.
We walked and walked, and it got darker and darker, and colder and colder. No cars passed, and this being a rural area, there were no pedestrians either.
It was at about this point that we realized that we were lost in the snow, at night, in the Alps. This might be a good time to mention that since we had just arrived there, none of us had cell phones.
After an hour or two of getting progressively colder, we finally came upon a farmhouse with lights on. We knocked and used extremely broken German to try to explain the situation to the woman who answered the door. She was a saint. She crammed us into her van and we drove around for ANOTHER hour until she finally figured out where we were supposed to be (she didn’t speak English and I had the best German of the three of us with one semester under my belt) and dropped us off, around 10 p.m.
20. Lost In The Darkness (And Finding A Medieval Way Out)
I’m a hunter. It’s a great way for me to escape the everyday hustle and bustle and just sit alone in the woods, watching it either wake up, or go to sleep. This particular day I was deer hunting about 20 feet up a tree and anyone who hunts knows that you go all the way until dark, pack up your stuff, and then come out.
Sunset was around 5:00 PM and I sat in the tree until about 5:40 PM, and then climbed down from the tree, packed up my stuff and realized that I didn’t have a flashlight. No big deal, I’ve got my cell phone. Oops… 5% battery left because I’m so far out in the woods (long hike in) that it was searching for a signal the whole time and drained itself. I shut off my phone to conserve battery.
I figure, “oh well, I’ll be fine. I’ll start walking back now.”
Even though I spend a LOT of time outdoors, and practically spent every weekend as a kid in the woods, even I can get lost. There’s a moment that I just can’t describe where you realize that you’re lost, and you have no flashlight and have no idea which way to go. It’s a pretty unsettling feeling, but you want to remain calm. You’re panicking on the inside but you know that will do no good to panic so you try to calm yourself down. I did this for a while before I decided to just sit down.
By this time I had been lost in the woods, in the dark, with no flashlight for about 3 hours. It was an overcast night and a new moon so I had ZERO light to work with. I decided to sit down and take inventory of what I had and remain calm. I took out my cell phone and sent my fiance a text that said:
“Phone dying. Lost in woods may spend the night here. I won’t die promise, love you.”
…and turned off my phone in case I needed that 3% to make an emergency call.
It was now around 9:00 PM. I realized that I wasn’t going to die out there in the woods, but I wasn’t going to have a fun night either. I did have a weapon, plenty of ammo, good clothing, and a bottle of water. Oh, and a full pack of smokes! I could start a fire and be fine.
…wait. I could start a fire. I could… build a torch… Why didn’t I think of this before?
I had some para-cord that I had in my hunting pack that I typically use to pull my weapon up a tree with after I’ve climbed it, so I cut off a section of it and bundled up a few leaves/sticks/bark and made a torch. It was wet so I used some lipbalm on the string to get it going a little better and the torch worked… not perfectly but now I could see.
I ended up eventually finding a trail that I knew (even in the dimly lit torch darkness) and hiked out from there to my vehicle. If it weren’t for that smoke lighter I’d probably have spent the night there. I got to my truck, called my fiancé who was freaking out, and headed home.
19. Wandering For Weeks, Racing Against The Cold
This is back in the 80s in the USSR. My dad and his buddies used to take month-long trips every summer to kayak down the many of the countries waterways. They were up north. Way north, beyond the Arctic Circle. They were so far north that their compass was wrong. Excuse my limited understanding of navigation, but I think the difference between magnetic north and true north gives a greater error when you’re so far north. Long story short, they got lost.
Remember, this is back in the 80s in northern Russia. It was in July or August, so the temperature was okay. They also had plenty of fresh water, tents, etc. But they had no idea how to get to the nearest town, which was at least a few hundred miles away. If they missed it, the next town would be even farther. They fished for food but didn’t have guns to hunt. They spent about 3 weeks being lost and were saved by a geological team that was working in the area that they ran into by a miracle. The geologists gave them accurate coordinates and corrected their compass error. They walked/kayaked down to a town on a railroad and made their way back to civilization. If it wasn’t for the geologists, they would’ve stayed lost and probably would’ve frozen to death in about a month when the weather changed.
