1. The hole of nightmares:
"Last year I went backpacking and I needed to take a shit. I started digging the hole (because that's what you're supposed to do when you shit in the middle of nowhere) and I UNEARTHED A FUCKING SNAKE. I ran away screaming and then cried into a friend's arms."
2. The first timer:
"I got my first period while camping. Thankfully I was staying in an RV so there was a toilet, but I had no supplies as I was not prepared. I was absolutely terrified that a bear would somehow smell me and come eat me."
3. The poisoned camping trip:
"I went on an 11th grade science trip up into the mountains. There was no water and we didn't pack any, the idea being we would collect, melt, and purify it. You're supposed to put in two drops of bleach to a regular sized bottle. I did not realize that my little bleach bottle had a crack, so when I did my two drops, a whole lot more went into my bottle. I ended up getting bleach poisoning, which is the worst abdominal pain you will ever experience."
4. The flashlight fire:
"I had just gotten a brand new phone. I was using the new phone as a flashlight to find sticks for the fire. I threw the sticks in the fire and realized my phone went too. As I was trying to figure out how to get it out the battery exploded. I have never and will never camp again."
5. The luck of the draw:
"One afternoon on a Girl Scout's camping trip, the leaders told us we got to go swimming in the large lake after lunch. Everyone got super excited and rushed quickly through their lunches, until the camp counselor pulled me and two other girls aside to do the dishes and clean up. We watched solemnly as all the other girls got to go swimming while we were stuck doing the dishes. It wasn't until about half an hour later that we heard the first scream — there were leeches in the lake! I watched from the kitchen for the next few hours as the crying girls slowly got the leeches plucked from all over their bodies."
6. The last weekend trip:
"My family and I would always camp up in Estes Park, CO, during long weekends. That all changed two summers ago, when my family somehow thought that setting up our SIX PERSON TENT right on the side of the water would work out justttt fine.
So in the middle of our first night, around 2 a.m., I feel cold, like really really cold. And you guessed it!! Four inches of water had filled up the bottom of our living quarters. We had leeches all over us as we scrambled outside. Then, our cars wouldn't start. TWO CARS WOULD NOT START on the same night at the exact same time. Needless to say, we changed weekend activities."
7. The scary daddy:
"When I was around nine, we went on our first camping trip as a family. All was going well until I was playing around the campsite, jumping from rock to rock, and I jumped into what appeared to be a writhing mass of daddy long legs about the size of a basketball. It scared the SHIT out of 9-year-old me when they all scattered, and I spent the rest of our weekend in tears, and refusing to leave the car. It took almost a decade and a ton of convincing before I ever went camping again."
8. The sticky situation:
"My family and I were around the camp fire, and we were roasting marshmallows. I was about 15 feet away from the fire collecting sticks when one of my brother's marshmallows caught fire. To put it out he waved the stick back and forth thus causing the flaming marshmallow to fly across the campsite and land directly on top of my head. My mom grabbed my hair and melting marshmallow in a split second and dragged me to the bathroom to get it out as quickly as possible. He never did apologize."
9. The spirit of camping:
"When I was studying abroad in Australia, we had a native immersion camping trip where we spent multiple days up by Broome with Aboriginal tour guides. They shared stories about spirits and their ability to take control of certain animals and torment them. On the last night, I was super uneasy and couldn't sleep...out of nowhere [I heard] blood curdling screams. My tent mate whipped around, we sat up and saw nobody else was awoken by what we heard.
We had been told that night that a bird taken over by an evil spirit sounded like a screaming woman, so we were scared out of our minds. We were kind of dismissed by people the rest of the night, but the next morning as we were heading to the airport one of the guides hugged my tentmate and told her "if anything follows you home, PRAY and contact me right away."
10. The unwelcome shade:
"We went to sleep in our tent, and then when we woke up in the morning, it still looked dark outside because there were shadows covering the tent. Turns out, the were more than 50 spiders covering the top of our tent??"
11. The sneaky visitor:
"I was at a Girl Scout camp once. When everyone was going to bed, there was a snake in my sleeping bag. I found that out by getting in the bag and having it slither up my body. To this day, I have an Indiana Jones-level fear of snakes."
12. The bloody mess:
"When I was in high school I was part of my school's ROTC program. We went camping once a year and my senior year I had to share a tent with two freshman cadets, one of whom was very squeamish. So in the middle of the night on our first night out there I'm awoken by the girl on my right and all she says is 'Sergeant, there's blood everywhere.' I immediately jump up and of course the girl had gotten a strong nose bleed and grabbed my uniform jacket to wipe it up. Meanwhile the other girl wakes up, catches wind, and starts panicking at the sight of the blood and won't stop screaming. The person on guard watch outside opens the tent and just sees three teenage girls; one crying her eyes out, one covered in blood and me in the middle trying to wipe the blood off my ruined uniform."
13. The night bite:
"Once when I was about seven or eight, I went camping with my dad. The morning after the first night, I woke up with a huge red, swollen knot on the left side of my abdomen with two puncture holes at the top of the bump. I went out to my dad, who would always wake up early to start the coffee and bacon on the fire, showed him the bump.
He just said, 'Looks like you either had a tarantula or a snake in your sleeping bag last night. You should probably shake it out tonight before you climb in.' Needless to say, I've taken that advice on every camping trip I've been on since then, but now I have a badass scar that looks like fang marks on my side."
14. The fire starter:
"My dad and I went camping up in the mountains in Colorado in July. We thought it would be warm enough to go, but there was still lots of snow on the ground. The first night got so cold I couldn't sleep so I decided to make a fire and cozy up by it and try to fall back asleep. I woke up to my dad screaming at me and pouring cold water all over me. Turns out you're not supposed to sleep that close to a fire because my sleeping bag had caught on fire and was up in flames. My bag was ruined and I spent the last few night sleeping in the truck."
15. The pecking order:
"My mom and I were camping by a large hill. I kept thinking I was hearing this weird sound off in the distance. It kept getting louder and louder, then these huge wild turkey suddenly began spilling over the hill! All these turkeys start charging and pecking me! I'm screaming and climbing up on the picnic table trying to get them away from me and my mom is just pointing and laughing. Eventually they dispersed but I could still hear them most of the day."
16. The childhood sting:
"When I was a kid I went camping with the family every summer. My sisters and I always loved finding a spot in the woods to set up our toys and play. Well one time we were running through the woods trying to find a good spot and ended up running over a nest of mud wasps. Next thing you know my parents have three screaming girls running back to camp covered in stings."
17. The bumpy ending:
"I have four older brothers, and the first time my parents took us all camping, my brothers decided to play a game of baseball. I was really short and quiet so they didn't notice me walking behind them, and when my oldest brother swung the bat it hit me in the center of my forehead. Three days in the hospital, fractured skull, and several concussions later, I still have a dent in my forehead. My parents never took us camping again."
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Some submissions have been lightly edited for length and/or clarity.