The summer before I left for college, I participated as a leader on a retreat to the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. Retreatants are not permitted to wear watches and, coincidentally, among the retreat leaders that had watches, all but two were digital. On the final night of our seven day stay, all the batteries of the digital watches were dead, leaving no audible alarms to wake us in time to make the bus.
As the oldest, I volunteered to stay up all night and wake up the camp at five in the morning to make the trek out to where the bus would pick us up. Another leader, Matt, agreed to tough it out with me. Matt, three other leaders and I decided to sleep about a half mile away from the rest of camp on a large rock outcropping in the middle of the river. The river had carved a rather deep valley, and the base camp was on top of this valley.
Everyone had fallen asleep, and Matt and I busied ourselves purifying water for the hike out in the morning. It had been dark for no more than two hours when, looking down stream, a glow appeared to be coming down the valley to our location. Thinking it was one of our retreat members, Matt and I grabbed flashlights and headed up to great them and spare them the trek into the valley. As we scaled up to a bridge that spanned the river from a height of 30 feet or so, the glow appeared to have moved away from us. Matt and I watched it remain there as we smoked a cigarette, then decided it must be campers down the valley.
We went back to our rock outcropping, only to find the glow had now appeared to have moved toward us again. After a chat, we identified it as a confused member of our group and decided to hike closer to it to help them find us. Once again, the glow maintained distance from us, despite hiking to the point in which we felt we had seen it from below. Matt and returned back to our spot with the light hardly noticeable any longer.
It was barely past midnight as we jokingly talked about how it was too early for us to be getting delirious. However, the glow returned again to its familiar spot, so we consulted a sleeping friend to get his opinion. We asked him if he could see it, he said yes, then told us to wake him up when we had something important to tell him.
Matt and I laid down on the rock to have a cigarette and look for shooting stars. As we watched, Matt told me a few minutes later that the glow was gone again. Sure enough, it was. However, we heard someone shouting from above the valley saying, "Wake up!" Confused, we checked the watch to find it was nearly 5:30 a.m.! There was no way Matt and I had fallen asleep, as we both still had been smoking the cigarettes we lit before we laid back to look at the stars. We credit the mysterious glow for making five hours vanish instantly.