Okay, I’m serious about Bigfoot. It may not make some people happy that I’m mixing the classical physics of Electric Universe with a crypto-legend like the hairy-man, but from my perspective, I’ll be seen as crazy by fewer people for believing in Bigfoot than in a Grand Unified Electrical Theory. Nobody understands magnetism, not even physicists, but everyone gets the boogey-man. My approach is to go for the truth and damn the torpedoes.
Besides, I saw one…it’s leg anyway. It screamed like a banshee and scared the shit out of me. So, how can I undo that. Enjoy the story.
The Bigfoot Hunter
What? You thought it was me? Not on your life. There isn’t a gun big enough to make me feel safe. I send Ginger out. She’s fearless – just look at that face. Here she is in her element:
You can see the determination. See the furrow in her brow… look out, Bigfoot! I have a theory they avoid people like the plague because we keep dogs. The hairy-men hate dogs.
Ginger and I traveled to a little known place in Arizona where the creatures are known to make an appearance now and then. I’m not saying where it is, but it’s a large mountain that looks like this one. We arrived and found a beautiful camp by the lake.
Now I need to give a little back-story as to why we came to this particular place. That is, besides the many reported sightings, encounters, local legends and Apache lore that attest to its presence.
I camped at this lake a few weeks ago with my friends, Bean and Bobblehead. During the night, around two or three AM, a pick-up truck left a campsite across the lake from us and roared past in a hurry. This woke me up.
A few minutes later I heard loud banging across the lake from the direction the truck came from. Each campsite is equipped with a steel bear-proof food storage container – you can see it in the picture of the campsite. The banging sounded like someone was taking a baseball bat to one of these steel boxes. There were three, or four loud bangs, a pause, more bangs, another pause and more bangs. Then a high pitched, “hoo, hoo” like a chimpanzee shout.
Soon after, Ginger crawled out of the sleeping bag and looked at the tent door. I thought she needed to potty, or get water, so I unzipped the tent. She immediately crouched low, dropped her ears and tail, and growled with deep, serious intent out the opening. She almost never growls and I’ve only heard her do that when fending off a mean dog, or one of the meth addicts in our neighborhood. I don’t know how she can tell a meth addict from anyone else. Same way we do, I guess, because they’re scary.
Anyway, she then turned around and slunk into the bottom of the sleeping bag. I didn’t hear anything, but I shut the tent real quick.
Now, I know this could have been some inconsiderate campers. Nevertheless, on the drive down the mountain I kept my eyes out for any strangeness. Deep, dark, old growth forests have plenty of weird things going on. Humans don’t generally notice because we are as incompetent in the woods as some presidential candidates are with State secrets. But there is strange and there is high strangeness. I saw high strangeness.
So did Ginger. She was the one who had to go back and see more. See, she’s been watching Bigfoot YouTube videos with me for years now. She fashions herself a canine BoBo.
It all started after my own encounter in California (read the “Encounter” if you want that story). When I began to research Bigfoot, Ginger was in my lap, soaking-up all the same information. It’s really quite astounding if you take the time with an honest, open mind to look into it. I know that is almost impossible to do – have an open mind that is – because most people don’t look into anything. They are told everything.
What everyone is told is that the “credible people” who say they’ve seen a Bigfoot are simply mistaken. They likely saw a bear and the “other people” are just nuts. Well there are those, no doubt. But what they don’t say is the improbability of so many hunters, hikers, sheriffs, forest rangers; people educated both in the woods and in schools, who swear they have seen one, or experienced some encounter that isn’t otherwise explicable.
Plus the fact there is absolutely no ecological, or biological reason they can’t exist. After all, we have fossils of large bipedal hominids and apes, we carry Neanderthal and Denovisan DNA in our genes, we have living gorillas, orangutans, chimps, several other apes, and more still being found as recently as the last couple decades, so it isn’t even improbable.
The other thing that pisses me off to no end is every time someone does a documentary on Bigfoot, they bring out some Biology professor in a bow-tie to tell us all how wrong we are to think there is an undocumented ape in the woods. I’ve never seen one of these professors who looked like they could keep a campfire lit, let alone find their way back from the privy without a GPS. We have millions of undocumented people in this country. Who’s to say there aren’t a few thousand hairy ones living where few people dare to go.
Well, Ginger knows all this. That is why she insisted we go camping at that lake again. We couldn’t take Bean, or Bobblehead and their dogs, because they just drink beer and this was to be all business as far as Ginger was concerned. I agreed, because I knew I could take some great photos of the Arc Blast features on the mountain. Besides, there is no saying “no” to Ginger.
