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Ever since I was nine years old, my dad and I did a camping trip on the Rocky Mountains in the northern part of Colorado. We would hike up the mountains with our tent, canoe, and other necessities, and camp in the area of Spruce Lake. On this trip we would just get away from real life and relax for a week. Dad and I would fish, canoe, swim, hike, and overall just enjoy each other’s company. It was a vacation that my dad needed every year. He worked hard to support us, it was just us two. He had two jobs that he worked everyday during the week. It was hard on him physically and mentally. They were both labor jobs, so he was exhausted all the time. He also didn’t get much time to see me, and I knew it killed him. But he needed what he needed to do to give me a good life. That was why this trip was so important, because it gave us a week of bonding with each other and the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, this would be the last year that him and I ever went…
The hike up to the spot we camped at was one of the best parts of the trip. The trail gave view to the vast array of trees that seemed to never end. No matter what type they were, they were all beautiful green and stood tall like skyscrapers. They covered every part of the mountains that wasn’t already taken by the lakes and rivers. Along with the trees, the wildlife was amazing too. We saw all different types of birds such as the White-tailed Ptarmigan, the Gray Jay, and the Mountain Chickadee. Every bird flew past us with excitement, like there was something new to discover everyday for them in the never ending land of the Rockies.
When we got to our campsite, the lake looked beautiful as ever. It was calm as could be with jet blue water that sparkled in the sunlight. I couldn’t wait to set up my lawn chair on the beach and send out a cast to bring in some fish. As we set the canoe down, dad and I went to a clear spot away from the sandy beach closer to the trees to pitch our tent. As we walked over to our spot, we noticed something strange in the ground.
“Do you see this dad?” I asked pointing at the ground with a puzzled look on my face. My dad noticed them also. His expression matched mine.
“They look like… footprints.” he replied to me. We examined them for a bit. They did look like footprints, but they were enormous, about three feet long. From the heel up to where the toes should be, the prints looked normal, other than their gigantic size. However, instead of short stubby toe prints, the toes were long and pointy, four of them on each footprint about six to seven inches each. We looked around to see where the other footprints were. They were hard to track because whatever these belonged to took huge steps. But we were able to see that they came from the edge of the water on the left side of the beach, up to where we wanted to set our tent up, and then back to the edge of the water on the right side of the beach. In total, it looked like the thing, whatever it was, took six steps.
“What do you think dad?” I asked with a frightened tone to my voice.
“Listen bud, I know these look scary, but there are no way these are real. It had to be a prank by the last people that stayed here or something.” His skeptical answer was a familiar one. According to him, everything had a logical answer.
“I don’t know about that dad. Who would go through the trouble of doing this? And how did they make these so perfect? Each footprint looks exactly the same and are exactly the same size,” I questionably replied to him. I was pretty scared at this point and almost wanted to leave.
“Look son, it’s nothing. I promise, this is just something stupid. Let’s set up the tent and then throw a couple lines in the water and see if we can’t catch something out of this lake. What do you say?”
Fishing did sound fun. I wanted to get my mind off those footprints anyway. “Okay dad, that sounds good.”
We got our tent set up and then preceded to casting into the lake. I got a few bites, but I wasn’t able to hook up, while dad got no action at all. After a half hour or so, he had a grumpy look on his face and looked extremely bored.
“I’m gonna get a fire going and start cooking us some dinner. Any preference?” He asked me.
“No, just whatever you’re feeling. If things keep up this way, I’ll be providing the real food for the trip!” I sent out another cast and started reeling.
“Oh please, Mr. Bigshot, you haven’t even pulled in a fish. A few nibbles doesn’t count for anything,” he replied with a giggle.
“Oh, you just wait, I’ll catch us something big soon.”
As dad headed away from the water, two men appeared from the woods. They were average size guys in what looked like their mid-forties. One had scraggly brown hair and full fire red beard. The other one was bald with a soul patch.
“Howdy fellas,” Soul patch greeted. “How you two doing?”
“Pretty well, how about yourselves?” My dad replied to him. He walked over to both of them and shook their hands. “My name’s Jack.”