18. Sounds Like The Beginning Of A Horror Movie
About 7 years ago, some friends and I were out deer hunting in the middle of nowhere in Texas. We had been partying, had loud music, a bonfire, the works. So my friend and I decided to drive off on his ATV and go see this old cemetery. We get off the ATV, walk to the cemetery, and being the dumb-dumbs we were TURNED OFF THE ATV in pitch black. We couldn’t find our way back and ended up going in the opposite direction. We walked for hours screaming for our friends who couldn’t hear us over the music. Finally, I told him we were getting ourselves more lost and we just needed to stay put until morning.
After a very long, cold, terrifying night sleeping in the woods, our friends finally realized we never came back and went looking for us. They found the ATV, but we were nowhere to be seen. I guess they found us 4 miles away. After driving around screaming for us, we heard them and screamed back. Biggest relief of my entire life was seeing them walk through the thick trees. We had so many bug bites and we were very shaken up, but we were very lucky that it wasn’t worse. We learned a lesson the hard way that day.
17. A Cross-Country Skateboarder Adrift In The Desert
A few years ago I decided to test a new tent out by skateboarding out of town. I had so much fun I just kept going and skated clear across the country. The story got around a little bit and Warren Miller (Ski God) even wrote about it in the Vail Daily. While skating through Utah I decided I would skate across the salt pans and desert to cut off a few miles of road.
Growing up in Massachusetts I was used to 1inch on a map only being a few miles. In Utah I was wrong. Thinking it would be beautiful and neat to go through a few miles of the desert I left the road at a 45 degree angle to intersect another road. After about 20 miles I was starting to panic. My water was gone and after passing dozens of dead cow and animal bones bleached by the sun I started to worry. Nobody would ever find my body, nobody would ever know where I went and I imagined my own bones sitting out there forever.
After about 30 miles I got to a point where I thought I could still get back to the road behind me or could hope that the road was less than 30 miles ahead. That was the point at which I guessed I could travel no further. My water was long gone at that point. I decided to wait until night to see if I could see any lights of cars or homes. I set my tent up for shade and waited. I didn’t know one’s mouth could feel so dry. After dusk, I roused myself, and saw car lights about 10 miles in the distance and waited until the coolest part of the night to continue traveling. After what felt like forever I walked into a gas station looking like a zombie. Drank a gallon of water and ate a croissant wrapped hotdog. No meal in my life has ever tasted better.
16. Go Fish?
When I was 15, I went to this gigantic 300-acre reservoir to go fishing. They have these small 10-foot boats that they let you take out on the water, and I had an electric motor to use on the boat. I went out fishing early that morning, about 6am. I didn’t even go home for lunch, I was catching so many fish. It was a beautiful day and the lake was as calm as ever. And within about 2 minutes, I turn around to look towards where the loading ramp is and I see these terrible dark and scary clouds.
As I’m about to turn on the boat engine to full gear, I find out that the battery has died since I had been using it for a while without charging it. At this point, it’s about 3 p.m. and I was very tired and drained from a day on the water and in the sun. Now my motor has stopped running and I am about a 2-mile trail walk to the loading ramp with about 150 pounds of fishing equipment. So I get the paddles set up to paddle back. I’m out on the lake paddling as hard as I physically could, and had to go to the side a few times to catch my breath. This entire time, I had these literally giant waves coming over the boat and hitting me. This was a cold mid-summer afternoon, so it was chilly. I was so physically strained from this I was hurting for two days, but I managed to make it back to shore and off the metal Jon boat.
15. No Go In Lake Tahoe
At Lake Tahoe, I rented a houseboat and 2 jet skis. We were around Sheep Creek Canyon when we noticed a cool narrow pass that we wanted to explore, but seeing how it was going to get dark soon, we had the houseboat continue towards Rainbow Bridge while we took turns getting on the jet skis and backtracking to the narrow pass to check it out.
It was my friend and I’s turn to go, and by this time we were a good distance from the narrow pass. So it took 20 minutes to backtrack back to that pass on the jet ski, and another 20 minutes to explore. We completely underestimated how far it would be to catch back up to the houseboat, because the houseboat had been continuing forward for almost 40/50 minutes by the time we started to head back.
A monsoon was rolling in, and the high waves made it difficult to go fast and also made it tiring. The sun was setting in about 45 minutes. Then it started to rain as the sun was setting. We must have been riding on that jet ski for about 2 hours trying to find our houseboat. The gas was running out and one of the jet skis was taking in too much water, so it was kind of sinking a little. We finally found the houseboat from a distance, caught up to it, and anchored on the beach. It was honestly the scariest thing I’ve experienced. It could’ve been way worse if we hadn’t found the houseboat and been stranded on that lake overnight on a jet ski.
