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There is a thread about "creepy stories in the woods" so I thought I'd start my own, and hope it takes off like the a fore mentioned thread.

When I was 12 I was in a wilderness program "SUWS" School of urban wilderness survival, it was a treatment center for troubled kids.

One day I was answering natures call in a sage bush. It was near a stream that fed beautiful willows, some light bamboo, and countless grasses. It was a little paradise. There were food stuffs all around, I think chives, I know watercress and cattail. We weren't allowed there often, because the place was truly magical. One couldn't work on hard personal issues there, it was just to happy. You could sit in the shade and just exist for hours on end. I believe Captain Kirk called it the "Tahiti syndrome." It was so lovely it was dangerous.
I digress. I went into the bushes and started to accomplish my goal in journeying from my oasis. I hear a rustling from a bush and see it move. I figure it's a member of my group following my lead, so to speak, and I call out letting them know I'm there. I here nothing for a moment until a bush a little closer rustles. I guess it's a rabbit or a mouse running through the bushes So I do nothing. Next time I hear a sound it's the patter of paw prints about ten yards away. I look over and there is a big old wolf sitting down staring at me. I freeze, completely. I stand trying not to stare at it, but I do. It comes closer, 5 yards maybe. I stay still, a second passes. It comes closer. It's at my feet. Staring up at me. It moves it's snout to my hand. I scratch it's ears tentatively, I'm not scared anymore, I know he's a kindred spirit some how. I just know.
He sits with me for a minute, then he hears something, and runs off. I walked out of the bushes and tell the staff leader : "Hey Seaver, theres a wolf out there!"
He says, "Naw it's probably just a rabbit or something!"
I say "Seaver, theres a wolf out here."
He walks over to the bushes where I am and sees the wolf now perched on a hill side.
He looks at me and says "Hey Ben! Theres a wolf out here!"
I left for "Solo" that night. Basically 3 days of introspection prior to going home or moving on. I moved to another program in Utah. My family and I took a week and toured the states we traveled through. Seven days.
Later on a member of my group from SUWS comes to the program I'm attending.
Months into his stay, we sit and talk. "Hey Ben, remember that wolf on your last day?"
"Yes I do."
"It followed us for 7 days"
7 days, the same amount of time it took me to transition to my next program.
I still see that wolf. He comes to me in dreams at times of great upheaval or need in my life. I hope he lived his life out and had many a litter of pups.
 

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Bennetfox, Quite an experience!

My beauty in nature is not at that level but still pretty awesome, I think.

I saw the northern lights while visiting a remote weekend retreat in Michigan. Brilliant turquoise color, outshone the stars.

Not being a poet, the description that popped in my head was "celestial draperies gently blowing in a cosmic breeze." Not really the best description but that was exactly what it looked like to me.

I was transfixed by the heavenly sight and stood staring until my neck creaked.

That memory is as clear today was it was 30 years ago.
 

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Northern Lights
Waking up from a nap in a herd of elk
Seeing a wolverine
Large herds of antelope crossing in front of the truck
Large herds of wild horses
Families of grizzly bears
Alpen glow on big mountains
The Yukon Territory
Nature is my religion.
Large pod of orcas from a boat
There are plenty of stories that go with experiences like these, and they are what has made my life worth living.
 

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Maybe not so much beauty as a reminder not to take myself too seriously. Near where I lived was a dam surrounded by mature trees and some rose hip brambles that was one of my favorite thinking places, just sit under a tree, watch the water and water critters and get my head straight. Also worth a look for wabbits, the occassional hare and many magpies that got the treatment around dusk when I was in the mood.

I'd seen a hare hanging around the rose patches and thought to introduce him to my Gamo air rifle, a 15 meter or less shot should be do-able. Right on the witching hour I'm doing my best slow sneak and looking hard, it's not uncommon to walk right up on some hares before they bolt. A tiny rustle in a patch of long grass dead ahead and I freeze. Rustle again, something is moving. Keep my freeze and await development. The rustle moves closer, if there was an orchestra it would be playing spooky build-up music right about now. I keep perfectly still.

Right under the barrel of the air rifle, a half grown hedgehog snuffles out from under a scrap of rose bramble and shuffles up to my feet. I'm wearing camo pants and sneakers with no socks, the hedgehog proceeds to lick my ankles, both of them, for maybe a minute. Hedgehogs have quite long thin tongues. Then he remembered he had something else to do and shuffled off.

