Forest Expedition

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This happened in late October of 2017 in Southern California. After viewing a few forest stories here on YouTube I casually brought up some of the more interesting subjects discussed here with a friend from a gaming group. I knew he worked at the nearby forest but wasn’t sure of his actual job. He asked what I was really after and with some hesitation he agreed to share a few stories with me. I will try and keep things detailed when needed but brief because I was asked not to reveal the specifics of certain things.

I will call this friend Chris, a National Park Service Ranger. After a few face to face chats after gaming sessions and some text conversations on Instagram we met up on a cool Saturday morning by a trail head for a day’s worth of hiking and stories. Chris had brought a pack for me filled with food, water and a sleeping bag. We had previously discussed that I wouldn’t be able to take my phone with me for his fear of recording. I still brought it with me but had it turned off and handed it over to Chris for safe keeping in case of an emergency. I was fine with this in the hopes of hearing some good stories or seeing something unusual. I wasn’t let down.

As he strolled down the trail Chris immediately started into his story telling. Chris was a real no nonsense guy, he cut to the chase. “You know almost all that stuff is connected, right” Chris started. “I had my theories but figured it was something along those lines.” I said as I tried to keep up with him. I wasn’t sure what exactly he was talking about though. We had discussed everything from Bigfoot, UFOs, Strange Disappearances and even the ominous Stairs in the Woods. “Out here in nature, things are different from the city.” Chris said as he looked in my direction. I hadn’t really spent a lot of time outdoors so I had to rely on Chris’ experience here. He spoke again. “There’s a different kind of energy out here that kinda messes with people, ya know. In the city, all that concrete and metal blocks the energy from the earth.” Ok, now I started getting nervous. I had never heard Chris speak like this before. It was strange, it was like he was trying to explain some kind of religion to me.

We continued about 300 yards into the wilderness when we came upon a huge tree that looked like it was split by lighting ages ago. Chris had quit talking about all that “energy” stuff for a while and we kind of just walked in silence taking in the natural scenery. As we came up to the huge burnt tree, Chris looks back to me and says “Here’s where we go off the trail.” My heart began to race; I wasn’t sure about this but there was no turning back now. I wanted answers to all these things that I’ve obsessed over for years now. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just had to take a chance at finding out the truth.

The tall grass scrapped by my jeans as we began to walk deep into the vegetation. We had walked maybe 50 yards off the trail when Chris pointed to sky. A huge rock hill came into sight. “That’s where we’re headed. That’s where we will spend the night.” That’s when a huge wave of anxiety came over me. I wasn’t sure what it was I was suddenly not feeling great about this trip. “Can we take a break?” I said almost sounding out of breath. Chris smiled. “Sorry, I forget most people don’t walk this much in the forest.” We sat down on the earth and crack our packs fetching out water and granola bars. We had sat for about 10 min when Chris started again. “You ever wonder in all those Bigfoot videos, how he disappears so fast? That’s what I was wondered, I just never thought about it long enough I guess, I mean, long enough to figure it out.” Chris munched on his granola bar as if he said nothing at all, almost too calm. “I didn’t really think about that but I had heard a few theories about UFOs and Bigfoot being connected so I guess I kind of thought about it like that.” I said in puzzled voice. Chris let out a laugh and looked me straight in the eye. “That’s how you think too, huh? You figure a UFO just zaps up a Bigfoot? *chuckles* Why do they have to up?” He asked me point blank. “I don’t know, isn’t that how everything disappears? It has to go somewhere, right?” I said once again in a puzzled voice. “Well they can’t go down, right? They can’t just sink into the solid earth.” I said thinking about how exactly a Bigfoot would disappear. Chris looked up at the sky. “You never thought about moving sideways, huh?” I stopped chewing. “Sideways” I thought in my head. How does that even work? Then I remembered the last time I had heard that term. It was in relation to interdimensional travel, parallel universe travel.

“Whoa” Chris said. “I wish you could’ve seen your face just now. I bet it all comes together now, huh?” I sat in silence letting it sink in. “So Bigfoot disappears by UFOs going sideways through parallel dimensions?” I said in the most disturbed and questionable voice I could muster. Chris chuckled. “Sounds crazy when you say it like that, but that’s about right, from what I’ve seen.” Chris opened his bottle of water and took a big gulp as he started packing up. “And what exactly have you seen?” I muttered. “That’s what I’m going to show you.” Chris smiled and gave me a friendly slug to the arm. I looked back up to the rock hill and wondered what could be up there.

Walking through the dense woods took a lot of time. It wasn’t like a clear path that you can just walk freely though. I had to look at my feet nearly the whole time, watching were I stepped. It was ridiculous. I could easily see how people could get lost in here. Besides that, the tree roots almost jump up to trip you. This trek was the worst of the day. Getting to that rocky hill was a nightmare of its own. I felt like I would slip and fall to my death at any moment. Chris was my only saving grace, he made me feel like it would all be okay once we got to the top of the hill.

