I posted previously about the weird incident with the archery club member's daughter. Well, I decided to follow up on it. It didn't sit right with me to leave questions unanswered.
I placed some calls to the old board (new folks have been elected since then), trying to find out what exactly happened back in 2012, but so far I've only hit dead ends. One of them actually hung up on me when I brought up that night. Any emails I sent haven't received any replies.
The only person I can get to talk to me is the girl from the story. I'm not completely comfortable with relaying what she told me since I still think it might have been a prank, but at the same time...no one else wants to talk about it. Even close friends are being really sketchy when I ask.
Since she's a teenager, I'm going to refer to her as "Jane".
Here's what she told me about that night:
She had agreed to go hiking out in the woods with her boyfriend and two other guys they knew. They spent a lot of the time joking around, talking about school, and (she admitted) drinking beer they'd liberated from some good old boys at the barbecue. Around four, they realized they were lost and tried to re-orient themselves. They found a dirt path that they assumed belonged to the park bordering our ranges and started to follow that for a while. All roads lead to civilization, after all.
After a half an hour, they came to a clearing between a couple of hills, which she described as a valley. (At this point in her story, I stopped her and asked her to show me on a map where she thought it might be, but she couldn't pinpoint it.) She said the entire area smelled "gross". Her description was pretty colorful: "It smelled like dog pee and week-old guts, like after you skin a deer."
Her dad was, as I've mentioned, a hunter, so I trusted that comparison.
Apparently, she tried to convince the guys to turn back, but they wanted to find the source of the smell. She had waited on the trail while they went traipsing down into the low scrub of the valley. After a while, she noticed it was getting darker, so she called for them. They didn't respond, and she "freaked out" and ran back in the other direction, following what she could of the trail until she hit the border of our land.
Around 5:10, Jane found her dad on the 3-D range, and had stuck by him until they heard shouts coming from the woods. The boys joined them some time later, out of breath and sweating, in good spirits but confused about how she'd "run so fast from the bike trails".
They explained that, upon reaching the lowest point of the valley, she had come up behind them and at this point the smell was so strong it overwhelmed them; they decided to follow her on back to the ranges. The smell didn't dissipate even when they got back on the bike trails, and after a few minutes of walking, her boyfriend noticed the smell was coming from her.
Uncomfortable, the boys had fallen back to discuss this, leaving Jane to walk ahead of them. A bend in the path took her out of sight for a moment, and when they caught up, she was gone.
Now, remember: Jane had been with her dad this whole time. She didn't know what the boys were talking about, but her dad apparently lost his shit when the boys mentioned the smell. He wouldn't let the group leave his side for the rest of the evening, a decision that was cemented when I called him an hour later to ask what the hell was going on with Jane.
Her only explanation for any of this was a shrug. She said that after that evening, her father had told her if she ever smelled anything like that again, she should immediately leave the area and call the park rangers.
At this point, it seems to me like a lot of the older folks in the club - the ones who have been around for generations - are aware of something going on, and aren't willing to talk about it. It's understandable, in a way. Eighty acres of prime land in this area isn't cheap, and the club owns it outright. If something unsavory was going on "down in the valley", they'd probably want to keep it quiet.