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Haunted Hikes and Camps

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.

Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby Ozark Flip » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:50 am

Greetings all! Anyone know of any interesting haunted hikes or haunted campsites in the remote backcountry of the Sierra Nevada? I have been compiling well-established stories, history and lore of haunted destinations from all corners of California’s backcountry and would welcome any input from the HST community about haunted Sierra destinations. I am particularly interested in and experiences concerning Native American spirits akin to the evil spirits of the Me-Wuk’s Po-Ho-No and the Winton’s Ku-Ku-Pa-Rick. Also, I am excited to hear anything regarding haunted camps, remote burial places, or remote small cemeteries. I have known about some places for quite a while, such as the haunted locales of Yosemite -- "Haunted hikes" by Andrea Lankford, a former YNP ranger who worked in Yosemite for 12 years -- also author of "Ranger Confidential". Bridalveil Falls trail has a 4-skull rating for the story of an Indian girl who fell to her death due to an evil wind. I guess she still wonders around sometimes.

And I have great stuff from the northern part of the state, but not much from the Sierra. The following is an example of what I am after…it is information/stories/experiences from the Lewis Stringer camp:

Lewis Stringer is a campsite up on the Kern Plateau in the Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, CA. Sam Lewis ran sheep there in the late 1800's with his wife. Lewis Stringer was her favorite place on the Kern Plateau and for many years they spent each summer camped there. Around 1910 she died and Sam had her body cremated and the next spring he scattered her ashes at her beloved camping site.

Starting in the 1920's, people began reporting strange incidents that occurred at Lewis Stringer. Many people started to avoid that area. But then many years passed without any reported incidences. But evidentially the ghost is still out and about.

In 2001, a Wilderness Ranger, Bob Olen, and his wife Pat camped there. The next day, items in their camp had been rearranged from how they had left them the night before. Today Bob is the law enforcement ranger for the Inyo NF out of Lone Pine and he refuses to camp there now.

In 2004, four horsemen were camped at Lewis Stringer. Two went for a day ride and on coming back to camp one of their reins came loose. Both unsnapped from the bit and fell free. On inspection, nothing seemed wrong, and he snapped them back on, but thought it very odd that both unsnapped at the same time for no apparent reason. Later that night, all four saw a glow coming from an old fire pit and heard a woman talking in a soft voice. The next morning they found items arranged in a different place. That night all were awakened by noises and again the sound of a woman's voice. Again a red glow could be seen in the fire pit. The next few nights things began to disappear. They left soon after and all report they are wary to ever stay there again.

A lady veteran backpacker was passing through the area and decided to camp there. It was her first stay there and she knew nothing about the stories about the place. In the middle of the night she was awakened by strange noises, the red glow, and she observed what she thought to be a woman dancing. She was so frightened she walked out to Horseshoe Meadow, leaving all her gear at Lewis Stringer. That morning she walked into the pack station and told the owner what happened and hired him to send a packer in to retrieve her gear. She has said she'll never go back.

In 2003, an Inyo NF trail crew was working in that area and was moved by a packer to Lewis Stringer. It would be their base camp for several days while they worked on the trail. Again, they did not know of the story of Lewis Stringer. Just after midnight, they were awakened by the sounds of a woman singing. Looking around they saw the ghostly figure of a woman dancing in front of the old fire pit. They were so startled they packed up and moved to a nearby location. The next day the packer located them and moved their supplies.

On October 26, 2003 three horsemen were about 3/4 of the way through a pack trip (I know one pretty well and I actually issued them their wilderness permit for this trip!) when they reached Lewis Stringer and decided to camp for the night. They unpacked their mules, removed the saddles, and put the animals to graze. They started dinner and were startled by noises coming from just below where the horses were grazing. They investigated but found nothing. Just about when they were about to turn in for the night, they heard splashing coming from the area of the creek. They got out their flashlights and investigated but again nothing was found. So they were crawling into bed when one shined his flashlight once more towards the creek and yelled, "Look at that! Look at that!" What John saw was two red glowing eyes. They were startled but thought that it was probably just a bear.

In the morning they were packing up and noticed a few items had disappeared during the night. But they packed up and headed out to the Jerkey trailhead and soon forgot about the strange incidences.

A few days later they were talking to a fellow packer out of Lone Pine and he told them the story of the ghost of Lewis Stringer.