14. Nearly Drowning While Everyone Around You Is Having Fun
While tubing with my cousins, I hooked my wrist into the handle as 6 kids piled on. The weight was too much and the tube went under trapping me. I was under water for a full minute unable to free myself. My uncle had realized what happened and jumped off the boat to rescue me. Somehow an air bubble had formed around my mouth and I was able to breathe, thus surviving another day.
13. A Jaw-Dropping Snorkeling Disaster
I was on vacation in Fiji for a college class. We were visiting a local village and had free time. I went snorkeling by myself. I am a land lover, and knew nothing of ocean safety and rip tides. I am swimming face down, looking at the colorful coral reefs. When I look up, I am like a mile out to sea, with no one else around. I try to swim straight back to shore, but the tide is too strong. I have to swim at a 45-degree angle to work my way back against the current. I also had to grab onto some corals and basically do horizontal rock climbing to work my way to shore. The corals are super sharp, and cut the heck out of my hands.
12. Lost Boys
When I was 10, my class went on a field trip to a national park. We were supposed to have a picnic lunch and draw some leaves. Drawing leaves was boring, so my friend and I snuck off from the group and ended up lost in the Australian bush. Before we had arrived, our teacher had told us that if you were lost you should stay still and wait to be found. So like true 10-year-olds, we completely ignored that and wandered around aimlessly looking for a way out. We found a gravel trail and followed that and eventually came out of the bush on the side of a highway. We had been lost for around 5 hours, so the rest of the kids had already been taken back to school. They realized we were missing when they were boarding the bus. We were spotted walking down the highway by a teacher who was driving their own car around the accessible perimeters, so she took us back to the original spot and from there back home. Surprisingly we got in no trouble; the teachers did for losing us, even though it was entirely our fault.
11. A Fork In The Lake
I was working in a wilderness park in northern Ontario. I lived alone in the cabin of the main campground which was seldom used. The cabin was on a lake connected to a vast network of other lakes. The particular lake I was on connected to two distinct lakes by way of two distinct rivers.
I had been planning to learn how to solo paddle a canoe for some time and had my chance living on this lake. The long weekend was coming up and I wanted to do a little 2-night solo trip to one of the connected lakes. I thought this would be a good way to learn: by throwing myself into the deep end and doing a very short solo trip. I would only be doing about 10 km of paddling before setting up base camp. I figured I had so much time, even if I zig zagged the whole time I would be fine.
When the long weekend came I set my alarm for before sunrise, to give myself as much time as possible, and to take advantage of the glass lake surface of the morning. This particular morning was EXTREMELY foggy. Probably 5’ visibility on the lake itself, 15’ on the ground. I am relatively experienced in orienteering, so I just used my compass to navigate across the lake I was situated. I was going to a river due South East, the other river was due South. When I got to where the river was supposed to be, there was nothing, so I followed the shore until I found it. I paddled down the river for a couple hours until the fog lifted. I should mentioned it was a slow moving river, maybe 20’ wide.
I heard voices in front of me and was surprised as the route I had planned was rarely travelled. When I came to the other paddlers they informed me I was on the wrong river. Which wasn’t a big deal because I knew exactly where I was. However, the note I had left at my cabin had the other river and lake as my destination…
I pushed ahead and finally found a campsite on the lake, which was quite large. By that time the fog had fully lifted and the sky was clear. It was nice so I had taken off my shirt hours before to get a tan. However, at my campsite I realized I was suffering from some form of heat illness: I was delirious; talking to myself; not seeing straight; feeling cold and clammy. I knew it was heat exhaustion (for the record heat stroke is fatal unless medical attention is given, kinda like drowning – heat exhaustion is the final step before stroke). I was conscious enough to know something was wrong, so I took out my first aid and saw the treatment was to soak in cool water. So I put on my life jacket and got in the lake. I lasted about 5 minutes because the lake was still super cold even though it was +30 C out. Obviously the 5 minute soak did nothing.
Next I had the bright idea to paddle across the lake to an island to try fishing. I got to the island and tried catching some bass. No luck. I walked around the island a bit and after falling down a ledge and cutting myself up I paddled back. Now, I was really not feeling well. I set up my tent in the shade, with no fly and laid on top of my mattress in my boxers with the cool wind against my clammy cold skin. I pounded maybe 600 ml of water (I know, not much) but that is all I could handle. It was about 6pm by this time. I literally thought I might not wake up. I wasn’t even scared, I just pictured it taking them a while to find my body as I wasn’t even on the correct lake.
