Got your goat - Courtney Leigh Johnson

IMG_3141.JPG

After binge listening to Horror podcasts and The Dirtbag Diaries, Tales of Terror episodes all day, I decided to share a creepy story of my own.

IMG_3082.JPG

Some of you may know, this summer we took a mountain biking trip up to Oregon, Hood River specifically.  It had been a long time since I visited the Hood, and was excited to have a change from the scorching heat of the Salt Lake summer.  Exhausted from a long drive, we pulled into town and were greeted by a cool breeze, delicious pizza, and even more delicious beer, the makings of a great beginning to any biking trip.

We hung out in town for awhile, and even ran into a few friends of mine from Asheville, but as the sun started to set we knew it was time to find camp.  There is surprisingly little dispersed camping in the area, or at least our forest service maps and internet searching didn't come up with much.  Believe me, we looked.  I like to think we are pretty good dirtbag campers.  Jeff lived out of his truck for three years, hopping from dispersed site to dispersed site (gotta love those public lands).  That first night, we found a random place on a forest service road and settled in for a restful night sleep.

Usually, I don't sleep that well the first night of any camping trip.  I'm sure you can relate, the tossing, turning, waking up to every noise.  Was that a bear?!?  Nope, just Jeff farting in his sleep. Shit, coyotes?!?  Nope, just your sleeping bag rustling because you can't stay still.  Like I said, usually this is the case, but I slept soundly that night.  We woke up in what looked to be a logged field full of bees and headed to town for coffee.

IMG_3127.JPG

Good coffee, good breakfast, and great biking.  Hood River was giving us high fives and showing us a good time.  The day went by riding berms, driving through orchards, and looking at Mt. Hood.  Then it was time to find camp, again.  We decided to try a different spot, since logged forests were not really the views we were looking for, so we headed towards the giant volcano that loomed over town.

Our spirits were high.  As we drove up the winding road towards our possible camping options we ogled the towering evergreens, ferns, and overall beautiful scenery.  We were on our way to finding the perfect campsite, and the perfect (free) campsite is always down a dirt road.  

We passed a dirt road and then another.  Jeff turned the truck around and back to the first we went.  It wasn't long before the road narrowed and came to what looked like an old party site with garbage and clothes strewn about.  A little weird, but we decided to continue.  The road narrowed more and terminated at a small, mostly clean campsite complete with a beautiful view overlooking a little gorge.

IMG_3161.JPG

Done.  Yeah, the mess at the beginning was a little weird, but this is a great campsite.  We parked, unloaded a few things, including the dog, and took in the view.  Then, we decided to go check out the party site we had just passed.   Lots of garbage, not uncommon when you are in the land of free camping, but as we got closer, we noticed it wasn't just garbage.

Tossed a few feet into the woods was an entire bag of clothes, all kinds of clothes.  Not just the random dirty pair of tighty whiteys you occasionally find, or the lone sock left behind.  This was a lot of clothes, including little girls clothes.  I was weirded out, now.  We keep walking, more plastic garbage bags full of nothing.  Our neighbor camp was a little creepy.  We walked back to our safe oasis.

I took another look at the view, and felt a little better.  Jeff decided we should walk through our camp to see if the road connected, and if there were any other sites a little further away from the mess we just saw.  You know it was Friday night, we didn't want to get woken up by partiers, that's all.

Jeff walked ahead, away from me, and that's when I stumbled on it.  

Not twenty feet from the established fire ring, the skin, and legs, of what appeared to be a slaughtered sheep, or goat?  Something with white fur and hooves, and judging from the smell, freshly slaughtered.  Someone had brought a live hooved mammal way the fuck up in the mountains to this random campsite and slaughtered it.  There sure as hell weren't any sheep living in this area, and it wasn't a mountain goat.  WHAT....THE....FUCK.  I've seen enough horror movies to know how this one ends.  I'm out.

IMG_3114.JPG

Jeff came over and looked at the remains.  We didn't really discuss it much, we packed up and left.   

We drove for about forty minutes, passing several dirt roads with possible campsites, campsites we decided were just too close to the weird demonic worship site.  We finally found a place close to an established campground and far enough away from whatever that was we stumbled upon.  

We cooked dinner, took a walk, and talked about how fucked up that just was.  We knew we were in for a pretty rough night's sleep.  It didn't help that someone decided to start chopping wood (?) at 10:30 at night.  Loud, hacking chops echoing through the night.  Ugh.   It wasn't until that chopping stopped and the owls stopped calling, that we finally fell asleep, hoping for a better, less creepy tomorrow.

IMG_3108.JPG