"I am a police officer and I had an encounter (an aggressive one ) as an 11 year old in 1994 inside the border of the smokey mountain national park. I was on a camping trip with my family and a group of friends consisting of 5 other boys and my younger sister and brother. We were hiking a trail (a rather remote difficult one as I recall) I was temporarily separated from the group to tie my shoes and as they rounded a bend in the trail I looked to my right (down hill) and observed what in my mind at the time was a HUGE gorilla standing only about 50 ft from me . When it observed me observing it it immediately bounded up hill and onto the trail ahead of me cutting me off. I cannot describe how terrified I was.In an attempt to get away my instinct and I don’t really know why was to go uphill and around to where I could yell down at my friends. I felt like if I stayed were I was I’d be killed! So began about a 3 hour ordeal in which I effectively was lost. People began to search for me. The whole time I walked along a ridge line above the trail occasionally hiding from this thing. The entire time it shadowed me. When I would stop it would stop . I did not have a “visual” of it most of the time and only actually saw it from the shoulders up 1 time after my initial sighting. I feel like it was attempting to “herd” me away from safety. I was finally able to walk back onto the trail after 3 hours but only after I heard it farther and farther away and above me. It was raining by this time and I was a total mess completely terrified and exhausted."
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