Luckily, I did wake up at noon the next day! I slept 18 hours straight! Anyone who camps knows it is hard to sleep in that late or straight through the night. I took a very small pee and paddled back, against a huge head wind, which sucked. And had a beer when I got in. I did learn how to solo paddle pretty well. For the next 5-10 years I have been more sensitive to heat, but I survived. I would say I am ‘advanced’ now when it comes to solo paddling.
10. Secret Castle Society In The Woods
There’s a road called Clinton Road by me where some really weird stuff has gone down. So one day a few friends and I were feeling brave on a summer night and decided to pull over and explore this road. We went off deep into the woods on this “most haunted road” weird stuff did seem to happen, but the craziest was when we wandered off and found the ruins of a castle…I mean straight out of a horror movie.
We were exploring when suddenly two guys dressed in hooded outfits came out of nowhere and asked if we wanted to join their brotherhood. Freaked out I said that I really didn’t want to get involved and they got in our faces and asked “if we support those ruining our history.” I told them we would join but we wanted to lock up the car first before they did this ‘ritual’ thing to us.
We finally found the car with them not far behind following us and risked it..We ran into the car and drove away as fast as we could. I don’t know if they were going to hurt us or not but adrenaline took over and we were petrified and to get out of there as quickly as possible.
9. Cold And Lost In A Foreign Country
I went to Finland to work for a few months. The first day I worked I got a bus from Vinkkilä to Turku. I did my days work and got the bus back. Now Finland is a little different than the UK, everywhere looks the same, tall trees, no landmarks, a few of the same shops dotted about. I saw a shop that I thought was a shop I recognized in Vinkkilä, nope! I was closer to Lemu than anywhere else and there were no more buses so I started to walk in the direction the bus headed.
It got dark fast and started to snow heavily. The ground was already covered in snow and there were no street lights anywhere. I kept walking and every now and again a car would zoom past me (I was walking on some kind of motorway?) I was wearing all black so people wouldn’t have been able to see me. I get sprayed with ice cold slush from passing cars quite a few times but had nowhere else to walk, next to the road was a sort of ditch filled with water before a load of fields. This went on for what seemed like hours and it was getting too dark for me to see anything plus the snow blowing in my face constantly made it impossible to tell where I was going. Finally I saw a driveway that went off into the trees at the other side of the road and lights in the trees! I ran across the road and followed the driveway. I basically fell to my knees at someone’s door and banged on it until someone answered. An old lady came and peered through a gap in the door, when she heard me speaking English she went to get some guy (I guess her son). He came to the door and asked me what was wrong so I told him what had happened and that I was lost and where I was going. He was nice enough to drive me all the way back to where I was staying (I had been walking the wrong way). It seemed like we were driving forever before we arrived. That was the single greatest act of kindness I’ve ever received. I kept thinking that I was going to die when I was walking and thinking about my family at home finding out and it being in the papers and how awful it all was. I’ll never forget the kindness that random Fin showed me!
8. On A Frozen Lake Stuck In A Blizzard
Two years ago I was on an arctic survival training in Nunavut, Canada. In february. No trees can grow there. Nothing but rocks and snow. Shit’s cold. Anyways, our group of about 150 people would move on snowmobiles to set up camp every night. We were guided by a group of inuit rangers. Real badasses. We moved in convoys, one behind another, always following the same tracks, in case we got lost. Rule of thumb is if you can’t see the guy behind you, you stop, until the entire convoy stops and regroups.
Well one day, while on a run back from the new camp to pick up people and supplies, we hit a blizzard. We are on sea ice, anywhere you look is flat, white, cold nothingness as far as the eye can see. Which isn’t very far with the wind and snow. Maybe 20 meters. We were trying to get back as fast as possible. Too fast, apparently. I look back and can’t see anyone behind me, so I stop, and look in front of me to see a blur silhouette and dim tailgate light disappear in this white hell.
I look back again.
Of course I don’t panic, this system worked all the time, so I wait. But after a couple minutes, I get anxious. What if the guy behind me passed me in the blizzard and found the convoy? Our faces are completely covered and we wear the same gear, there’s no way of identifying each other. They wouldn’t know I was missing until they reach camp. Or what if the convoy turned back and found them, but not me? Or what if everyone behind me is just waiting on the next one as planned? So I sit on my ride and wait. Until I think there’s no way they haven’t catched up yet. Eventuallyi had had enough, I’m going to find the convoy and see what’s up. So I start moving and look down at the snow.
