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Re: Psycho

Postby Troutdog 59 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:48 pm

Ive had a few starnge encounters in the backcountry as well, and likey have been the source of stories for tohers as well :D

One wasnt really that strange, just a bit startling. Me, my borther Jim, and a friend Tom were doing a hike from South Lake to Sawmill Pass in something like 80 or 81. Great trip!! On our 1st day out going up the Bishop Pass trail I see this guy running down the trail towards me. Nowadays I wouldnt be surprised, but in 1980 or 81 I had never even heard of cross country runner. My first thought was "what was chasing this guy and I began to turn to flee down trail as well. I quickly realized however that with my full pack (at the begginning of a 9 day hike with no food resupplies) I would quickly be overtaken so I started scambling up the side of the hill. My brother sees this and mutters something about what the f&$% am I doing just as this guy comes around the corner. My brothers puzzled as well and this guy must have read our expressions cuz he instantly stated nothing was wrong, that he was out for a run.

Later on the same trip we saw something none of us could explain. We crossed Pinchot Pass during a storm and were moving towards Twin Lakes where we intended to camp. From above we could see a point that the Park Service had rerouted the JMT around a meadow. The old trail in the meadow as still clearly visible and in the meadow area was a group of 4 or 5 folks. They were all sittiing on their knees and were appeared to be rhytmically beating the ground in front of them with what appeared to be their insulite pads. My brother saw it first and asked for my opinion. At first I thought they must be swatting ants or something, but it all continued for a few minutes with no change. As we watched, we beagn to make out sounds that sounded like chanting. While curious, we decided the best thing to do was leave well enough alone and we took the main trail.

Now on one trip, I was likley the psycho. I did a 5 day solo trip in 1989. It was the only solo trip Ive done, cuz it turns out I like company too much :) . I decided to hike out a day early and to do so, I set up a quick camp my last night. I just through out my pancho and slept on it. The camp I chose was an old packers camp that was pretty dusty. When I picked up in the morning, I didnt realize I got a pretty good "smudge" of dirt across my face when packing up. I kept running into people who would ask how long I had been out and more surprisingly too me was how many asked if I was OK. Not one person said anything like I had dirt on my face or even a , "um hey buddy, not sure if you know it but 1/2 your face is covered with dirt. I even went across the Florecne Lake ferry and no one said a word. I went to my truck to get my wallet to buy a soda and saw myself in the mirror!!! UUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!! Thats why folks were looking at me so wierd.
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest places if you look at it right.

The Grateful Dead

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Re: Psycho

Postby balzaccom » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:05 pm

So there we were; 12+ miles from trailhead, and a couple miles off trail, and hadn't seen a soul for two days. This despite spending a day or two dayhiking the area. No campsites, nothing. This was near Boundary Lake in Yosemite, where we were the only ones to get a permit that week.

About five o'clock in the afternoon we see a young man hiking along the shore of the lake. He is in a pair of shorts and sandals, and seems to be carrying a t-shirt in his hand. That's it. No pack, no water, no nothing.

He didn't see us, as he slowly walked along the lake, then went up over the ridge and down into Cherry Creek Canyon---a good two miles down to the creek, and not much else down there.

No idea where he came from, where he was going...or what.

We're still puzzled.

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Re: Psycho

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:55 pm

When I read these kind of stories it freaks me out. With all my experience I don't remember seeing anyone so out of place and I'm a very observant, analytical person.
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Re: Psycho

Postby mcfarnell » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:24 pm

Hi everyone,

I just found this forum recently and love it! I'm so excited to go backpacking again this summer after reading numerous posts on here. I'm actually from Washington state, but have done numerous backcountry trips with my family in Yosemite. I'm so thankful to my dad for getting us kids started backpacking/fishing early. My dad is getting close to 70 now, but still joins us on extended, cross-country backpacking trips each summer. We're now introducing backpacking to the third generation with my nieces and nephews, starting them as young as five years old or earlier. You can see pictures from a few of our trips here: http://www.farnellfamily.com/pictures/Backpacking/

We do a lot of trips to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness here in WA, but also lots of trips to Yosemite, and one trip to Idaho's Frank Church Wilderness a few years ago. We love to get a couple days from the car, off trail, where we can feel like we are truly in remote wilderness.

Anyway......for my Psycho story, it's not someone I met, but someone I know. :-) My dad got into backpacking after his co-worker took him on an extended cross-country trip in Yosemite about 40 years ago. This co-worker, Lin, had been hiking Yosemite since he was a little boy as his grandpa had a cabin in Wawona (Lin now owns it). As a boy, he would join an old trapper/miner on trips into the backcountry from Wawona. He learned of many sheepherder camps, teepee rings, and found lots of arrowheads.

Anyway, when he was an adult, he was out on one of his cross-country trips in Yosemite during the summer. Normally the summer months are very dry in Yosemite with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm, so that's what he was planning on. He never carried a tent and probably just had a poncho. Also, his friends always made fun of him because he always carried pajamas when he backpacked.

So after he got a few days out into the wilderness, it started to rain....like day and night for 3 or 4 days in a row. He stayed dry the best he could, and it finally cleared up one evening. By then, all his clothes were pretty much soaked, so he took advantage of the weather to try to dry them out. He built a nice fire and hung all his clothes nearby on some bushes to dry overnight.

During the night, the wind came up and caught the bushes on fire, burning all of his clothes! I'm not sure when he woke up, but not in time to save his clothes, that's for sure. :( Next morning, he realized he needed to hike out. He decided to make a long day of it and hike out in one day - he was already two hard days out. Lucky for him he was wearing his PJs. However, his tennis shoes ( :rolleyes: ) had burned too. He had a foam sleeping pad, so he used his pocket knife to cut foam soles and tied them to his feet, put his backpack on, and headed for the car.

The quickest and easiest way to the car was on trail, so he made his way to the nearest trail and started making good time. He met a couple parties who were pretty amazed to see someone hiking in pajamas and foam/rope sandals, and he took the time to tell them the story. However, he got tired of telling the story over and over, and made up his mind to just look straight ahead and keep on walking when he met people on the trail. Needless to say he got many strange and questioning looks. :smirk:
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Re: Psycho

Postby maverick » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:06 pm

Hi Mcfarnell

Welcome to HST, and thanks for sharing that story, and you website, nice looking
Lucky for him he had those pj's.
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Re: Psycho

Postby Mike M. » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:36 pm

Seems like this thread would fit in nicely here:


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Re: Psycho

Postby quentinc » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:55 pm

Mike, thanks for linking to that. I'm guessing it's part of someone's horror film screenplay, but it's almost too good to be made up.
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