I live in Burlington, Ontario, a nice lakeside city near Toronto. This story happened to me during a school trip when I was in eighth grade. At my elementary school, which by the way was Catholic, everyone in grade eight would get to go on two trips as part of their final year at the school. One trip took place in the fall and was usually a religious camping trip that took place about forty minutes out of the city. By religious, I mean everyone had to participate in group activities that revolved around being a good Christian and teamwork, etc. This, of course, completely sucked as this “camp” was little more than a religion class stretched to three days.
The second school trip always took place in the spring and was usually a trip to Ottawa for the weekend where we could explore the city and visit museums. For some reason, it was decided my year would instead take another camping trip (at a camp I will not name) about four hours away at Algonquin Provincial Park. The camp was on one of the many lakes in the park and was set up like your pretty typical summer camp. Cabins were spread out near the lake and partially in the forest and there were bathrooms and a mess hall in separate buildings. As you would guess, boys and girls shared separate cabins. The girls’ cabins were built on supports above the ground and were the ones closer to the lake. Our cabins were almost in the forest and built on the ground along a gravel road. I shared a larger cabin with about four other guys. Although our cabin was the largest, it was probably the least comforting. While the other cabins had actual windows and doors that would fully close and lock, our cabin looked like it was built from balsa wood, only had thin bug-screens for windows and a door that wouldn’t close. I should also point out that I had no experience with actual camping, as my family hates it, so this was a pretty bad first impression.
This is where the “creepy” story actually starts. On the first evening, we were all gathered outside the mess hall for a fun night activity. The camp counsellors told us about a hermit that lived in the nearby woods. The activity was that they were going to take us into the dark woods in groups to see where this hermit lived. This kind of caught us by surprise as it was quite random, but intriguing at the same time. As you would expect, everyone was pretty much screaming as we were led deeper into the woods with only our flashlights, looking for this hermit’s house. When we finally came across this “house”, which was little more than a huge log with a makeshift bed, we were led back to camp.
Although my group didn’t see anything, other people started talking about seeing someone creep around the dark woods. Someone in my cabin even said they saw blue, glowing eyes in the darkness. I shrugged it off, thinking the whole hermit story was made up by the camp to scare us, and the person in the woods was just a counsellor.
Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of someone sprinting down the gravel road that ran near our cabin. At first I was startled, and a little creeped out, but then I thought it might have just been an animal. That was, until, I started hearing the gravel crunch around our cabin. It was very soft, but definitely a person. I was suddenly terrified. My bed was right beside the door that didn’t lock. An animal could have easily pushed the door open on its own and walked inside if it wanted to. There was also nothing covering the screens, so the person outside could clearly see in. I was ready to scream as loud as possible if someone entered the cabin. I had my eyes locked on the door, anticipating to see it slowly open. But it never did. The sound outside slowly disappeared into the woods. Immediately, I thought it must have been the hermit. I ruled out the possibility of it being a counsellor or teacher because it was at least three in the morning, which was an odd time to check on students. Surprisingly, I was able to fall back asleep a short while later.
That was the only interesting part of the camping trip unfortunately. The rest of the trip was pretty dreadful. It rained non-stop for the remaining days and a few people from my class caught the flu from another school that was sharing the camp with us, so the bus was partially quarantined on the way back home.
As time passed, I mostly forgot about the creepy encounter, giving in to the possibility that it was just a counsellor checking on us. The story doesn’t end there though. The following year, it was my younger sister’s turn to go on the same eighth grade camping trip. Just like for my class, she also had to go on the weird hermit expedition during the first night. Although she initially thought nothing of it, during one of the other days when she and a few friends were exploring the woods along the lake, she described seeing a small hermit-like person sitting on a log in the distance.
I know this isn’t the scariest camping story to be told, but it creeps me out knowing that the hermit was indeed real, and that this camp thought it was “fun” to lead a bunch of kids to this random person’s house in the middle of the woods. The hermit also isn’t afraid to peek on unsuspecting campers in the dead of night.
It’s been almost ten years since this happened and I haven’t done anything camping related since.