We chose this particular campsite because it was the location we heard the banging. It was the farthest down the road, next to the dam and at least a hundred yards from the next campers.
We left on the fourth of July. This was strategic on two counts. First, all the holiday campers would be leaving that day and we like our solitude. Second, all the Bigfoot should be ready to raise hell now that the firework wielding, beer soaked campers were gone. We thought the Skeezamen ( a local name) might even venture to the lake now that it was quite after the long weekend. I can’t help but think that crawdads would be one of their favorite snacks – its one of mine.
The camp-site was outstanding, the closest to the lake, with a view and even a little landing next to the dam. Behind us the hill climbed to a peak forested with big Ponderosa and lots of fallen wood for the fire.
Our calculations were excellent as far as timing. We passed dozens of trucks going down the mountain. When we arrived at the lake there were only four other campers in the entire campground. We met our closest neighbors, who were staying over from the previous day. They kind of looked happy to see someone else in the campground.
After the usual chores of setting up camp, collecting wood and starting a fire, Ginger sniffed flowers while I relaxed with a cold refreshment and watched the setting sun turn the ripples on the lake monochrome. The evening was cooling, but I was still okay in a tee-shirt.
Two people were fishing the opposite shore in a canoe as I walked down to the landing to enjoy the breeze in the fading light. It was then I heard the chimps again. That’s when I took this picture with the camera pointing in the direction the screams were coming from. I tried to record the sounds, but all I captured was my own breathing.
The time before, what I heard was a “hoo, hoo” yell, like a playful chimp might make. This wasn’t playful. It was screaming, hoots and occasional low grunts that went on for about twenty minutes.
As I listened, Ginger sniffed flowers until I said, “Do you hear that?” She finally perked up and listened. Across the lake, the people in the boat were jostling about, trying to row back to the boat landing. I can’t say whether it was because of the screams, or because it was getting dark, but they seemed to be trying to hurry away from the other shore.
I heard other campers from that direction blowing air horns, as if to chase off a bear. The air horns were no louder than the screaming.
The noise ended. It was not coyotes. I cannot believe it was humans. It was way too loud and continuous. Who screams and hoots and growls for twenty minutes. I don’t think a human can even make some of the sounds we heard.
I built-up the fire and began fixing dinner. We didn’t hear anything else that night, except a skunk that invaded the camp and made a stink.
In the morning, I fired up a big coffee and loaded Ginger in the StRange Rover. It was time to go searching. As we drove out of the campgrounds, we passed by the creek that fed the lake. That was where the screams came from. It was dense forested wetlands that an army could hide in.
We drove about five miles to the end of the road and then followed a four wheel drive trail to some undeveloped campsites. This was a pretty wild area, but I didn’t see anything out of ordinary. We drove back another ten miles the other way. Here is where I saw the strangeness before. For about a five mile stretch near the lake, there were unusual tree breaks and tree structures I noticed the previous trip.
Trees fall over. Trees break; blown by winds, hit by lightning, wounded by fire. There are many ways a tree can fall and be left leaning against another, especially in an ungroomed, old growth area like this one. But there seemed to be a pattern.
Ginger and I scouted several areas where the trees seemed arranged non-randomly. There were several areas where there were these crosses formed from broken tree trunks. They faced the road squarely with lots of other disturbance around them; a profusion of broken limbs, stumps and trunks leaning against other trees.
Often, the trees were wedged between other trees.
So, yes..that can happen naturally, but what about this?
This one is wedged and bent sideways between trees. Here are more views of the same tree. It did not fall this way without help.
The top left picture shows the base of the tree stuck in the ground. The bottom left shows the broken tip wedged between the bigger trees. The big picture show how it crosses like a barrier next to the road.
There were more elaborate structures, too. These trees are bent to the ground and held down by logs.
There are two trees still rooted and bent over in arches, another laid over in the same direction and one pressed against the trunk of the center tree like a spring. Two logs are laid over all four to hold them down. Well, it seems odd to me. Ginger wouldn’t get out of the car. She was bored with tree structures.
I was fascinated though. My engineer mind tried to decode a plausible natural cause. It couldn’t. Here is another that defies logic.I suppose this could have fallen in a wind this way. If it was the only one like it I would even assume so, but there are several broken, bent or wedged in improbable positions like this in clusters. Note all the other leaning trees nearby. Here are more views of the same trees.Ginger was getting annoyed I was looking at trees. She wanted to look for Bigfoot. She doesn’t make the connection with trees because she’s a dog. Dogs don’t look up. If it had been a turd on the ground, or something fun to pee on, she’d have been more interested.