The wind swept them away. How? It’s been like 10 minutes, tops! I’m screwed. I start moving in the direction I think is right, when suddenly I see someone coming. It’s a goddamn ranger. A northern badass wearing a hoodie, with his rifle on his back and a smoke in his leathery lips. In a blizzard. He leads me to the convoy. The entire convoy. Turns out the group behind me did pass right by me and we didn’t notice. We keep going like nothing happened.
And that was the most terrifying experience of my life.
7. What Is A Karin?
Several years back, my family and my neighbor’s family (neighbor is one of my best friends) are hiking in northern New Mexico up Mt. Touchmenot, which is connected by a ridge to Mt. Baldy, the famous mountain all the boy scouts hike at Philmont.
On this hike is me (15 M), my dad, my brother (13), my neighbor (14 M) his parents, and his 2 sisters (12, 10).
My dad and I have hiked this same trail half a dozen times in years past, and seeing as it wasn’t too hard, we took everyone up. To get to the start, you drive up 2/3 of the mountain, then hike from there. We reach the peak early in the day, probably be 12 or 1. After a nice picnic and some pictures, we’re ready to follow the trail down. My dad leads. The first part is down a rocky slope, which we all handle just fine. Then, the trail leads into the cover of trees. Keep in mind, it’s less of a trail, and more of a connect the dots style hike where you follow karins all the way, which are little piles of rocks that let you know you’re going the right way.
Anyway, once we hit the trees, I take the lead for a half an hour or so with my neighbor. I have to stop and tie my shoe, so my little brother takes the lead. My neighbor and I end up at the back of our group, which is fine. After about 30 minutes of hiking I look around and notice something funny and ask my dad, “Hey, when was the last karin?” He didn’t know. We had all been talking to each other, content letting my brother lead. We ask him when he saw the last karin. His response: What’s a karin?
Now in hindsight, hiking back up and finding the trail would have been the smart move. It would only have cost us an hour or so. But my dad was sure he knew where we were and that he could get us back by going right, thinking we wandered left. I thought the opposite, as did my neighbor. But our dads were in charge, so right we went.
So we’re hiking.
It’s getting late. After lots of debate, we convince our dads to hang up their egos and call search and rescue, which we do. They send a fleet because it’s getting late and were in the mountains alone without any gear. They’re all out blowing whistles and horns and asking us if we hear anything. We don’t.
We weren’t totally lost, we could see the city we came from in the distance, sort of. So we keep moving. Search and rescue never finds us. We make it to the city around 9pm. A 3 hour round trip turned into an 11 hour ordeal. The 10 year old girl was a trooper.
The kicker: before we left, my brother got into an argument with my dad about wearing hiking socks. He didn’t want to, cause he thought they looked silly. So he wore ankle socks. He had blisters covering his entire heel when we got back. I mean 3 inches or so in diameter.
6. Lost In Foreign Territory At 4 A.M.
I was driving in the middle of a state I had never been to. It was four in the morning and I was in someone I didn’t know’s car on a highway I didn’t know. As I typed in the only address I knew onto my phone, it died.
I was in the dark really for the first time. I thought I would be sleeping in the car. I was scared, angry, and really afraid like I hadn’t been before. After ten minutes of driving alone on a two-lane road, I tried to innovate.
Like a gift from God, I found a smart phone in my back seat. Password protected, I used the emergency call feature and called 911, asking for non-emergency help.
The operator understood my situation and as I described my foreignness to what was around me and what buildings, signs, and roads I saw, he was able to direct me to where I needed to go. I was truly put to the test that day, and I felt like someone was really looking out for me.
5. Escaping The Wilderness On A Motorcycle’s Last Legs
Let’s set the scene; it’s an island in the Philippines. Now you’re probably imagining old growth forests and jungle, but the wilderness on this island was mostly palm forests and swampland. Probably tropical savannah if one was pressed for a classification.
As you will find on most Visayan islands, there was a beach resort area with a few tourist lodgings of varying quality. Catering to the tourists at said establishments were rental places renting out vehicles of even more varying quality. I, being young and therefore both poor and foolhardy, rented the cheapest Chinese made dirt bike in the town. I used said bike lightly for a day around the beach and in unwitting preparation for my great adventure the following day, a component in the rear broke and “had to be replaced” at the shop.
