My fiancé and I enjoy hiking, which means we spend a good amount of time out in the woods. Since we live in Upstate New York, one of our favorite places to go is into the Finger Lakes. With hundreds of miles of rolling hills, trails, and campsites, we’re constantly exploring the area.
Some hiking experiences are more memorable than others, like camping in Alaska and watching a thunderstorm blow through while we stayed in a lean-to. But perhaps the most memorable camping trip we’ve had is the time we saw a UFO.
Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear. I’m not saying we had an alien encounter. I’m also not saying we didn’t. We saw an unidentified flying object- a UFO.
We were camping on the southern end of Canandaigua Lake. It wasn’t a long hike in, less than a mile, and we were rewarded with complete seclusion and a picturesque campsite. We had a small but well-maintained lean-to surrounded by a forest of young trees and a little pond with a grassy field. It was late afternoon when we arrived, so we unpacked our sleeping gear, lit up a joint, and started to prepare for dinner.
After we ate a dinner hastily cooked over the open fire, we settled in for the night and broke out the edibles we brought. Each of us had our own brownie and they were quickly devoured. We spend the rest of the evening peacefully; exploring the grounds around our site, gathering firewood, and relaxing. The sky was growing darker with each passing moment and it promised to be an exceptional night for stargazing.
Hiking in the summer in upstate New York means dealing with pressing humidity and the constant threat of rain. Typically when we hike, the cloud cover is too thick to see any stars come out. After several disappointing nights in a row last year, I vowed that we would start camping earlier in the season to beat the worst of the rain.
We were elated to finally be out on a clear night, and we sat entranced as the stars slowly made their appearance, each one arriving faintly at first and growing brighter. The moon was in it’s waxing phase, just a small sliver of silver, so the night quickly grew dark. It was the kind of dark you can only get in the country, devoid of light pollution and municipal electric.
We lay on our backs on the sleeping pad, which we had brought down in front of the fire. There was a gap in the trees beyond the pond that provided the perfect framing for the stars. We were not talking, but the night was far from silent with the crackle of the fire, the calls of the birds, and a cacophony of frogs announcing themselves around the pond’s edge. As the stars grew brighter, the occasional plane sped past.
We lay like this for a while, watching the stars and the blinking lights fly by. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t register at first, the blinking light that grew brighter as it sped towards us. I thought it was just another plane, too big and too close to a satellite. But still this light came closer and closer, silently and quickly.
It only registered that this was not a plane when the light stopped above the tree line. It was still a distance from us, both on the other side of the field and high in the air. But it was unmistakable, hovering above the trees and blinking in a slow, steady pattern. The most curious part was the absence of any noise. I’ve worked with influencers and photographers, and I’m intimately familiar with how louds drones are. Still there was no machine noises, no engine running, nothing that would indicate the presence of a motor. And yet this light remained hovering, steady above the tree line.
It stayed there for a few minutes, hovering up and down silently, blinking steadily against the dark sky. I remember thinking to myself at one point, if we get abducted, will they grab the dog too or will she be here alone? And then as suddenly and quietly as it came, the light dropped below the tree line and disappeared.
The whole thing took less than 10 minutes, likely closer to 5. But it was unnerving, watching this UFO float above us, like it was watching. Perhaps the funniest part is that my partner and I remained silent through the entire thing, both of us entranced by the light and silent with anticipation. After it disappeared, we remained silent for another 10 minutes, before I finally turned to him and said “Did you see that?”
He replied that he had, and we speculated on what it could have been. The speed at which the object moved, the lack of machine noise and the skill with which it disappeared led us to concluded that we had indeed encountered an unidentified flying object. Was it aliens? It was both comforting and disquieting to think so.
We went to bed shortly after that, the edible hitting full force and coaxing our eyelids down. Despite the unnerving encounter, we both slept soundly, lulled into unconsciousness by the noise of the frogs and the wind.
In the morning we awoke to a stunning sunrise that filled the sky with colors and the woods with light. We cooked breakfast over the first, packed up, and left.
In the times I’ve recounted this story, there’s always one person who jokes that we saw nothing but an edible-induced hallucination. While being high certainly added a layer of disbelief to the experience, every stoner knows edibles don’t make you hallucinate.
So what do you think we saw?