Geographical Index > United States > California > Tulare County > Report # 6922
Submitted by witness R. D. on Friday, September 19, 2003.
Campers have rocks thrown at them near Mineral King
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COUNTY: Tulare County
LOCATION DETAILS: This was in the Sequoia National Park. All I can say for now is that on the way there, we passed a lake, then turned off onto a road into the woods. It took us a long time, we crossed a very old bridge, and the parking area we left our car at had marmot warnings. Apparently they eat into hoses or belts on the car. People had chicken wire and such to keep them out.
NEAREST TOWN: Mineral King
NEAREST ROAD: Mineral King Road
OBSERVED: In May or June of 2001, 3 friends of mine and I camped out near Mineral King at the top of a saddle between two mountain peaks. We camped in the woods,nowhere near a campsite of any kind-near no one else. We had hiked all day to get to that spot.
In the middle of the night-around 1AM I guess- huge rocks (sounded like boulders because we could hear flying debris when they hit) began to rain down around us. None of them seemed close enough to actually hit our tents-and I got up many times to see what could've done it. The geography or lay of the land around us was such that there werent any cliffs or anything like that to create the momentum necessary for such force. The other odd thing is that it went on for a few hours-maybe 3 then stopped. Another discomforting issue was that the whole way up and the whole time pitching camp and even the early evening it was quiet as could be. I never saw anything although on the side of our makeshift camping area I saw one deer-opposite from where the noise came from.
We thought of everything-ice cracking rock,dislodging rock fall-but couldnt answer the timing of it-nor the fact that there wasnt enough of a grade anywhere near us to cause such a thing.
In addition to the rocks-there were very loud cracking of branches. I cant remember if it was the large rocks hitting trees or if it was breaking of branches and large rocks seperately. I never heard any "screams" or anything-but something made alot of racket that night.
We were all terrified-and my friend has been an avid hiker who's hiked in different parts of the US and never experienced anything like this. As much as it made an impression on us-no one really likes to talk about it-nor did anyone have an answer.
Two of us mentioned that we should speak to a Park Ranger. Ive been meaning to contact one but I never got around to it. Your title made it easier for me, because I frankly don't know what to think. I can't imagine the force it would take to have rocks rain down around us like that-nor could I possibly justify to myself why it never happened ever around us all day-in the morning, nor early evening or after the incident. I've been interested in going back to that same location-but have fallen out of touch with the only friend willing.
OTHER WITNESSES: 4
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 1:00 a.m.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest.
Follow-up investigation report:
I talked with the witness by phone. The following details can be added to the report.
--Witness camps monthly and is very familiar with outdoor conditions and animals.
--Witness was further able to locate the area as being near Sawtooth Peak, around 12,000 feet in elevation.
--No other people were in the area, and all the friends he was with were accounted for. Doesn't believe anyone could throw rocks at them for three+ hours without getting tired.
--The area around the camp, in the direction where the stones were coming from, was sloped, but not so sloped that rocks would continually slide or move down it. In fact, it was sloped in such a manner than had a rock become naturally dislodged, it likely would have rolled a little and then come to a stop still on the hillside.
--Absolutely no rocks fell, rolled, or became dislodged during the day, so a "natural" explanation for the rocks being thrown isn't likely.
--One odd occurrence: while this was occurring, a deer stayed in their camp, between their tents. The deer didn't leave until the rock throwing stopped.
--Witness did not see any prints, did not smell anything, and had no other experiences while in the area.