Tag: sasquatch

Cannibal Bigfoot

That’s the rumor, you know. It’s been around for centuries. Though Native American’s often relate Bigfoot as a nocturnal, petty trickster who steals salmon, there are also legends of hairy devils with evil intent.

Photo By Edward S. Curtis – Library of Congress

The Shampe of Choctaw fable,  Ts’el’eni, the woodman of Athabaskan’s in Alaska, the Boqs of the Bella Coola, and Tsiatko, Stick Indians of Salish legend in the Pacific Northwest are a few examples. These big hairy creatures were known for stealing women and children, and eating people.

The Windigo, known to many tribes, is associated with evil. In times of famine, it ate human flesh and forever has a taste for it. There are also the Teihiihan, the little cannibals of Cheyenne and other tribal lore, described as something like a dwarf Bigfoot that entices children to play – and eats them.

Hopi believe Bigfoot is a harbinger of strife and doom. He shows himself to fellow man as a message that human behavior has strayed from the creator’s plan, and an accounting is coming due.

Photo by Edward S. Curtis – Library of Congress

It’s not a cannibal unless it’s human. Otherwise it’s just another predator. Cannibal means a particular type of predator far more chilling to contemplate. The fact Native Americans call it cannibal betrays their belief in what it is. It’s the hairy man of the forest, a brother tribe of people.

Everyone has opinions, including a majority who outright deny its existence. But if you believe in the creature, you’re probably on a spectrum of opinion that runs from a big, relic ape, to a close cousin of mankind. Perhaps an archaic race similar to Neanderthal, or even a hybrid race that interbred with us.

Personally, I suspect they are relic hominids evolved from the same branch of genetic tree we are from. Shave Patty, the Bigfoot in the famous Patterson-Gimlin film, put lipstick and a dress on, and she’d have luck getting picked-up at the Bashful Bandit, my local biker bar.

Photo by Roger Patterson

That seems to be the way Native Americans think about Sasquatch. They are the wild people of the woods, not another animal. They are feared and respected, and not to be allowed near children. They are not something to go looking for.

Enter the ancestors of mad Englishmen. Have you noticed Bigfoot hunters are usually white people? Non-believers account this to the ignorance of white trailer-trash folk, like me, who prefer a walk in Nature to working off the Mercedes payment all day.

This makes no sense to me. I’ll believe an outdoors man about the woods, no matter what the armchair people say. I think it’s because I belong to the only race in denial about Bigfoot.

Genetics experts say non-African people carry around 4% Neanderthal DNA, whereas Africans have hardly any. Maybe there is something dark in the Caucasian past we’re still dealing with. Perhaps that is why it’s existence is so vehemently denied by urbane people who consider themselves the pinnacle of civilization. The realities of the past are too uncomfortable to think about.

One reason Bigfoot fascinates many people is the idea humans and Neanderthal coupled in Europe in the distant past. And in Asia and Melanesia, DNA shows that people slept with Denisovan’s. The term ‘slept with’ is probably not accurate. Rape in the woods is more likely.

It points to a past when catastrophe decimated the population. There have been planet-wide catastrophes that nearly wiped life away, and the human race was reduced to small groups of survivors.

For life to go on, there had to be compromises. Brutal as it seems, there had to be cross-breeding. Perhaps forcibly and uninvited, but necessary nevertheless. It’s even believed cross-breeding bolstered the human immune system, giving us immunity to some disease.

So if there is the remnant of Neanderthal and Denisovan in the gene pool, that means at one time there were people born of interbreeding that had a fifty-fifty blend. Over time those individuals bred with other humans and the gene pool became diluted. Now there is a remnant of their DNA still carried in our blood.

But the corollary must also be true. Some of those hybrid babies were raised by surviving Neanderthal and Denisovan tribes. They would have bred in those communities, diluting the human gene. There must have been a hybrid being whose race was much less human. A feral race with more DNA of the ‘other thing.’

One can imagine they would be smart enough to survive. Smart enough to use rudimentary tools and even communicate.  They could have come from Europe and Asia to populate the New World alongside human beings.

One could also imagine they were hunted mercilessly for indiscretions in the past. Nothing puts a man into fight mode faster than someone stealing his wife and eating his children. They would have been attacked and chased into hiding, like so many Hollywood bigwigs. They would have been the Harvey Weinstein of the time, rightfully shunned for predatory sexual behavior. Harvey even looks Neanderthal, come to think of it.

They got away with it for awhile, when calamitous weather, pestilence and famine decimated life. Survival meant taking what was needed wherever it was available, and the bigger and stronger hominids had the upper hand. Humans didn’t choose to be the wives, or the dinner for their ‘brother’ tribe. But humans had to wake-up at some point and say, “enough!” The Neanderthal and Denisovan would have been hunted down and made to account.

Feared, hunted and killed, and smart enough to understand their persecution, the remnants of those races hid from the enemy. Now they watch and keep track of us when we enter their territory, but like pedophiles and creeps, know better than to show themselves. Except when opportunity allows instinct to take over and satisfy a nasty, old habit.

