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Islander75
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 2:40 pm 
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Hi all,


I went over to the Cougar area to hike the Ape Cave just south of Mount St. Helens two weeks ago.  Had an awesome time and hiked both the lower (easy) and upper (much more difficult) portions of the cave.



I didn't get started until late afternoon so it was well past dark (around 8PM) after I emerged from the exit of the upper cave about 2 miles from the parking lot (and 3 miles from my car as the last mile of road was closed for the winter.  A group of 5 hikers was ahead of me and set off down the trail as I left the cave.  Somehow I got lost for about 30 minutes and wound up back at the cave entrance (chalk it up to being a noob hiking in the dark I guess)..  Anyway, after I picked up the trail I heard very faint noises every so often that seemed to keep pace with me.  Most of the time I just felt it more than heard it but I was sure it was there and I was certain of it's location (about 20 yards off my 8 o'clock).  About a quarter mile from the parking lot it seemed to break off and I was once again alone.  All other hikers were long gone from the area by the time I reached my car and I was left scratching my head over what the heck had enjoyed a late night stroll through the Mt. St. Helens Monument with me.  confused.gif


Has anyone else ever had a similar experience hiking here in Washington?  Any ideas what it was?  I was thinking maybe a cougar or coyote but I honestly have no idea...
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tinman
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 3:13 pm 
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I've had that feeling a few times and it seems it was always cougars.  Both times I saw their tracks when I turned around and headed back to the truck.  Never saw them, although I have seen many cougars at other times, but always had that sense that something was following me. Many years ago, while deer hunting, I watched a cougar follow another hunter below me for about 1/2 a mile, stopped whenever the hunter stopped and eventually walked right behind the hunter when she stopped and sat on a stump.  She never saw or heard it from what I can tell.

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hikerman
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 3:22 pm 
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Sasquatch.  Called Ape Cave for a reason.   wink.gif
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MtnGoat
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 3:23 pm 
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Had this on a solo night hike to Trout lake in the Icicle drainage. Had a feeling of being followed, but there was nothing there and I'd talk myself out of it. Then I'd hear something behind me which wasn't in time with my steps, and start wondering a little again. It was very quiet with no wind that night, so it was good conditions for hearing things...maybe farther off than I thought? It was creepy but I pressed on, didn't make for the most relaxing evening trip!

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Islander75
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 3:35 pm 
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Lol Bootpathguy, I'm not that new  wink.gif    Tinman, I was thinking cougar as well based on everything I've read.  Because a group had gone up the trail a little before me and I had separated from them and looped back maybe he thought I was a straggler.  Never saw anything, just a weird feeling and the occasional sound.  If it was a coug it would've been cool to see him.
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Ski
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 3:50 pm 
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It was probably this guy:


.... and welcome to the site, btw.  up.gif

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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HitTheTrail
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 5:06 pm 
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MtnGoat wrote:
Had this on a solo night hike to Trout lake in the Icicle drainage.

Trout Lake in the Icicle is one of the creepiest places I have ever hiked to. I have an interest in that tarn in the end of basin but don't think I want to re-experience that feeling I had when I was at Trout. At least not on a solo over nighter.
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Islander75
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 5:12 pm 
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lol thanks Ski.  Glad I made it to the choppah..
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Kim Brown
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 5:16 pm 
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Felt it so keenly in eastern WA once that I exited the trail quickly, after only about a mile. And my butt tingled all the way out.

Another time while hiking out in the dark the last mile of the Monogram Lake trail with my buddy Bob (everyone has a buddy named Bob), we felt something out there. Scared the bejeezus out of me. Then, after I got into my truck, as I was pulling my door shut, I dropped my keys into the road. Well just then, it was like living in a B-movie. I did NOT want to get out of the truck to retrieve the keys. But I had to.  Don’t think my butt didn’t tingle then. And when I reached down to grab the keys, it was just like, you know, living in one of those B movies. Because that's just when the murderer would nab me, quietly so my buddy Bob wouldn't know. My buddy Bob would sit on the passenger side and wait and wait for me to get back in the truck. He'd wait longer, then he'd hear something dripping on the roof of the truck. He'd get out to investigate.

And you know how that could have ended.

So yeah, I feel weird stuff in the dark

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Grannyhiker
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Took the wrong trail (actually an old road) in the Columbia Gorge once, and after about 40 minutes developed exactly that creepy feeling  My dog was unconcerned for a while.  But when he started acting nervous, too, I turned around and headed back the way I came.  I'll never know if there really was something out there or whether the dog only became nervous because I was.

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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treeswarper
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 5:41 pm 
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I used to be followed faithfully by this guy.

The regal, lab pose.
The regal, lab pose.

He had my back protected. 

While working in snow, on my way back to the truck, I saw big kitty prints in my foot prints.  Guess it was following me but I had no feeling of being followed.   (cue in creepy music)

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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BigBrunyon
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PostThu Feb 22, 2018 6:05 pm 
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That place is known to be haunted!

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RodF
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PostFri Feb 23, 2018 9:27 am 
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Islander, your autonomic nervous system may have unconsciously been gathering yet more sCientiFic eviDence for...
The Bigfoot Lawsuit Against California

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RichP
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PostFri Feb 23, 2018 1:10 pm 
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I had this feeling once while walking up the road to Bessemer on the Middle Fork. I never heard or saw anything but the feeling seemed real to me. I turned around and haven't been back since.
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Slide Alder Slayer
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PostFri Feb 23, 2018 1:14 pm 
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I've traveled solo for over 15 years, on and off trail , late at night and early AM getting to a site. What I had to remember is that the brain will try to make sense of what it does not understand seperate from reality. I was jumpy when I first went solo, especially in a bivy, but I soon realized my brain was creating false realities.

The one thing I am aware of is that sound travels differently in the night mountain air. What several posters have talked about I have experienced. Some of this is flushing small animals, I believe most of this is how sound travels and the mind trying to create a reality that makes sense. I've heard the same sounds, had the same concerns, but was able to rationalize there was nothing there that was a concern to me and continued on.
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