The listener is from Iowa and writes “I have been camping at a place called Preparation Canyon State Park, near Pisgah, IA in Monona County for about 7 years. It is a place I enjoy due to it’s solitude, nature, and beauty. These are hike-in only sites.
On Saturday September 17, 2022 I headed there for a one-night-only camp out, I do this with the intention of the next morning waking up at sunrise to read my bible. I set up camp on this beautiful late summer afternoon, gathered firewood, built a fire, sipped on wine and listened to a podcast until my phone died around 7:30 in the evening, the sun was going down, but there was still a glow in the sky, behind me was all dark – pitch black! I normally do go into my tent when it is dark and don’t come out until the sun starts coming up, but in the fall – it makes for a long night in the tent (oddly, I am scared of the dark in the forest – all noises scare me – coyotes especially) but on that night I decided to stay up and soak up the calm and beauty of the evening. I was watching the last bit of sun in the sky when I noticed what I can only identify as the sun pulsating, I thought it might be my eyes, I looked away and looked back, still pulsating in a very noticeable rhythm – at that point I decided to just go into my tent. The night was uneventful. I woke up early (I only had my sleeping bag, the ground was hard, and I had to pee) I waited for the first sliver of light before I decided to get out, potty and start collecting firewood to reignite my fire from the night before – I didn’t have a clock (dead phone), but I looked back to see what time sunrise was – it was about 6:45 am – absolute beautiful morning. My goal was to get a fire burning long enough and big enough that I could sit, read my bible and not have to worry about more firewood.
I remember even standing there listening to the morning birds and bugs, looking at the fog across the hills and thanking God for such a perfect morning. I was breaking sticks & building my fire. I was in camp with a long maxi sundress, and flip-flops – I had a long stick that I was going to try and break with my foot, the stick slipped and hit my big toe – OUCH! I was out there alone and decided to complain loudly – LOL- sounds dumb but I screamed, overreacted and cussed — I heard a single dog bark — the I heard what I can only describe as a giant, angry gorilla – building up into a rage — I’m bad with distance, but best guess, this noise was about 300 yards away from me – out near the trail. I stood in absolute FEAR, then I heard a rushing through the forest, in my head it was coming straight for me, the noise of rushing was compared to maybe a gigantic buck with massive antlers – busting every branch and every tree – but I never saw anything!!! Not a tree move, not a shadow – NOTHING – I’m not very good with time in this situation either, so best guess, this lasted maybe 3 minutes, and in those 3 minutes this creature must have made the gorilla sounds 3 times and rushed through the forest about 5 times. I was absolutely terrified. I don’t carry any weapons, I didn’t even have a spoon!!!! My only protection was my tent – everything after this point was emotions – I wanted to leave, I wanted to scream for help, I wanted to know what I was dealing with. The direction of the beast, was my way out – I packed up, and decided to leave after 2 hours of waiting and staring into to woods, – I heard another single dog bark right before I left the camp site, but from a different direction – I figured on the trail I would see downed trees and complete destruction of the forest – I saw nothing. It is about 3/4 miles back to the parking lot, I walked fast and saw not another soul. When I got to the parking lot I noticed more cars were there – 3 US Government Official mini vans – I got into my car and left!!!
Only after getting home did I start putting things together. My daughter, who is 24 was staying with me while her husband, a Marine, was away for drill. I was supposed to be home around 9am and help her bake some banana bread, I didn’t arrive home until 11:30 – when she asked me what happened – I told her. We searched animals in Iowa and didn’t come up with anything that could make that noise. I thought maybe a deer in rut, that does sound scary, but not what I heard and deer aren’t in rut in September.
I threw in the other weird things like the pulsating sun, the dog bark, and the US Govt vehicles because they were out of the ordinary – these things have never occurred before in my 7 years of camping there!”