THERE ARE MANY things that are immensely enjoyable about camping in the wilderness: the isolation, the solitude, the wilds of nature, the quiet. At the same time, there are things that can be deeply unnerving about camping in the wilderness: the isolation... the solitude... the wilds of nature... the quiet....
In other words, it depends on your experience. Yes, it’s good to get away from the job, the rat race, the nagging responsibilities of everyday life. On the other hand, you don’t know what’s out there in the untamed woods, mountains and deserts. Usually, it’s peace and a recharging of one’s spirit. Occasionally, however, it’s a nightmare that is so deeply terrifying that it changes one’s life.
Consider, for example, these true camping encounters.
WHITE MOUNTAINS CREATURE
In late October, 1995, Tango and his family, including the dog, were searching for a suitable camping spot in the White Mountains of Arizona. The sun was already beginning to disappear behind the mountains and they hadn’t found a spot yet. They were all as growing tired, and the dirt road they were traveling was becoming narrower and darker. As the trees closed in around their car, Tango’s dad, who was at the wheel, realized they weren’t going to find a good spot on this road and decided to turn around.
His dad stopped the car and began to make a three-point turn to go back in the other direction. It was then they saw something quite unexpected. “As we turned our car halfway around, we saw a little girl,” Tango says. “She was in tattered clothes, and she looked up at us. Her eyes grew wide in fear, like she had seen a ghost. My dad rolled down the window and asked, ‘Are you alright?’ The little girl trembled and said, ‘You shouldn't be here. Please go back!’”
Tango’s dad was confused. Did this girl need help? What was she trying to tell them? The little girl just repeated that same phrase. Tango’s was mom was scared and finally said, “Let's go back.” Tango’s day finished turning the car around and headed off in another direction. About 30 minutes later, they finally found a camping spot. Oddly, no one seemed to feel tired anymore. They unloaded the car, set up the tents and built a warm campfire.
As they sat around the fire, they couldn’t help trying to sort out their experience with the strange girl. Suddenly, Tango’s dad said, "Shhhhh!" His mom chuckled because he was always making jokes. But he was serious. His face went white, and it was clear that they were all struck with the feeling that they were being watched. “I looked around the forest, my heart pumping fast,” Tango vividly recalls. “I didn't hear anything, but I was scared.”
A spine-chilling roar came from the woods. What was it? Tango was on the verge of screaming in terror. The bushes rustled and something bolted out of the forest and into the light of the fire. “It had sharp teeth and no fur,” Tango says. “It was the size of a bear, but its eyes were yellow. I was frozen in fear. It stood for ten seconds in the light, then galloped off into the forest. I was horrified. My dog was whimpering and it curled its tail between its legs. This was the most horrifying experience in my life. This creature was extremely skinny, it looked like flesh and bones. This disturbing image of this... ‘thing’ is implanted in my head forever.”
Next page: The Glowing Beast