Ever go toe-to-hoof with a wild boar? This was the unwelcome situation that presented itself outside our tent at 2am as we attempted to wild camp just outside Linz, Austria. After our recent encounter with an unidentified creature in Hungary, we were wary of wild camping again. Though after cycling over 100k, the campsite at we encountered was impossible. A dozen college kids had erected an enormous army-style tent in the middle of a tiny campground which was littered with remnants of liquor bottles, beer bongs, wizard sticks etc. The other campers, all of whom were cyclists, had set up along the fence and were packed in like sardines only 15 feet from the party tent, which was already going strong at 9pm. It was clear there was no sleep to be had here.
Only a few km from the party kids lay a series of bike trails and national park used by Linz city folk. It almost seemed too perfect as we stumbled on an isolated clearing, blocked on each side by felled trees. The bad omens soon began, as I was stung by nettles while setting up the tent and objects (acorns?) kept falling from the forest canopy above. The weirdness continued as we tucked in for the night, we saw what looked like a small light moving around not 20 meters from where we were. After some speculation, we sleepily agreed that it had to be a lightning bug.
Soon after we lay down, we noticed a moving overhead light that was so bright, it cast rays into the tent! Just as we decided it could only be the moon, we heard the boar call. It was a loud bark accompanied by sickly snort or growl. I pulled out the light and pocketknife and listened as the noise got closer, crashing through the brush maybe ten meters away. E and I looked at each other, scared as hell and I let out my most ferocious primal scream directed at the animal. The boar noise moved away. I blasted it a few more times from the top of my vocal chords and the noise continued to move away.
I looked at E and it was pretty apparent we could no longer sleep there. We hastily rolled everything up, strapped it to the bike and cycled over to squeeze into one of the camping spots, waking up some already disgruntled cyclists who had obviously lost sleep to the party kids. Moral of the story: you never know what's hiding out in the forest, even just a mile from a major city.