Now you see, I’d seen some maps and there was a second town (Town B) with a beach several hours distance away by provincial highway. The highway itself took a large detour around an area of forest, skirting the coast and keeping as far away from the area as it is possible without physically propelling yourself into the ocean.
However, there was a map sneakily hidden in the darkest corner of a local restaurant that told a different story. The map was faded, as the mining or plantation venture it was produced for had long since folded, but behind the brown tinge and 60s typography was the unmistakable dotted line of a trail cutting from one curve of the highway to another and eliminating half the distance.
So the next morning I got up bright and early to drive to Town B, packing some beach gear and making emphatically sure not to pack something totally unnecessary like a torch. I trundle along the highway for a little while, being passed at breakneck speed by some trucks, until I hit my turn off. The initial part of the secondary road was cement (good sign) and I followed it through some villages. Rice paddies gave way to more and more palm trees and the road itself became gravel. With every passing mile the houses became scarcer, the palm trees became denser and the road became wetter, more rutted and more orange with clay. Roughly 90 minutes passed between the final house I saw on one side and the first one I saw on the other. The road itself was literally a walking track in width for a good 45 of those minutes, all mud and rock with deep drainage marks criss crossing the surface and puddles elsewhere. One pool was almost an engine killer in depth and length and required a lot of coaxing to get the bike to not suffocate. I was absolutely filthy. My wrists and biceps were aching. My teeth were almost rattled out of my gums. But I’d made good time and it was not even noon when I reached Town B.
Going from A to B had been a complete success, so as you could imagine I strutted around the beach all afternoon with the smuggest expression humanly possible.
Anyway, during the afternoon I decided I could backtrack through the same route because I’d done it once and if you do something once nothing bad can ever happen in any of the subsequent times because you know everything there is to know.
By the time I reached the last house on the side of Town B it was late afternoon. Logically I sped up, because the secret to avoiding the dangers of reduced visibility is to outrun it. Now the back of the bike was bouncing around like wild, but I was making good time. That was until the part that was fixed the previous day gave way again.
Of course that wasn’t immediately clear at the time. What it felt like was the bike making a hard right into the foliage, while I clung on with one hand. Until the side of the bike went THUNK into a tree and THUNKED me off into the mire. I went flying one way, landing on my back, and the bike went bouncing another, landing quite miraculously on the road, or however you’d describe it.
I don’t know if you’re meant to pass out after that kind of thing, because my body did the opposite and I basically flung myself on the bike to get it upright. Unfortunately adrenaline can only do so much and I soon felt this ridiculously intense throbbing rising from my right leg. My kneecap took the full force of the tree trunk and basically all the skin was hanging off. Bone and muscle was not visible, but a lump of skin about the size of my palm was hanging down and the kneecap itself was visibly strange (later learned it was fractured in several places). I fell on my bum when I realised the enormity of being absolutely unable to walk the distance necessary to get help.
Amazingly the bike motor was still running and, although basically all the brake pedal and protrusions on the right side were bent up against the bike and every piece of bodywork was hanging off, the only fundamental problem with the bike was the broken rear axle. In a stroke of luck that could only have come from a divine power, the axle rod that had been taken out of the bike the previous day was still in with the tool set provided in the storage. I know it sounds contrived, but rather than fix the issue the owner had replaced one axle rod with an even older one, taken $5 to do so and put the existing (and pretty much fine) one back in the tool kit.
In the last light of the day I took apart the rear of the bike and replaced the parts as best I could with my limited knowledge of motorcycles (limited much to the chagrin of my uncle, who is quite into them) and reassembled it from memory. By now dusk was becoming night, I still had what was one hour of driving during the day to complete and my leg was pretty much stained red with blood and pretty much immovable.
It took a good while, and a good deal of struggling, to even mount the bike. However practically everything else was hand operated, including the ignition, so it was drivable. Drivable in a sense, because the lights were broken and I was in a pitch black rainforest covered in puddles and rocks and vines. In hindsight it may have been smarter to wait the night, but I gunned the throttle and started moving as slow as was possible without stalling.
Now, the night happened to be clear and the moon was gibbous so there was a slight but noticeable amount of light shining down on the road. The human eye is amazing when it comes to that and with every passing minute moving at walking pace the path became clearer. This means one vaguely lighter shade of grey compared to another, but it was enough to avoid rolling off the beaten track too often or making further THUNKS against trees.