“We’re just about there.” Chris said with a smile. I could see the hill top only a few feet away. Just then we heard a loud whistle. “Shit.” Chris whispered under his breath. “Nice packs guys, where you guys from?” A voice rang out from our right side. I turned to see what I assumed was an old park ranger. He looked maybe 45 years old, taller white male with salt and pepper hair. He was in full uniform dress, unlike Chris. “Hey Bill, it’s just me and a buddy of mine.” Chris said bothered. “Damn, I barely recognized you, Chris.” Bill said looking us over. “You boys staying the night here?” Bill asked sternly. “It’s ok Bill, I got everything we need, we’re just getting some fresh air. Nothing else.” Chris was clearly bothered that Bill had come upon us here in the wilderness. I wasn’t sure why but Bill was being a bit nosey trying to figure out just why we were here. It didn’t seem like he believed anything we told him. Bill started towards Chris and they both walked off a way to talk privately. They talked about 10- 15 minutes and it seemed like Chris had calmed Bill down as he waved in my direction and walked off.

“Everything ok?” I asked Chris once Bill was out of view. He gave a smirk and said. “Sure, Bill is just an old timer. You know how those people can be, right?” I wasn’t sure if Bill had a problem with us being off the trail or if Bill was concerned about me knowing some of the secrets of the forest. “Does Bill know about this stuff?” Chris was quiet. “I guess you all know about it, huh?” Chris slowly shook his head in a yes. I assumed this was the kind of thing people don’t really talk about unless they have to talk about it. I realized how special of a place I was in but I also felt the danger I was in slowly creeping up on me. I was in the middle of the forest with no phone and with someone I barely knew. For all I knew Chris could have had a nice kill room set up on that rock hill just waiting for me. I knew Chris from playing D&D on the weekends but that was it. I didn’t know his family and he didn’t know mine. Things could go very wrong up here but I knew this was my only chance to get some answers even if it did kill me.

We finally reached the clearing on the rock hill at about noon. Chris had a small set up there. Well he had a fire pit complete with the big round rocks around the outside. We cleared a spot for the tent and began setting up. I gathered the firewood while Chris finished setting up the tent. I walked away back into the trees to find some dried out branches. It was more difficult than I thought it would be, most of the branches were still fresh and green. I was looking down at the branches when I heard a branch snap behind me. I jumped. Chris was clearly in front of me. I almost snapped my neck turning around. Just then the head of a dark silhouette peaked around a tree then quickly retreated. “Chris!” I shouted as an impulse, like I had no control of myself. Chris ran up beside me. “Hey now, let’s not try and bring any more attention to ourselves.” I looked into Chris’ eyes. “What did you see?” Chris asked. “I’m not sure.” I said as I looked at the tree were the silhouette hid. “It’s probably gone by now. Probably went sideways and disappeared.” I remembered to what Chris had said before about the Bigfoots and the UFOs. “So that’s how they leave? They just slide sideways and are gone? That doesn’t make sense, Chris.” Chris chuckled. “Yeah I know, it’s a different way of thinking than you’re used to. It’s about time I showed you something.” Chris began walking in another direction and I followed.

Silently we made our way to another clearing. Chris had stopped next to crude fence. “What does that look like to you?” Chris said looking down. On the ground was a work boot, similar to the ones Chris wears and next to it was a few bits of fabric. As I looked closer I could see that they were blue jean scraps. “Looks like someone lost a shoe, I guess” Chris looked unamused. “I saw it happen. I saw it take someone. The forest got real quiet like it does sometimes right before a storm and then there was this huge gust of wind and it just snatched him up, left his boot right there along with some of his jeans.” Chris looked somber and mad as he stared off into the wilderness trying not to tear up. “Who was he?” I asked even though I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. “Not really sure. A young guy. I had just walked up this hill to oversee the park and then it happened. Like another universe just like ours wiped him out and left this behind. I don’t know any other way to say it.” Chris breathed heavy. “I didn’t know what to do. I reported it to my supervisor and he didn’t care. Just said “well if he’s gone, he’s gone.” I couldn’t believe the Rangers would act like that but this happens a lot. Where they go we have no idea.” Chris looked at me as if he knew I didn’t believe him. I tried to imagine what I would do if I was in the situation, if I saw something that I couldn’t prove and no one would believe me. I felt sick to my stomach.

Chris walked back to our camp and I followed. I didn’t talk to Chris for a while, he still seemed upset about seeing that guy get taken. We sat on a log by the fire pit and just took in the evening as the sun set. We warmed some canned chili over the fire and ate while talking about a new game that would be coming out soon. I left the paranormal talk alone and decided just go into the tent and get some sleep. I had a slight fear that something may come in the night. I wasn’t sure but I assumed Chris wouldn’t have me out there if there was a chance something would happen to me. He said that the time the young man was taken and erased, that there was a storm coming in. I figured we were safe since the weather was clear for the next few days.

I awoke to Chris cooking some meat and potatoes over the fire pit. It was already day light. I felt more refreshed than ever and very hungry too. “Chris, did anything happen last night?” I asked still slightly sleepy. Chris let out a laugh. “Nah, you dozed off and slept like a baby all night. I wasn’t sure if you would ever wake up.” Chris handed me a bowl of the food and I quickly got to stuffing my face. I asked how much longer we would be out here and Chris assured me we were going to start heading back very soon. Chris helped me pack up the sleeping bags and the tent into our backpacks. We stirred the ashes of the fire with water to make sure it was out. We left the camp cleaner than how we found it and started back towards the trail head.