During August of 2011 I was on a several day trip from Horseshoe Meadows above Lone Pine to Casa Vieja. On my third day out I came to a nice stream with a fair place to camp beside a fire pit. Checking my map I noticed it was named Lewis Stringer. I had never heard of it.
It was about dusk when I finished my meal and settled down in my sleeping bag. Almost immediately I started hearing strange noises nearby and they alarmed me. They were not the normal forest noises I am used to. Then I felt a “presence” right next to me and a cold chill went up and down my spine and filled my entire body. I sat upright in bed and yelled as loud as I could “Get out of here! Leave me alone!” I knew I was not alone at Lewis Stringer. As I write this the same chill returns to remind me of that evening. I had a fitful night’s sleep, hearing unusual noises all night and I left the area as soon as possible in the morning.

After hiking a few more days I exited the Golden Trout Wilderness at Blackrock trailhead. I stopped at Blackrock Station to tell the ranger about my trip. She was looking at my map where I had marked each nights camping site and when she came to Lewis Stringer she said “Oh, you stayed at the haunted camp”. My jaw dropped in surprise. So it was not my imagination! The ranger said she had heard a couple stories about the place. May I offer this challenge to anyone wanting an interesting experience? Go alone to Lewis Stringer and camp overnight. Tell us what you experience. [This last story complements of a backpacker in his eighties known as “Octogenarian Backpacker”]

This is the type of stuff I am interested in. Please share anything, even if it is simply a personal experience that has no “known” trend or history.
Last edited by Ozark Flip on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby RooPhillip » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:13 am

Great read Flip! I wish I could contribute something for you. I'll keep my ears open. Can't wait to see what you come up with.
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:00 pm

What a GREAT topic with Halloween just around the corner! I can't say that I've experienced any haunted sites- but I have had a few 'flash backs.' :eek: I'm wondering if the Washoe/Piute tribes have any stories related to the Tahoe-to-Sonora Pass area where they roamed much of the summer. I bet Bad Man From Bodie would know some stuff about this topic, he was raised in Lee Vining I think.
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby balzaccom » Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:06 pm

I agree---and wish I had more to offer. The only one that comes close is from our webite:

The first pack trip that P ever took was to Paradise Valley in Kings Canyon. He was twelve years old, and went off with his older sister and her best friend, both sixteen. We were young and adventurous, and prepared for just about anything.


Actually, we were green and a little nervous, but what could go wrong on a simple overnight trip? P's pack was contrived out of a pair of his father's pants: the two legs became the shoulder straps, tied into the belt loops, and his sleeping bag and clothes went into the torso section of the pants. The two older girls also carried the food and a tent. And in those days, we drank straight from the stream, out of our Sierra Club Cups.

We hiked about seven miles up to Paradise Valley, and managed to get there in plenty of time. We set up camp and had a pleasant evening around the campfire. Paradise Valley really is paradise!

It was so peaceful...too peaceful!

Near dusk, we began to hear a metal clanging noise--a bit like the noise of someone pounding metal tent stakes into hard ground. We let it go on for some time...and the more it continued, the stranger it seemed. Ping ping.

We tried to find the source of the noise, but it was getting dark, and we didn't want to wander aimlessly around the forest. It stopped for a while, then started up again. Ping, ping, ping.

Now we were getting worried. We tried calling out, to make some kind of contact--but there was no answer. That was weird. Nobody answered. But still we heard the Ping, ping.

And then the noise started getting closer. As we discussed the matter among ourselves, we tried to imagine what was making the noise. Then we began to realize that this might be a bell attached to an animal. And what kind of animal would require a bell in a National Park?

Our best guess was a dangerous bear--one that needed to warn people of his approach.

And still the noise got closer. Ping, ping, ping, ping.

It was now dark, and we huddled in our tent and hoped that the bear would pass us by--but that wasn't going to happen. As we listened intently, the noise got closer and closer, until it was just outside the camp site. Right outside. Twenty feet away. Maybe fifteen.

We could take the suspense no longer. We threw open the tent and flashed our lights in the direction of the noise.

There stood beautiful stag, rather stunned by the bright lights in the night.

We watched for a minute, just to make sure that this wasn't a dangerous deer, and then closed up the tent and fell asleep. The next morning we felt good enough to laugh about the incident.

When we returned to Road's End, we mentioned the deer to one of the rangers. He immediately asked us what color the bell had been--this was a new program to track the deer within the park. We thought the bell was either silver or blue.

He smiled indulgently, and told us that there were no silver or blue bells in the program.

hmmmph. It seemed like a stupid idea to us at the time---and I bet they don't bell stags in the parks anymore, either!

