Before we begin I would like to go over some back story..
I grew up in many different towns in Central and Southern California. I attribute this to my step-father. He was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from the early 2000's to the early 2010's. From ages seven to twelve I lived on a Marine Corps training base in the Mojave desert. Not far from the Yucca Valley National Park. I was ten years old at the time of this experience. The following story is true and I have other true stories regarding my time in the Mojave, if anyone is interested!
So here is my story..
Summers in the Mojave were as you would expect, HOT! Some summer days could reach up to 120°F. My step-dad was a low rank at this point in his career. So unfortunately we were given a low quality family home on base. This meant that vital appliances, i.e. air conditioners, constantly malfunctioned. Usually when this happened I could be found at the local public pool or exploring the miles of sand covered rocky hills that surround the base. This story happened on one such occasion.
I can't remember exactly, but I'd say it was around 110°F. The AC was broken and the repair company wasn't scheduled to fix our unit for another two days. Being inside the house did little to make the heat subside. Outside felt cooler with the occasional breeze flowing into my open bedroom window. I had planned to spend my day at the local pool, but unfortunately it was being sanitized. Apparently a group of teens thought it would be hilarious to throw dog poop into the pool. So needless to say, I was in hell.
I decided to go to my friend's house, we'll call him Parker, to see if he wanted to go explore. We did this together often. He said he would, but he needed to finish his chores first. When he finally finished we headed off to our usual hangout spot. It was a little playground about one hundred yards from a barbed wire fence that surround the base. We called it "home base".
I asked where he wanted to go. Knowing it would most likely be a place we had already been dozens of times before. He said "Well.. I have a secret place we can go. I found it the other day." I was excited. I replied "Heck yeah! Where is it?" Parker pointed to the barbed wire fence. I asked "Why are you pointing at the fence, there's no way we can climb that. The barbed wire would rip us apart." He chuckled, stood up, and motioned for me to follow.
When we reached the fence we walked about twenty yards to our left. In front of us stood two large sage bushs. They had grown out about three feet from the fence line. They measured about four feet high and had roughly two feet of room between the two. We walked to the opening and Parker pointed to a small hole at the bottom of the fence. The heavy rain from the previous week had washed away the sand from the bottom of the fence, making a small hole just big enough to fit your arm through.
We decided we would dig under the fence so we could squeeze through and explore the running trail that was just on the other side. We had seen many people running the trail before. So we dug. About an hour later we had made the hole big enough to fit through. We agreed not to venture to far because we didn't know the area and it was getting later in the evening. With that we squeezed through and popped out the other side.
We began our walk down the trail. Occasionally stopping to make sure drones weren't flying overhead, watching us. Which is hilarious looking back. A paranoid adolescent mind will make up some crazy things. Anyway, we were about ten minutes into our walk when I spotted something next to a large rock on a hill just off the trail to our right. The hill was about a half mile ahead of us. The bright sun was glaring off of something. It was about a foot above the ground just to the bottom right of the large rock. I pointed it out to Parker. He insisted that we go investigate. I was hesitant, I wasn't comfortable going off the trail. With a few convincing words and a bit of peer pressure I reluctantly agreed.
We started our way towards the hill. I stopped for a moment when I noticed the glare had disappeared. I asked Parker "Did you see that? It's gone." Then suddenly the glare reappeared. Parker said "Yeah hurry up, we are almost there." We continued to walk when we heard an all to familiar sound. The sound of helicopter rotors. We instantly dropped to the sand. My heart was racing. I was sure the MP's had some how found out we dug a hole under the fence and left base. We couldn't tell immediately where the helicopter was, but Parker pointed out the small black dot far above the hill we were heading towards. Meanwhile the glare had once again disappeared.
We laid on the ground for roughly sixty seconds when suddenly we saw something large stand up from where we last saw the glare. It was a large man. We still had a bit of distance between us and the hill so I could only roughly make out his height and clothing. No facial features. He stood approximately 6 feet 4 inches tall and wore a army green jumpsuit. He stood in place for only a few moments before turning around and running down the hill in the direction of the incoming helicopter.
We continued to lay still for a few more minutes until the helicopter flew overhead of us and off into the direction of base. We slowly stood up and debated our next move. Parker insisted we continue and see where the man had gone, but I wanted to head back home. The fact that a random guy was out here with us made me anxious. Again, peer pressure took over my rational thinking and before I knew it we were ascending the hill. We reached the top and my anxiety grew at what we discovered.
The first thing I noticed was a large outline of where the man had been laying molded into the sand. Next to the outline was a medium sized duffle bag and sitting on top of the duffle bag was a pair of binoculars. This had been the glare we had seen. It also explained why it would occasionally disappear and reappear. This man had been watching us. My stomach filled with anxious butterflies and I told Parker I wanted to leave. Now.
He agreed, but before we could start our decent down the hill I noticed something moving in the direction the man had ran. It was the man. He was at the bottom of the hill. Just staring at us. I stood in shock. I could see him clearly now. He had long grey unkempt facial hair and had dirt all over his face. He then did something that made me almost cry with fear. He slowly raised his left index finger to his to his mouth and made the shhh motion with his lips. That was it. I was done. I ran off in the direction of base. Parker close behind. We made it back to home base and vowed to never go there again.
We never told anyone in fear of getting into trouble for leaving such a stupid decision. To this day Parker and I talk about the situation occasionally. Who was he? Why was he watching us? Why did he run? Was he scared of the helicopter? All these questions are fun to think about now, but I'm glad I never got the answers.