Throttle, idle, throttle, idle, more throttle to clear a rock, idle. Really ridiculously slowly for hours. Until I hit the largest puddle that I’d met the last time. This one was quite visible with the moon reflecting off it. I wasn’t really in any position to push the bike across, so I crossed my fingers and let the bike roll in and drove as straight as possible. All was fine until the last metres after the puddle where, to my horror, there was a patch of deep mud I’d avoided before. The rear wheel gets stuck deep. My leg is destroyed so there’s no way I can brace myself and man handle the bike out.
Having come so far I go absolutely animalistic and force all my weight forward on the handlebars while gunning the throttle as hard as it will go on the lowest gear. The bike starts to smell like burning, but gradually the rear wheel wrenches itself forward and I slide it out of the deep mud with all the fury of an old timey deity they’d sacrifice children to. And then I tipped over face first into some shallow mud.
Anyway it got easier from there, and at about 5 am I dragged my sorry, muddy ass through the gates of a local clinic, who patched me up and then called an ambulance that took me to an even better clinic. The owner settled the damage for literally $50 because his dodgy bike repair was obviously to blame and he didn’t want to be chewed out or extorted by the police, particularly because the provincial government was doing everything short of sexual favors (and I guarantee you that was happening behind closed doors) to generate tourism.
4. Hurricane Disorients a Foreigner
I was in New Orleans shortly after Katrina to do volunteer work. It was weird because all the road/street signs were gone after all the flooding etc. Also at that time, I didn’t have GPS and when I left to do some quick survey of the area at night, I decided not to bring a map of the city. As you imagine, I got lost pretty fast and when I realized I was circling around the similar looking area, I started to panic. Remind you, it was shortly after Katrina so no street signs, barely functioning street lamps, so felt like stuck in a haunted town. However, luckily at the time, I had a compass (the one you stick it on the dashboard) with me and I knew at the time I left the FEMA camp, I knew of the general direction I was heading to. Also, I knew the camp was located near this big bright bridge which I caught a glimpse of as I was frantically driving around. So with those two, I finally made myself back to camp and what a relief it was.
3. Eight-Legged Freaks
When I was a teenager, my friends and I would drive to the mountains trying to get lost. One time, as night was falling (we had really gotten lost this trip), we got stuck on this road. I couldn’t figure out how to turn my car around, so we just continued down the road. It was starting to get dark when it happened. The entire dirt road started moving. There were tarantulas everywhere! Hundreds of them. I figured out how to turn around fast. I have no idea how many of them I ran over, but it was a very bumpy and squishy road.
2. Better To Have No Advice Than Given Bad Advice
Took a train to my university at Christmas. Had never done before, was new to the town as was my first term. They gave small bottles of champagne to celebrate the holidays.
This was pre Internet, cell and laptop. So I didn’t even have a bag with me. Out the two bottles of champagne in my pockets.
Asked the guys at the station which way to the school. Not sure if they were being mean but they put me on the right road but in wrong direction and told me it was a good hours walk.
End up road gets really sketchy before I basically give up. I see a gas station down a hill off the road. Try to walk down the hill. It’s got just enough snow on the top that I slip and slide down and get covered in both the snow and mud that was under it.
I also slid over a rock or two and cut my leg and hands as I tried to stop myself, so blood is part of the mix too.
A cop happens to be parked at one of the pumps and basically sees me roll down the hill and approaches me.
I look like some wino zombie.
He actually drew his gun on me.
I thought I was gonna die or at least get arrested.
Somehow he believed my story and drove me to my dorm.
Pretty angry at the guys at the train station.
1. The Difficulty Of Travelling Alone
I was alone, hiking on a hill trail in a nature reserve near sunset, when I suddenly ran out of trail. It was not a well travelled route and the trails had overgrown. I tried turning around but couldn’t see where I came from. It was 15 minutes to sunset, there was no phone signal and I was starting to panic.
I guessed that I was probably close to the northern side, so I kept the last rays of sunlight to my left as I trekked northwards. I finally found a fence and followed it, climbing over rocks and through thorn bushes until, I found a gate out of the place. It was locked. Fortunately someone heard my calls for help.
From then on, I always hike with a partner. There’s less chance of getting lost, and even if we get lost, it’s calming and safer to get lost with company. It’s also good to have a travelling partner in case one person gets hurt and needs help.