I haven't been as outdoorsy since I've been married, but my father is like the trailer park version of Survivorman and I've picked up a lot of his knowledge of how to make it being feral. He lived out in the desert with next to no money in a tent for 8 months straight and we used to regularly spend weeks out there.
I've also veered off trail and come across strange things all over the place. Sometimes dangerous, other times just straight up creepy.
I've posted about this one before. When coming down a steep trail on my way back to my car I heard a rustle in the trees not far from me. There was some guy clad in thick denim that had his arms raised in a really creepy attack sort of position. As I turned to look at him his whole body pivoted perfectly toward me. I don't know exactly what he was doing but it was definitely with malevolent intent. I reacted way too quick for him though and jumped like a mountain goat down some boulders and put some insane distance between us in a short amount of time. Called the rangers about it when I got back down, but don't know if they found him.
I don't really know... Just... Weird as fuck. Once again I went off trail and started aimlessly wandering in the general direction of a peak in the Uintas. From up a steep slope and from behind some very thick treeline I started getting pelted with green pinecones. Those shits hurt. They were flying at me from quite a distance, and I tried to angrily chase down the source but the terrain was was too difficult to negotiate quickly. I didn't see one shape or even the hint of movement through the trees at all. It's like the pinecones were coming from absolutely nowhere and arcing perfectly through thick trees and nailing me almost unerringly. Not a one hit a single tree or branch and that would have been impossible for me to do. Worst part? I could hear faint, high-pitched, creepy laughter.
Me and a buddy were doing some back country hiking in the Great Basin in an area where all sorts of weird shit was prone to happening. There was some restricted military base in the general area, lots of military testing and maneuvers, and lots of crazy ass weirdos that came through that area. We crested a tall hill and were looking out over a valley when we saw two other guys on a hill across from us. I took a look at them through my binocs and they looked pretty normal. One had a rifle, but that didn't concern me because LOTS of people would skeet shoot and such up in that region. I decided to give them a holler and wave just to let them know we were in the area just in case they were shooting. Well, they noticed us and the guy with the rifle raise it and pointed it in our direction. I tried to dismiss it as him using his scope to be able to see us as we were pretty far away. We resume hiking and next thing I know I hear shots landing on the hill we're on. Not terribly close, but fuckin' A. We hoof it down that hill and up another one and I break out the binocs again. Well, those two guys had now made it across to the hill we were on before and were skulking around the brush. Fuck that. I decided we needed to get back to camp, but that we couldn't make a beeline because it would take us across the valley and we would be spotted in a second. I saw that there was an old, dry washout that was the perfect depth to conceal us. We snuck our way down into it and it was literally like being in a trench surrounded by sheer dirt walls. We followed it around and out to safety, but it was pretty harrowing being in there because you couldn't see too much above and so we had no clue where those guys were.
Back to creepy. This was out by a campground of several natural springs. A friend and I (same buddy from before) decided to strike out and go explore some very dilapidated and ancient-looking farm structures we'd seen earlier in the day. We decided to go at night because fuck being sane, right? It was a small cluster of buildings far off next to some woods. We hiked through the brush to get there, but there was also a really torn up, weed-choked dirt road that led to it. The buildings were completely decrepit and looked like they were going to collapse if we breathed too hard. We went to the biggest barn-like building and immediately began to smell death. As we got to the interior we noticed some REALLY unnerving things. First, despite the fact that these buildings no longer had any functional purpose, it was clear that people still went out there. There were fresh footprints that did not belong to us. Second, there seemed to be blood spattered all over the fucking place. Third, there were pieces of wood that had been sharpened into crude, short stakes that were absolutely drenched in blood. Fourth... There were scattered clumps of what looked - to me at least - to be human hair. Lastly, it looked like someone had used the blood-stained stakes to try and scrawl something on a couple walls and on a load-bearing post in the center of the building. I couldn't make it out, probably better that way. So yeah, we decide to GTFO immediately. We decide to leave via a slightly different route because we were ultra paranoid that someone was watching and would follow us back to camp. As we made our way back we hit a truly putrid wall of that death stench again. We found the source. It was the rear half of a calf. Just the rear half. The front half was absolutely no where in sight. The worst thing about it though is that this animal was cut clean in half. It did not look like an animal attack at all. No other wounds, just perfectly snipped in half. We made it back to camp and left the next fucking morning.
Dead Seagull Ritual?
Another odd one. Hard to really put it into words. I went out to the Great Salt Lake one day and an area of the "beach" had these long lines of dozens and dozens of desiccated seagull bodies, all very neatly arranged in rows. There were like 3 or 4 arrangements like this. However, the really fucked up thing about it is that alongside these rows of death were all of these metal rods coming out of the ground at a slight angle. Fuck it, I can't explain it, so here comes a shitty drawing. I can't really think of a context where this sort of fucking thing makes sense.