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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Looking for Bigfoot

   Yesterday I headed back up to one of my favorite spots in the woods. My plan was to try and get some pictures of Owls. The fledglings should be pretty close to flying by now but they should still be hanging around the nesting area. My plan was to sit around a campfire and listen for the hoots so I could get an idea of where they might be, then walk in that direction the next day. Not the greatest plan but it's all I could come up with at the time.

   It was raining just a little and between that and the fact that it was a Monday I figured there would be very few, if any, people out and around which would give me a nice quite patch of woods to check out. The spot I was headed to is about 7 miles up an old logging road and I had seen owls along the road on the way to the camping spot but so far I haven't been able to get close enough to get a good picture. I was really hoping to get a chance at that with my new camera.

   I took my time on the trip up, stopping often and shutting the van off so I could just sit and listen. As I was parked by this waterfall I caught sight of a Great Horned Owl sitting on a limb a ways up the creek but, of course, by the time I grabbed my camera he had taken off.
   I wasn't able to get all the way to the end of the road for obvious reasons..

   It was a rough winter! A couple of these logs are almost as tall as my van! At least it wasn't the end of the trip or anything. I just wanted to go all the way up an sit and listen for awhile, the turn off to the camping spot was before I got to the slide.
    got back down to my spot and spent the rest of the evening drinking coffee and waiting for an Owl to hot, but no luck during the daylight hours so I got settled in for a long night.

    That's on of those "Space Blankets" draped over my chair. It kept raining most of the time I was up there and even though I can't say much about those things keeping you warm (they don't) at least they will keep you dry. I wish I had one of those infer red cameras because this is the best I can do with just a flash -

   Not bad but you have to find your way through the woods to get close enough to get a shot. Anyway, I spent the next few hours just sitting around the campfire listening to the rain and the woods. I heard one Owl but it was way off in the distance on the wrong side of the creek where I can't go anymore. It's a great place to hunt over there and I made a lot of trip there back in the good ole days. Thousands of acres of mountains and timber with no roads! If you believe in Bigfoot you can take one look at that country and have no trouble believing he could be living there.
   It was about 2 in the morning and having only heard that one Owl I was thinking about crawling into the sleeping bag and calling it a night when I heard a limb break across the creek. Now hearing a limb break isn't a big thing in the woods. I've been out there when a whole tree has fallen, no wind, no snow, no ice no nothing, they just fall for no reason. At first I figured another branch had fallen and hit that one because it was a sharp crack and you mostly only hear that when there's a heavy snow or ice load or if something heavy hits them or if something big is pulling on them. I really didn't pay much attention to it until another one cracked in the same area! That got my attention! One could be natural but two in the same area coming so close together was more than a little odd.
  I stood up and moved to the edge of the camp closest to the creek where I could hear a little better. I had just stopped moving when the came the sound of lots of limbs cracking and breaking and I could swear I could hear something growling. I grabbed my camera and light and started down the trail toward the creek. I was trying to feel my way down the trail because I didn't want to turn the light on and scare whatever it was away. The closer I got to the creek the better I could hear and there was no doubt that something alive was moving around in brush and growling just across the creek. As I got closer to the creek I could head a kind of hooting coming from the same place. It wasn't like an Owl hoot, it was a much deeper sound and I could picture a huge set of lungs making that noise.
   I finally managed to get all the way to the waters edge without having to turn my light on or falling down and killing myself. From there it was obvious that something big was stomping around in the brush just the other side. Now that I was close I could tell that there were two of whatever it was and it sounded like they were either fighting or just walking back and forth in the brush breaking tree limbs. I stood there a good 15 minutes listening to them and trying to figure out how I could get across that creek in the dark without falling I when all of a sudden a good sized piece of tree limb landed in the creek right in front of me! I'll tell ya, it's a good thing I didn't need to go to the bathroom because I sure wouldn't have needed to after that!
   I figured "to hell with it" and turned my light on to see if I could see anything. There was way to much brush on the other side for me to be able to see anything other than the tops of some of the brush moving around. I do know one thing, turning that light on sure didn't slow whatever it was any at all! It, or they continued to stomp around, break limbs and growl for another 20 minutes or so. The noise finally started to die down and after a few more growls I could hear something heavy moving into the forest away from the creek. I stood there for awhile after the sounds had completely stopped just to see if anything else was going to happen since I had only heard one creature move off, I finally went on back to camp after a while.
   If I was on one of the Bigfoot Hunters shows that are on TV now days I'd be swearing up and sown that I had just had a Bigfoot encounter and I would have had just as much to prove it as they do which would be, nothing. Sounds in the dark woods that a person could easily convince themselves was a Bigfoot. Any time you go in the woods with the mindset that you Know something is real and you Know that whatever it is lives in this area, everything you hear and most of what you see will fit your preconceived idea. In truth, even though I would love to think it was a Bigfoot it could just have easily been a bear and a lot more likely. All I could say is that I was pretty sure it wasn't humans just out trying to scare someone and I couldn't even swear to that 100%. I spent the rest of the night wondering what it could have been and by morning I had almost talked myself into believing that after all these years of hoping and hunting I had finally had an encounter with Bigfoot.
   This morning as soon as it was light enough to see and after a couple of cups of coffee I headed back down to the creek. It is pretty easy to cross that creek when it's daylight and it only took me about 20 minutes to get to the area where the noise had been coming form, I move slow now days, even with daylight. The first thing I found was a lot of fresh broken branches and tore up ground. Thanks to the rain the ground was mostly a muddy mess but after searching for awhile I did final find one good track. I'd love to be able to show everyone a picture of a nice Bigfoot track but here's what I found -
 
   In my heart this is exactly what I expected to find, but it was still a let down to say the least. After a little more searching I also found this -

   From the way the place was torn up, the hair I found, the claw marks and the length of claws on the foot print I'd say  two black bears got into a fight over something. I didn't find any blood so it doesn't look like it was near as bad as it sounded. had I been sure of that last night I would have went ahead and crossed that creek to see if I could have gotten a few pictures of them. Maybe next time.
   Not going to stop going out in the woods and never going to stop hoping that someday the strange sounds I hear will turn out to be a Bigfoot.