What’s the Weirdest Thing You’ve Found on the Trail?

I enjoy hiking in forests for a ton of different reasons.

I often appreciate the solitude (especially when walking my super-reactive pooch), and I also find the exercise benefits the hills and rugged terrain provide appealing (sometimes).  

There’s also something to be said for the mental health benefits time in nature provides.

But the thing I like most about forests and natural habitats in general is the flora and fauna. I just love the natural world, and I’m usually able to find something interesting, noteworthy, or beautiful to enjoy anytime I hit the trail.

That said, I also tend to prefer hiking in forests when catching up with friends, as opposed to grabbing lunch or a drink.

And while I may occasionally observe something wonderful in the natural world on these hikes, my attention is generally focused on the human company. So, I don’t expect to see many unusual or weird things.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

B. Team
B. Team

I encountered what are ostensibly toe tags while trekking through the forest with a friend on this day. To be honest, it was my doggo who found them, but she’s a poor reader and didn’t grasp their actual weirdness.

Look, I don’t really know if these are real; fortunately, I’ve never had to see an actual toe tag. But if they aren’t real, someone went to quite a bit of trouble to make them look pretty darn authentic.    

Now, I’ve encountered plenty of strange things in forests at times.

I came upon a machete stuck in the side of a tree on a very busy urban trail. I found a dead carp stuck in a branch junction 5 feet above the ground. I’ve seen old signs swallowed by trees, rotted car carcasses miles from the nearest road, and glass bottles dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

For that matter, people traveling a well-known trail in the metro Atlanta area routinely see very strange things.

But these toe tags were hands-down the strangest things I’ve ever personally found in the forest.

And that leads me to wonder: What kind of weird stuff have you found?  Share your strange findings in the comments below, or just hit us up on Instagram if you’ve got photos.

A lifelong environmental educator and the former executive director of a 501(c)3 nature preserve, Ben has led more than 10,000 miles of guided nature hikes, authored more than 40 animal care books, and been profiled in a variety of media outlets, including local public television, Countyline Magazine, and Disney Radio. When not on the trail or in front of his computer, Ben can be found cooking for his lady or playing with his dogs.

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