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby dave54 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:23 pm

Not really hikes, but many of the lava tubes in the NE corner of the state have Native American lore attached. The Maidu and Paiute did not use the lava tubes for shelter very much. A few have legends attached being portals to the underworld, evil spirits, etc. One north of Chester has a particular nasty reputation as the dwelling place of a devil, that emerges at night and kills people in their sleep. Oddly enough, just outside the entrance to the cave compasses go erratic and GPS units give wacky readings.

The Inskip Inn north of Paradise has a ghost inhabiting one of the rooms, and the Hotel Mt Lassen in Susanville has a resident ghost.
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby bluefintu » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:33 pm

Hi Ozark Flip, as I was getting goose bumps at home, you scared my friend away just by the title. We're going hiking/backpacking next weekend. :unibrow: This is a very weird report, I hope I don't have to contibute anymore. J/K of course. I hope to forget this by next weekend, or I just bring it up at night.
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby sparky » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:31 pm

Not the sierra Nevada, but my stomping grounds down here is the San Jacinto wilderness. I live below the western slopes so I am up there quite a bit. Tahqhitz is surrounded by folklore, and I have experienced some wierd things on many occasions. The most intense was at a yellow post site, or primitive car camping site, on one of the many fire roads. To make a long story short, me and my nephew packed up and left after settling in our bags for the night.

Lots of other wierdness, so much so I give offerings to Tahquitz when I go there so his band of demonic minions terrorize someone else!

I do feel the spirits in the sierra, but it has a much more gentle nature.
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby Cross Country » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:04 pm

To begin with, I don't believe in any of this, but ... One time I hiked with two friend from Sphinx Lakes to Cunningham Creek. We were fisherman and there were no fish there. I had let them know that a few years earlier I had seen fish in South Guard Lake so it made sense (to me) there were fish in CC. Alas, the creek was too small and the lakelets were too shallow. I couldn't get them to hike with me (after our arrival at Cunningham that day) to the lake just South of there. I detected no fish in the lake, but detected a very aery feeling that someone had died there and there reposed his/her ghost. The feeling was the strongest on this kind in my entire life. It was probably only because I had hiked there with NO survival gear and it was quite late (therefore, just my fear).
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby atreehugger » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:17 pm

It was early July of 2011, our party of 8 camped at Lewis Stringer on the edge of Templeton Meadows. I was aware of the Stringer "stories" and intentionally searched this area for the most likely location of Mr and Mrs Lewis's camp. Near the present location of the trail is what appears to be an 'old' trail through this area. Here, are a horse camp and large fire pit. From the looks of things, it doesn't get too much use...probably from being off the trail. We chose to make camp for the nite about 100' away in a more open area, out from the trees, with spectacular views across the large open expanse of Templeton Mdws. Evidence of Native American habitation was abundant...grinding holes and obsidian flakes. In the evening, a campfire was made in the old firepit of the horse camp. Nothing Happened. A peaceful nite was had by all. Nothing was missing or disturbed. Maybe we were camped too far from Mrs Lewis's spirit and were protected by the Native American spirits. I don't know. Sorry to not have any ghost story about Lewis Stringer BUT I did experience something about 15 years ago and not far from here, in Strawberry Mdws...

I had made camp off trail on a barren knoll which had views from the Whitney area to Templeton Mtn and all that lie in between...openness for miles around. I felt a powerful Native American presence here. So much so, that 5 years afterward, wanting to share this area with my newlywed wife, we spent a nite of our honeymoon backpack camped in this exact spot...

It was late May 2002 and no one was seen since leaving Horseshoe Mdws a few days prior. Cows had not been brought in yet for the summer grazing season and a feeling of solitude was omnipresent. We slept out, cowboy style, under the stars on this knoll.
During the well-lit moon night, I awoke to the sound of horses galloping. Their sound got louder and louder as they approached. From the sound, I would guess more than 1 but less than 5 horses were approaching at a fast rate of speed and heading directly for us. Thoughts of being trampled crossed my mind in the few seconds that it lasted...as the galloping horses passed very, very close to us. My wife awoke just as they passed and told of feeling something brush over her sleeping bag. A close call.

When morning came, to our surprise...No hoof prints anywhere. Surely tracks would have been visible in the soft decomposed granite. But no tracks of anything...anywhere...only our own. We looked all over...there were no horses!

To this day, I can not explain what was heard and felt and sensed here. I refer to this experience as the "Ghost Horses of Strawberry Mdws".
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Re: Haunted Hikes and Camps

Postby atreehugger » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:36 am

The following link is about a Bigfoot sighting in 1986 along the South Fork of the Kern,at the footbridge, at Monanche Meadows:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-C ... %2C4564720

This is not very far from Lewis Stringer / Templeton Mdws / Strawberry Mdws.
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