Hail the Great White Hunter! I have a chuckle and pack up for the night.
 

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Infantry blue

On perimeter in patrol bases in unfriendly places, looking through an NVD or just into blackness as the darkness turns to pre-dawn. The skylight grows to infantry blue, and eventually the great Heat Tab in the Sky returns. It renews me every time I see the blue, even now as a civilian.
 

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Semper Gumby
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When I was 14 around the Spring Equinox up the Las Animas canyon from Durango, CO a moonless midnight, I saw the full Milky Way across what seemed like half the sky. The glorious beauty of the sight made my heart hurt in my chest. I stared up at it until my eyes watered. I remember thinking that I must drink this in because it must become a part of me forever.

While hiking in the High Country above Empire, CO the summer of '70, I was separated (only just) from my small party for just a few moments when I looked around at my surroundings. I had entered a magical forest glade that had the feel of a natural cathedral. I was almost afraid to breathe to not disturb the moment. It was one of those eternity in a heart beat kind of feelings.

Every time I'm out in the woods, I have a bit of the same feeling.
 

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A beaver dam across a bog in fall, when everything is in full bloom. The multi-tiered bog a showing the full spectrum of colors, with a forest green backdrop.
 

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Being alone on a small 500MX500M island with 4 foot waves crashing all around....knowing you have the day all to yourself, because there is no way any boats are coming here today, and there nearest person is 25Km away.
 

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Military MOM
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Every time I go outside, I find beauty in Nature. Whether in the wild, or on the side of the road in a city.
My favorite, Montana in the pitch black in the mountains looking at the edge of the Milky Way!
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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The first time I was sailing my boat at night with a bright moon reflecting on the little waves in a long line toward the horizon. And the gentle warm wind slowly moving me along. Thousands of stars. I felt the rhythm of the Universe and a feeling of love for the Earth.
 

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The first time I was sailing my boat at night with a bright moon reflecting on the little waves in a long line toward the horizon. And the gentle warm wind slowly moving me along. Thousands of stars. I felt the rhythm of the Universe and a feeling of love for the Earth.
This sounds amazing.
Silence, peace, thoughts about the eternal and beauty of environment.
 

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I was a 16 year old Life Scout at Philmont High Adventure Ranch. We hiked 114 miles over 10 days. It was life changing at that age. One of our last nights, we all decided to ditch our tents and sleep under the stars. For some reason, in the middle of the night, I awoke to the moon taking up half the sky (I understand this isn't possible...but that's how I remember it.) I thought about waking up my crew mates to let them in on this spectacular view, only to find that everyone was already quietly enjoying it. We had all woken up on our own and were quietly enjoying the heavens above. The moon was huge, the milky way was clear...it made me feel huge and small at the same time. It was truly beautiful.
 

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Sheepdog
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In the cold months I'll take the mile walk to my tree stand, not to always hunt mind you, but there's something amazing about sitting in a tree stand in the early hours of morning, frost and snow on the trees and ground, all is silent aside from the cold breeze rustling the trees. I look up and see millions of stars, twinkling so brightly, I feel so small and in awe when I see them. I sit and just watch, after a while the sun begins to rise, bursts of red, yellow, and orange shine over the horizon, causing the frost to shine and glimmer. Soon squirrels come out of hiding, begin to forage and play. All is right with the world.
 

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This past weekend, I was part of a BSA hiking trip in the Adirondack Mountains of NY. We climbed Algonquin [5000'+], the 2nd highest peak in NY. When we got to the top it was about 35-degrees with about 50 mph winds and stinging rain. And there in the beautiful arctic alpine tundra ecosystem that covers the summit stood a lone raven. He was soaked, wind-swept, and grounded by the weather. He didn't seem too concerned with us. Say what you like, but ravens are truly majestic. NOT the flying rats many would make them out to be. A beautiful and amazing shared moment with an amazing species.
 

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Driving due north on the Haines Highway across the Yukon Territory past Lake LeBarge, the Northern Lights were in all their glory. I stayed up till 0300 and them pulled over to sleep. The next day we saw 100 Dall sheep at Sheep Mountain and then met some Athabascan Indians dying their salmon catch for winter.
 

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In the Santa Ynez mountains with my daughter, watching the fog rolling in from the ocean. It piled up against the mountains getting deeper and deeper - like an ocean of clouds stretching out as far as you could see - until it reached the saddles between the mountains and started flowing over like waterfalls of clouds into the Santa Ynez River valley.
 
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