“My name is Roger,” Soul patch told him. He gave full beard a nudge, “and this is Arnold.” He gave him a nod and then turned his head away and spit out some tobacco spit.
“You guys doing a little camping?” My dad asked them.
“Sure are,” Arnold answered, spitting more tobacco.
“We just wanted to say hi and get to meet you guys. We’re just back on the trail a bit on the other side of those trees.” Roger pointed to where the woods stick all the way out to the water and divided the beach. “We always check over here to see if people are camping. One time a family was stayin’ where you all were. We decided to do a little hiking and came over to check out this side of the beach. We nearly scared them half to death, thought the father was gonna hack us up with his knife. Anyways, we don’t like to scare people, so just lettin’ you all know we’re here.”
“Well that’s good to know. Tomorrow you guys should come over and hang out. We would enjoy the company,” Offered my dad. He gave them a nod of approval as if to say we were friendly enough.
“Yeah, you know what Jack, that sounds good. We’ll do that.” Roger replied excitedly. He then glanced over at me. “Oh sorry, we didn’t catch your son’s name.” Dad glanced over at me and then motioned his head toward them. I got up off the chair and came over to where they were all standing.
“I’m Dave,” I said, extending my hand out to shake theirs. “Sorry, I was just a little distracted with fishing.”
“That’s quite alright my man,” Arnold reassured me. “We’re gonna go get set up and cook some dinner, we’ll see you all tomorrow then?”
“Sure thing,” my dad answered. They started to turn around when they glanced toward the water and saw what both my dad and me had forgotten about. A look of confusion came upon their faces. They glanced at each other and than looked at us.
“What in the hell are those?” Roger’s puzzled self asked us. They both ran over to the footprints and studied them enthusiastically. “I’ve never seen anything like these before. They’re crazy!”
“Yah, we were confused too. We just think it was some stupid hoax or something,” my dad responded.
“Not what I think,” I told myself.
“Wow, we’ll have to snap some pictures of these. See you guys tomorrow!” Arnold said. And with that, they were gone. My dad went back to getting the fire going and I went back to unsuccessfully fishing.
After eating dinner and then coating ourselves with a good layer of bug spray (they were awful at night), we decided to sit on the beach and watch the sunset. The sun setting behind the mountains was an amazing sight. The vivid color in the sky was astounding. The blending of the orange and red from the sun created a beautiful purple lining just above the setting sun. I didn’t get to see purple in the sky except when I was in the mountains. When the sun finally set, all we were able to see were the twinkling of stars in the sky.
“How about a nighttime canoe ride?” My dad asked me. I gave him a quick nod of eagerness. We went and dragged the canoe to the water and hopped in. We began paddling out into the water. It was calm as could be, a perfect night for canoeing on the water.
“You know Dave, you’re almost sixteen. We have to start looking for a car for you bud,” he said to me. I was surprised that he brought this up.
“Dad, I know that things are tight, they always have been. You don’t have to shell out money for a car. I can manage,” I said. “Just knowing that you’ve been even considering it makes me happy.”
“Haha, yeah right buddy. My dad bought me a car and I’m going to do the same for you. I’ve been saving up, we’ll be able to get you something decent that runs.”
I started to glow as a grin appeared on my face. “Are you serious dad? I don’t want you to over extend yourself.”
“We’ll more than manage, don’t worry about it. Besides, you’ll be getting a job when you turn sixteen. You’re going to need something to get you to and from home.”
I honestly didn’t think he’d be getting me a car. I was so excited, the cars I’ve always wanted started racing through my head. But then my thoughts were interrupted with what would start the horror for our trip. There was all of a sudden a flash of light, like a camera flash, except it covered the whole sky. It was completely blinding, my eyes burned and started to tear up. I closed my eyes and shielded my face with my hands. The flash lingered in the sky for about a minute and then finally dissipated.
“Dad, what’s going on?!?” I was completely shocked and terrified.
“I have no idea,” my dad said. His voice was monotone. He was more shocked than I was, just staring at the sky trying to figure out what it was. I could see him thinking, trying to make sense of what just happened. I couldn’t think of a single thing that could’ve done that. What would cause the whole sky to flash that bright? It seemed like he couldn’t think of anything either. “Let’s get back to shore,” he said. There was panic in his voice. We started hurriedly paddling back. As soon as we got on land we dragged the canoe onto the beach. As we set it down in place, there was another flash in the sky. I again closed my eyes and shielded my face.
