Over the years, I’ve been invited to tag along on various trips when friends wanted to head out into the great outdoors and spend some time away from the urban sprawl. For the last several years, a good friend of mine has asked me to head out with his group while they search for evidence of the mysterious creature that some have named Bigfoot. Allegedly, this creature exists in parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, northern California and British Columbia. Not to be outdone, other states have reported sightings of a similar creature such as the Ohio Grassman.
Just to clear the air, the group that I’ve been asked to hang with are not affiliated with any known Bigfoot research group and are just a bunch of guys and gals that are interested in finding some sort of evidence that proves such a creature may exist somewhere in the Cascade Mountain Range of Washington State.
As some of you may know, I am a wilderness survival instructor and have spent quite some time in the Cascades and more recently in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Olympics. Both of those areas have had sightings as recent at 2009.
I’ll break down what happened over the course of one (1) week with this crew of amateur crypto- zoologists.
Day 1: Departure
The departure time was supposed to be 9am but was pushed back to 11am then finally 2pm. This essentially wasted an entire day. We arrived at the camp site, I’m not naming where in the Cascades this location was as the crew doesn’t want hordes of people heading there. By the time we had the tents set up, it was getting dark and not much happened.
Day2: The hike
After breakfast and introductions, it was decided that the researchers would head out and look for locations to set up trail cameras while searching for evidence that there is recent Bigfoot activity. Let me tell you that this group needs to seriously work on their woodcraft skills as they sounded like a herd of drunken elephants stomping through a china shop. If there were any animals in the immediate vicinity, they were long gone after this troop entered the woods.
Day 3: The rest of the gang arrives
Not realizing that more people were involved in the research, it was a mild surprise to see another RV roll into the campsite and disgorge more eager researchers. Bear in mind, their idea of camping is using fully equipped recreational vehicles. Sure, having all the necessities of home makes it convenient but also establishes a sound footprint that pushes away all animals with exception to mountain ravens.
Day 4: The search begins
With almost three days wasted, the crew decided to get an early start and check the cameras and possibly place more trail cameras and finally set up their blind along a well traveled game path that led to a watering spot. I have to say that a few of the new arrivals knew what to look for when it came to spotting game trails and edible plants that animals may be using for nourishment. The cameras set up on Day 2 were checked, data cards replaced and batteries checked. There were a few other locations that showed promise thus facilitating additional trail cameras set up. We returned to camp and hours were spent viewing the camera footage with no luck.
Day 5: Sit around camp and pretend you’re tough by eating beans for all three meals
One of the new arrivals, I’ll call him Al, appeared to be a true die-hard woodsman/hunter. After all, he arrived in full military surplus camouflage and even had his pants bloused into his RealTree boots, a sure sign of a hardcore outdoorsman. That and the huge, overcompensating sheath knife hung from his belt and strapped to his thigh. This man had to be far more experienced than me. And he was not shy about telling me about it.
Yeah, you can see where this is going.
There was obvious friction between him and other members of the research group for some unknown reason, wink, wink, nod, nod. Al the Pal wanted to take over the entire program, go figure, head out at dark and then organize some kind of rotation schedule for the group when it came to manning the blind.
Considering how quiet the group was in the daylight, you can imagine how quiet they are at night.
Needless to say, the rotational schedule didn’t work out no matter how loud Al yelled. If the sound footprint wasn’t previously destroyed by the generators running on the RVs it was thoroughly and totally ruined by Al the Pal’s ranting about organization and motivation.
Day 6: Heading for home
As dawn of the final day lit up the interior of my tent, I was introduced to Al the Pal’s morning rant about not having a fire going thus preventing him from having his morning coffee in addition to the whine, gripe and bitch session about not properly manning the blind overnight. I stayed in my tent, ate a couple of granola bars washing them down with water then stowed my gear back into my pack, exited my tent, collapsed it then packed it away. My friend, Ed, who had invited me along on this trip, poked his head out his truck as I walked by to toss my gear into the back of my truck, looked over at Al still stomping around and shouting about getting organized and shook his head. Ed crawled out, yawned, thanked me for coming along and all the help I’d been. I paused and couldn’t think of one single thing that I had done that had helped this group do anything then shook his hand and told him to don’t bother calling me the next time, I’m sure I’ll be busy. It was refreshing to get back in my truck and head out the park. I stopped at a small diner just outside the park entrance and had a real breakfast, enjoying the peace and quiet.
The end result of this little trip was no evidence of any creature large enough to fit into the category of Bigfoot. I had seen some deer grazing in a meadow, a couple of rabbits, several squirrels and the ever present mountain ravens. Of all the trails we hiked, berry patches that we scouted and water holes that were investigated, not a single clue, trace, hair sample, footprint, pile of scat or anything else was spotted that could conclusively point to the existence of a creature matching Bigfoot.
Now I’m not saying there isn’t a possibility that such an animal might live in that region of Washington State, I’m just saying that we weren’t able to find any evidence. Given the lack of woodcraft skills displayed by this particular research group, if Bigfoot is as shy as reports state he/she may be, it’s no wonder that he wasn’t in the area. Maybe, sometime in the future if I ever take a class of outdoor survival students back up into that area, we might have a little fun and go do a search for evidence. If I ever do go back to this area again, it won’t be with people who lack the skills to move quietly through the brush.
The pictures contained within this post were NOT taken during this trip.
For more information about the possibility of the hairy dude in your state, google bigfoot research and look at the results.