trail running strange sights
Trail Stories

Whether on woodland or country trails, the further you get from civilization the stranger sights get. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve come across while trail running? Here are a few of our favorites – check out the list then lace up your trail running shoes and see what you can find outside!

A complete cow’s leg minus the cow


I’m still completely baffled as to how this could ever happen. It was on a country trail in Switzerland in the Saas Grund area. I wondered if there was a cow somewhere as confused as I was!

A map


This sat on the path right in front of me. Not really that strange I suppose, but surely losing your map is worse than temporarily losing your way. Just another reason it’s important to know how to navigate in the backcountry!

Hair-raising in a thunder storm

trail storms

When you are running on the trail and your girlfriend’s hair starts standing on end, you know it’s time to get away from the thunderstorm. It’s a great indicator, especially on an open country trail, but I wouldn’t recommend being in a place to need it. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from a storm, so even if skies are blue near you, if you’re feeling the charge, get off the trail.

Disappearing footpath

disappearing footpath

While cruising on the footpaths from Zermatt to Saas Grund last year I was constantly frustrated by the poor signage. Finally I got on the right path and a couple of miles further on I was suddenly stopped in my tracks as the path had completely disappeared into the river below. A massive land slide had taken everything with it. Sometimes it’s good not to follow the trail!

A snake


Not snakes on a plane, but snakes on a trail. I grew up in south Wales and was quite familiar with adders. The problem with running on trails (vs. walking) is that often the snakes don’t have time to hear the vibrations and get out of the way in time. And leaping over poisonous snakes is not a great idea on woodland or country trail. Adders can have a very nasty bite and although it’s very unlikely to be lethal to an adult, head to a hospital straight away if you are ever bitten.

Before heading out on a trail run, research the snakes in your area to be better prepared in case you encounter one or two and can’t get out of the way quickly enough. It’s not a bad idea to carry anti-venom for local snakes, especially on long runs away from civilization.

Share some of the strange sights you’ve seen while out trail running in the comments below or on Merrell’s Facebook and Twitter!

  1. Posted By Mike_Trail

    That is an interesting question. I mean, I have seen plenty of animals, plenty of bones and skeletal remains…but nothing that I would consider truly strange, and I have thousands of miles under my feet…Coming across an old still site or an abandoned house every now and then is kinda spooky I guess, but other than that, just a whole lot of cool trees, rocks, mountains, clouds, snowfields, glaciers, and animals…
    I did see a plane land from above one time from a pass in the Tetons…

Your email address will not be published.