“Dad!” I frantically shouted. Now I was completely horrified. My heart was racing, I wanted to be gone.
“Let’s get in the tent,” my dad said. He seemed just as panicked as I was.
“No Dad! I want to leave, please can we go?” I hysterically asked.
“We can’t leave here in the dark. It’s not a straight shot back to the car. We’ll be hiking all night and probably get lost, too many divides in the trail,” he replied. I was glad he was thinking critically. “Let’s get in the tent.”
He unzipped the tent and let me in, then followed in behind me. He zipped it up and we just sat there, puzzled by what had just happened. We got in our sleeping bags. I put mine all the way up to my chin, trying to disappear from the situation. A third flash then happened. I put my head all the way under the sleeping bag. I was breathing heavy and starting to sweat.
“Just relax bud, close your eyes and try and fall asleep,” my dad said trying to comfort me. There was no falling asleep right now, that was for sure.
Things remained quiet after the third flash. We sat there for a few minutes not moving an inch. The only thing we could hear was my panicky deep breathing. Then all of a sudden, we could hear something outside. It seemed like…steps, like someone was walking slowly toward our tent. It sounded like there were two people walking, except when they walked, it sounded like they were pounding their feet on the ground.
“Stay there, don’t move a muscle,” my dad commanded me. He slowly got up and pulled down a flap that allowed him to look outside. He stared for a moment. Then I saw a look in his face that I only hope to see once in my life. His eyes got as wide as they could and his jaw dropped. He was locked in a gaze that he seemed to not be able to escape from. Peer horror was displayed on his face. He just sat there, staring.
“Dad?” I asked. “Dad, what is it?”
He jolted his head a little bit and came back to reality. “Quiet!” He ordered. He was talking in a whisper now. “Don’t move at all.” He closed the flap and, as slowly as he could, scooted back to where I was. The footsteps were getting closer. My heart was still pounding. All my hairs stood up on my body. Sweat continued to drip off of me. I was frozen. All I could do was listen to the steps, the hammering steps coming to our tent. They stopped in front of us. The tent then began to slowly unzip. My dad grabbed me in his arms, protecting his only child. The tent wasn’t fully unzipped, but I was able to see what was staring in at us. I will never forget the image that was burned in my head that night. It was not human. The things eyes were maize yellow and massive. From what I could see of his face, it was scaly and as green as the forest trees. Its breathing was wheezy, as if it had a permanent amount of phlegm in its lungs. Tears began to form in my eyes and I could feel myself start to urinate.
“Please,” my dad said to it. “He’s still a boy, my only boy. Don’t do anything,” he continued to plead. It just continued to stare. Then it turned away and we were able to hear it and the second one walk away. The pounding of their feet eventually started to fade. Then there was another flash of light. We sat in silence after that, not able to sleep at all. We were petrified and had no idea what to do. All we were able to do was wait.
Eventually the sun came up. As soon as that happened, we packed everything up and took off.
“We have to talk to Roger and Arnold, see if they saw anything,” my dad said to me.
“No, dad, no! Can we just leave, please, we have to go!” I begged him. He had nothing of it and we walked to their campsite. It wasn’t far at all. When we got there, all their stuff was around. They had pots and pans out along with some fishing poles and a couple canteens of water. However, they were nowhere to be seen. “They’re probably hiking dad, let’s go, please!”
“Why would they hike without their canteens?” Dad questioned to himself. That made me even more terrified. We hiked back to our car and took off. I had asked my dad if we should report it, but he said no one would believe us. We agreed to never go back there again.
A week or so after we got home, dad and I were watching the news. The first news report was of two missing hikers. We became petrified when we saw the pictures and the names below it. It was of George and Arnold. The police or park rangers never questioned us. Later in the broadcast, there was a story about strange objects being seen flying in the Rocky Mountains area. We never spoke of the incident at all again.
Written by Willythekid30303