Below is a blog post I wrote a few years ago that I shared on another website that is now closed down. I decided to re-post my story regarding an unwanted later night visitor I had at my cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin. The post below was originally written in 2014.
In the past I have written about “Sterling Oaks”, the name given to the land and cabin that I own along with some family members, with much fondness. It is a great place. Clean, entirely off grid with solar power, gas and wood heat, and the basic comforts. No TV, no computer, barely get cell phone reception. It’s nice to have a place to go and be able to get away from it all. It is somewhat remotely located, off the beaten path so to speak, which gives it much of its charm in my eyes.
This time of year I spend much of my weekends up there, usually starting in late September through to February. I hunt and really enjoy being in the woods during the Autumn months more than any other time of year.
An Unwanted Late Night Visitor
Last weekend I was up alone doing some bow-hunting. Friday night, October 30th, it started to rain at about 10PM. That was when I decided to turn in for the night and checked to make sure all the doors were locked (I am a fanatic when it comes to locking doors).
Around 3AM I woke up from a peaceful slumber and began to toss and turn for a few minutes before deciding to go outside for some fresh air. I got out of bed, grabbed my LED flashlight, put on my shoes, and headed outside.
To get outside I have to unlock the main door and then step out into an enclosed porch. The enclosed porch has a heavy sliding door, also locked, that needs to be opened before stepping out onto a covered deck.
So after I get outside I wandered around the area between the cabin and my SUV, all within fifteen yards of the cabin’s covered deck. It was overcast, drizzling, and very dark. After shinning my flashlight into the woods a few times looking for glowing eyes of critters and not seeing any, I decided to head back inside before getting too damp.
Stepping back onto the covered deck is when I noticed something startling; There were wet boot prints on the deck planking. They went right up to the sliding glass door that led into the enclosed section of the cabin. I could see where I had walked over them as I walked across the deck, so they had been there when I walked out moments before. The foreign boot prints had stopped at the sliding door and looked like they had ‘shuffled’ there a few times before walking back the way they came and off the porch.
It was immediately obvious to me that somebody had been lurking outside my cabin very recently in the dark, and had been looking into the enclosed section of the porch where I kept a cooler and some hunting gear (backpack, camo hunting clothing, and a few other items of no real interest or value).
Timeline of Events:
- I was last outside that night around 7PM, the ground was dry and the deck planks were also dry.
- It started raining at around 10PM, and that’s when I turned in for the night.
- Around 3AM I woke up from a dead sleep. I tossed and turned for a few minutes, but felt restless and decided to go outside for some fresh night air.
- After a few minutes outside I was walking back onto the deck and noticed wet boot prints on the planking. Wet boot prints tracked by somebody who had been lurking around the outside of my cabin!
Yeah, I Was Freaked Out
Instantly I was alarmed and my heart started jack-hammering. I shined my flashlight back towards my SUV and noted the windows were not broken, then I went back inside the cabin locking the doors behind me. Then I went back to my bedroom and clicked off my flashlight and debated turning on some lights both inside and out. The cabin windows are high off the ground, but many of them do not have shades. So I knew if I turned on the lights that the person or persons outside would be able to see me easily within. I didn’t like the thought of that, so I decided to leave the lights off and considered calling the county sheriff to report a trespasser.
A part of me had the feeling that I was probably over reacting, and decided to wait and look around outside in the morning to see if anything was missing from around the cabin, and then call in and report trespassing and theft. After all, this has happened a few times over the past years in my neighborhood back home, where people had their cars broken into and things stolen because they hadn’t locked their doors. This to me seemed like a similar situation, except that the lurker also looked in the glass windows of the enclosed and locked porch.
Somebody Was Looking For An Easy Score
I’m sure that whomever had been out there was looking for a quick score on some hunting gear; bows and or guns. They were probably hoping my car was unlocked and there was gear to be found there, or perhaps on the enclosed section of the porch. I would think that most people with nefarious intent like that would not be so bold as to try and enter into a cabin in those particular woods. After all, the woods my cabin is located in has a few other cabins, and people who frequent them do so to hunt; the odds of the person or persons inside a cabin being armed is a high probability.
I couldn’t help but wonder if the reason I woke up was because I heard something out of the ordinary outside. Typically I do tend to be a light sleeper and wake up to unfamiliar sounds. The more I thought about that the more I believed that was indeed the case. I also began so suspect that the lurker or lurkers may have been outside hiding behind a wood pile watching and listening to me move about the yard in the dark.
The thought of that really creeps me out. Big time. I got more than a little annoyed thinking about it.
I never go to the cabin unarmed. Just a habit I have always had. So I laid there on my bed unable to sleep a wink with my 1911 loaded and close at hand. Luckily dawn came rather quickly. I kept myself busy since I couldn’t sleep by reading a book on my Kindle.
Once it was light outside I got up and went out for a look around the property. I didn’t see anything damaged or missing. Nor did I see any other tracks. I checked the dirt road but there was nothing. Whomever had been there was at least careful to an extent to where they walked as to not leave any signs of their presence behind… but stepping up onto the covered deck with wet boots was all it took to give them away, at least until their tracks dried up.
I of course report the incident to the County Sheriff.