We started back towards the spot where the young man had vanished. I wasn’t sure if Chris was purposely going back to this spot for a reason or not. I wasn’t really sure where we were now in relation to the trail. It seemed like we just went in circles to tell you the truth. As we approached the clearing I heard Chris. He was a few yards ahead of me and just under his breath I heard him mutter. “Oh my God…Not now” I looked up and saw the most unusual sight. It made my heart jump and a sick feeling filled by stomach. There in a shining mist stood a pristine staircase, to nowhere. It was the most glorious thing I had ever seen. It was like heaven, so clean and bright. I began to move closer. “No! Don’t get too close!” Chris’ voice rang in my head but I continued to walk towards the stairs like I couldn’t stop myself. “Get back!” Chris yelled and then I felt him grab me by the back of my shirt. I shook my head and stared at the ground to try and get my bearings back. I blinked my eyes a few times and then in an instant I heard a slight groan or whimper and as I looked up Chris and the stairs were gone.

I gasped. I turned my head in every direction looking for both the stairs and Chris. I dropped to my knees and felt the worst anxiety ever. I was weak and terrified all over my whole body. I yelled out for Chris but was met with only silence. I couldn’t even hear birds or bugs. It was disturbingly quiet. I walked and walked through the brush. It took me over 2 hours to find a trail and even then it wasn’t the one I had remembered. I rushed along trying to find anyone who could help me. I stayed on the trail and eventually saw a park ranger vehicle.

I ran up to the vehicle and froze when I realized it was Bill. Devastated I couldn’t hide my shock and dismay. “Well Hey there, kid. Ain’t you the one that was up on that rock with Chris?” I didn’t even know what to say. “Yeah, that’s me.” I muttered. I paused for a bit and just said it. “Um, uh, Chris is gone.” I looked down after I spoke and tried to stay as calm as I could. I couldn’t see his face but I heard Bill speak. “Well where has he gone to?” Again I felt my anxiety whelming up and started to just spit out my story. “He just left, I didn’t see where he went, there were these stairs…” Bill grabbed my hand and stopped me from talking. “Get in the truck, kid. I’ll take you to the trailhead.”

I was scared to jump up in the truck but also scared about staying in the woods when I had no idea where I was and after just losing my friend in a matter of seconds. Bill talked to me the entire way to the trail head. Saying stuff like “Are you sure he didn’t just leave you there? I’m sure he is ok, probably just saw something he needed to take care of, you didn’t see stairs you had sunlight in your eyes and sweat. Happens to me all the time.” He was trying his damnedest to convince me that I didn’t see what I saw and that Chris was alright. Bill also had his phone out was texting someone back. I tried to see what he saying but the ride was just too bumpy to see his phone.

I sat quietly as we rode towards to trailhead. I just kept replaying everything in my head. Nothing seemed real to me. It was all just so crazy. As we pulled up to the trail head I saw a few other rangers there, they looked like they were waiting on us. “Hey Bill.” One Ranger yelled out. He was a big husky guy but looked like he was agile. “Is this the guy who was up there with Chris?” My heart sank, I wondered how many Rangers knew we were up there. “Yeah, we were just camping” I responded to the man. The man walked up to me and extended his hand. “I’m Davison.” He said. I shook his hand as I got out of the vehicle. “Don’t worry about Chris, we found him.” Davison pointed to another Ranger vehicle about 30 feet away. There wrapped in a heavy blanket was what looked like Chris. His face looked slightly different, more square than oval. He looked at me and gave a slight nod. I felt sick to my stomach. I had never felt so uneasy in all my life.

“So looks like everything is good here, you can just head on home.” Davison said. He smiled and held out his hand. It was my phone. I knew there was nothing on it but I was curious why he had it. “Did Chris give this to you?” I asked Davison. “Yup, sorry if it’s dirty, we found Chris neck deep in mud.” Davison laughed. I looked at “Chris” and couldn’t see a speck of mud on him. I shoved my phone in my pocket with one hand and took my keys out of my other pocket with my other hand. I had the feeling the Rangers just wanted me to leave. I looked over at “Chris” again and he just sat there staring. I walked up to my car and got in. I finally felt safe again. As I started up the car I looked in the rear view mirror to see all the Rangers staring at me as I left. I’m fairly sure one of them even followed me home. I opened my phone to see it was fully charged but it had been wiped, showing only the welcome screen. I was devastated, everything was gone. I immediately went in and went to bed in hopes of forgetting everything that happened. But when I awoke, everything was still crystal clear in my mind.

I’m not sure what happened that day in the woods. I’m not sure if that was really Chris, I never saw him again after that day. He never showed up to the gaming group again and no one there had heard from him. All his social media stopped and his phone number changed as well. Obviously there is no way of knowing who he really was and what became of him. I never had the nerve to go back to the woods or even ask the forest rangers about Chris. I just know one thing, I’ll never go into the woods, any woods ever again.

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