Here is another.Notice how the leaning trees are held down by the broken tree? They should not have been in the line of fall if this had been wind or snow. That’s how they always seem to fall in this particular area though.
Of course I didn’t get a picture of the best one I found. It was a large trunk of a tree wedged into a standing trio of live trees, but it had branches that wrapped both direction behind the other trees. In other words, it could not have fallen there without snapping those big branches. It looked like it was shoved between the trees, bottom first.
As I examined it, looking for the right camera angle, rock clacking began in the woods not far away. I left without a picture.
So all of this was pretty interesting to me, but Ginger wasn’t impressed. She wanted something to growl at. After an exhausting day searching the forest, we returned to camp and settled down for the evening. At least I did. Ginger wandered off on her own.
After all that time I walked in the forest, she sat in the StRange Rover and slept. Now she wanted to go hunting for the Skeezamen. What the hell, I thought. I’m pooped. I wasn’t too nice about corralling her back to the campsite. I even spanked her and it made her mad. So she trotted up the hill and disappeared.
It was dusk, so this action worried me. I climbed the hill after her, all the way to the top. The reverse side of the hill was a cliff. It dropped all the way to the valley floor. I’m talking a drop of about five thousand feet, nearly vertical. It was like looking into the Grand Canyon. If she went down that slope, I knew she wasn’t coming back up.
Not only are these woods legendary for the Skeezamen, but it has the largest bear concentration in the State, not to mention cougars, bobcats and venomous things of all types. I was worried.
Twice more I combed the mountain in the dark with a flashlight. I really didn’t care about any chimp noises at this point. I didn’t hear anything anyway. I even turned the light out to listen – for some reason I seem to hear better that way. Nothing.
I crawled into the tent and left the flap open and the fire burning so she could find her way back. I woke at first light to the sound of a crow. Crows are ubiquitous in these mountain. They caw all the time, part of the forest background noise. This crow was being answered by another. Every time it cawed, another answered. Only the answer was more of a cow than a caw.
It is said that Bigfoot like to mimic animal calls and even people talking, only they aren’t very good at it. They make the right tones, but can’t get the inflections right. I have wondered if this is true, or just an excuse made by TV Bigfoot hunters who don’t have any other “evidence” to point to – you gotta make a show.
This crow made me think twice about that. But I was in no mood to ponder. Ginger had not returned. I climbed the mountain three more times, crossed the dam and followed the stream as far as I could. No sign of her.
By eight AM, other campers were up cooking breakfast. I hoped she’d found shelter with one of them and was at their camp waiting for bacon. For a little dog, she can eat lot of bacon. I packed my kit and drove to each one. No one had seen her.
Ginger and I are very attached. She’s a weird dog, but also the smartest, warmest dog I’ve ever known. By warm, I mean warm. Mexican aristocrats bred Chihuahuas to sleep with because they were better than hot water bottles. This is how we sleep, with her curled against my back to keep us warm.
I returned to the empty camp despondent. I feared at this point she must be dead. There were too many wild and hungry things out there a city dog had no notion of. She’s never slept a single night outside of a bed.
I could not bear the thought of her lost on that vast mountain, alone, defenseless and scared. I could not bear the thought of leaving and never knowing. I realized, I would need to notify the Forest Service, the Humane Society and post flyers around the campground – all in futility. I decided I would wait until noon before leaving for the nearest town.
And then a miracle happened. She slunk out of the tall grass a few feet from me, head down, a bit torn-up and bloody and terribly frightened. I wiped my tears as she came to me. I thought she was afraid I would be mad. I wasn’t of course and promised her I’d never spank her – or any dog – again.
I don’t think that is what made her scared. After driving home with her in my lap, she was still subdued for days. She wouldn’t leave my side. I think she was traumatized being lost in the woods.
I don’t know where she slept that night. One camper who I’d talked to flagged me down as I left the campground and asked if I’d found her. He said she had approached his camp just after I’d been by earlier and he was looking to tell me. I said, thanks she was with me now and wondered from which direction she’d come. He pointed to the opposite side of the lake from the campground.
Apparently, she’d been lost in the ravine below the dam and came up on the wrong side, then circled the lake to get back. It was a close thing. She was really lost and likely only found her way back by the sounds and smells of the campground that morning. Really a miracle considering all the creatures out hunting food like her at night.
More Bigfoot hunting will have to wait for the fall. I don’t think I’ll take her next time. I’m investing in a .44 magnum and a hot water bottle instead. She wasn’t much good at finding the wild Skeezamen anyway. Or was she?