Ant with the win right there, A+! Insane story. Definitely one of those stories you want to tell people but you know they'll think you're nuts. It's pretty crazy, a grown man being afraid of an old woman, but given the circumstances, that is certainly terrifying.
I can't top it, but I've run into my share of weird things. Night riding solo is always an experience. I think twilight is the time that plays with your mind the most. I always tell myself that there is nothing to fear in the woods. There's no people out there, right. Any animals out here can't hurt me and they're gonna be trying to get out of my way. What's the worst thing that could happen? It's not like I'm going to see a dead body out here or anything.......DEAD BODY!!!!!!! Ah!!!! That's always when the log on the side of the trail looks like a dead body, giving you a huge blast of adrenaline.
I used to ride Freetown in southeast MA a lot, before it got chewed up by dirt bikes. I never knew the history of it (Indian legends, gang/drug murders, satanic cults..... http://www.masscrossroads.com/bristolfreetown) but loved how I could ride for hours and never see another person. Some of my buddies hated it, said it gave off a really weird vibe. That made me want to ride it more. I never experience anything like Antmav, but saw plenty of weird things. At one point on the Freetown map, there was a place marked 'pet cemetary'. This was deep in the forest, far from any paved roads. Buddy and I found ourselves there after a few hours of pedaling and went to check it out. As we approached it I got the sense something wasn't right. A bunch of the little headstones were tipped over. There were fresh piles of dirt all around. As we got closer we saw little coffins. Empty coffins. Ok, that was enough. At that point, we figured we wanted nothingh to do with any deranged individuals disturbed enough to be way out here spending their time with such bizarre activities. I hate Massachusetts satanists.
I've been lost in Freetown plenty of times. The place is huge and I'm often too stuborn to bring a map. I enjoy getting lost and finding my way out. A trail I was on once petered out into nothing and instead of backtracking, I decided to bushwhack to where I thought a trail might be. I soon find myself struggling through a nasty swamp, with very thick underbrush. I'd just seen the Blair Witch project and my mind was playing tricks on me and I kept thinnking I was seeing those weird little stick designs from the movie. It was mid winter and the late afternoon sun was sinking low. I was mentally preparing myself for a possible night stuck in the winter woods, missing a family function, with nobody having any idea where I was. With damp clothes, no emergency supplies, no lighter, this was either going to be a horrific night or my last night. The feeling of finding a trail as daylight was just about gone was unbelievable. Lesson learned, hopefully.
Another time I'd lost my sense of direction and came upon a pickup parked on the side of a dirt road. Someone was in it. Great. I'm out of water and out of food, so I'll swallow my pride and ask for the quickest way back to a road. I pull up and notice the person is taking a nap. Who takes a nap way out here? Well, I'm in a bit of a desperate situation so I tap on the window. Nothing. Tap again. Nothing. I start wrapping on the window and the person is not moving. This wasn't a biker, or hiker, or hunter. This person looked a bit off. I could see them breathing but they wouldn't wake up. I pounded on the roof, but then figured, this might not be the type of person I want to be dealing with, unless I was looking for some smack or a knife to the throat. I pedal off taking my chances of getting out on my own.
I know there's some other weird things I've seen in Freetown but my memory is a bit mushy these days. I do remember Buddy and I stopping at an intersection of some single track and a dirt road, taking a little breather. Soon we hear a car approaching. You don't see many cars out here, but sometimes hunters drive in for better access. But then we realize this car is screaming down the road and we can hear the tires spitting gravel everywhere. We decide to back way off the road and we soon see a pickup approaching. In it is a bunch of teens (those damn teenagers!). First thought is that they're just out in someone's car, messing around and driving like 17 year olds do. But as we watched the faces of the guys in the back of the truck go by, they didn't appear to be having fun. They were hanging on for their lives, looking terrified as their buddy put the pedal to the floor, speeding down this beat up road, way too fast to be safe. Weird. Why are they scared and driving so out of control? Then, we hear another car approaching. WTF? Now we back ourselves further into the woods off the trail. The next car comes spinning around the corner, pushing the limits of an old station wagon on a back road. We noticed a smashed out winshield as it gets closer. The driver is an older guy and his face is all bloody. This was not a happy looking and he was apparently hell bent on catching the kids. We just popped back deeper into the woods from there. I don't know who the good guys were here or who the bad guys were, but we really didn't have any interest in getting too involved. No idea what they did to him and no idea if he caught them, buut this certainly brings a strange vibe to a good Saturday afternoon ride.
Last one for now...Again, a solo trip down to Freetown. I decide that instead of parking at the main lot, I'll drive in to get some better access to the deeper areas of the forest. I park and I'm going through the motions of pumping up tires, etc, when I hear a car bombing towards me. I watch as it approaches and does a sweet Dukes of Hazard skid turn and it bangs a right as at very high speed. It looked to be some kind of under cover cop car. Soon another similar car flies down the same road, but this one stops where I am. An official looking type guy gets out and starts grilling me as to who I am, why I'm there, etc. WTF?!? REalizing I'm not a major threat, he explains that there is a felon on the loose in the area with a major man hunt in progress and I should vacate the area immediately. Huh? Uh, ok. No worries. As he drives off I contemplate my options. I just drove 45 min to get here, I'm already to go, and I'm pumped and jacked to ride. There are no options. I am riding, felons be damned. Soon I come across to other mtb'ers. I ask if they heard about the man hunt. They hadn't. I explain my run in with the cops and they seemed a bit freaked out as I pretended to be completely nonchalant. They decide to follow me around, which was fine by me. We never did come across the felon, but it was pretty cool to have the police copters buzzing over our heads, giving it a bit of a Hollywood feel. Ah, Freetown, my kinda town.
I'll save some bandwidth for anyone else with some stories for now.
(ps -Hey, in the trees - I think that might have been me cutting my hair.)