Native people aren’t the only ones to have these legends, We all do, regardless of race. My people have just sanitized the stories and called them fairy tales to discredit them, but like all stories they begin from a grain of truth. Werewolves and boogeymen, giants and little people have origins of truth in the distant past. Horrible truths.

What happens in the mountains seems to bear this out. People go missing, without rhyme, or reason, never to be seen again. These disappearances have a pattern that is disturbing. David Paulides is an ex-cop and writer who documents strange and inexplicable disappearances in the National Forests.

 The pattern repeats time and again. People go missing without a trace. If a trace is found, or even a body, they are found far from where they disappeared, sometimes in areas nearly impossible to reach.

Small children are found miles from where they vanish, across rugged, mountain country. People disappear while companions are just a few feet away. Experienced outdoors men take a walk and never come home. The typical profile is the last person on the trail, a child who wanders out of sight, or a solo hiker.

The disappearances often occur near a boulder field, rocky pinnacle, or cliff. As I’ve experienced myself, these are hangouts for Bigfoot. They also occur just prior to storms. Maybe an impending storm is a trigger. The blood rises with electricity in the air. A storm also provides cover – a better opportunity to get away.

Dogs trained for tracking can’t find them. Whatever scent they pick-up seems to create fear, and they refuse to track. Some lay down and whimper.

The mountain ranges I frequent have occurrences recorded that fit the profile. The camp host at one of my favorites called it “the last mountain in Arizona,” meaning it’s not overrun by anybody. Well it is, because there are billions of dollars worth of telescopes up there, but the astronomers keep to themselves, fenced inside the observatory. Otherwise, locals go there to hunt and camp, there are a few backpacking trails, and a smattering of cabins, but that’s all.

Many of the locals who go there, both Native American and otherwise, know of the presence of Bigfoot. Reports of intimidation are disturbing. People hear trees snapped in anger in the darkness at the edge of their campsites. Campers get pounded awake with blows that leave dents in the walls of their travel trailers. They hear guttural, unintelligible talking in some jabberwolky language. And there is howling at night.

I listened to howling that sounded like a cage of monkeys fighting a lion. Deep growls and grunts accompanied chimp-like squealing. It was a night of full moon at an elevation far above coyote country. It wasn’t coyote’s.

A few years ago, a woman reported to be mentally disabled walked just a hundred yards behind her family near a campsite in an adjacent mountain range. She disappeared without a trace within sight of her family, who were watchful because of her handicap. She vanished in a brief moment when they turned their attention away. And not a trace could be found. There was no trail, or track to follow.

The prior year, another woman, middle aged, camped with a group of people she didn’t know well. She’d been invited by a friend, but she wasn’t a regular in the group. As they partied around the campfire one evening, she left on her own to watch the sunset from rocky cliffs about a quarter-mile away. The cliffs overlooked a canyon named Hell’s Hole.

This is another common theme. Sightings and disappearances happen in locations with demonic names. One has to wonder why these places were named that way in the first place.

Of course, she was never seen again. Her belongings were left in her tent and no sign of her could be found. The searchers used cadaver dogs, lowered by rope to find her body in the cliffs below, because it seemed that was the only way she could have gone. They found nothing and the mystery remains.

Bigfoot of the Urals – Menk filmed by the Dyatlov Party before they died.

From those same mountains, another story may shed light on what happens. It comes from an elderly woman who camped there with her parents as a little girl. She says she was six years old at the time, so this occurred in the sixties.

She sat on a log in the woods in sight of her parents when she heard something behind her. She turned around to see a big, black creature behind a tree. It was creeping up on her, she said, crawling from tree to tree and hiding behind logs. She thought it was a bear, until it stood up and she saw its face looked human. She ran to her parents and got away, her parents unaware of anything.

I came upon the trunk of a large tree hung upside down, cradled in the branches of another, with other trees leaned against it tee-pee fashion. I studied it trying to fathom if it could have happened naturally. It didn’t seem plausible.

As I scouted around the area, a path, or game trail led through brush, and I followed it a few yards to where it came to a boulder outcrop. As I reached the outcrop, I heard children playing, and realized it overlooked a campsite. The campsite was down the canyon, maybe five hundred feet below.

Typical tree structures mark a Bigfoot Trail

When I climbed onto the rocks, I was met with rock clacks. Something began tapping a substantial rock against another, warning me away. It tapped repeatedly, and not with a little pebble that a squirrel, or bird could pick up. It was a rock I’d gauge as big as my hand. I turned around and left, with the creepy realization that whatever clacked the rock was sitting in that boulder outcrop watching the kids play below.

In every instance I’ve seen, their trails lead uphill to natural lookout sites, usually at large granite outcrops. A ridge, or mountain top with a cap of rock that overlooks a campsite, or roadway is a likely spot.

When I have approached such areas, I have several times heard whoops. On one occasion, crossing a meadow towards an outcropping of boulders, there was a distinct whoop from the treeline to my right, and an answering whoop from the boulders. They were communicating a warning I was coming.

The interesting thing is that I parked my truck and fiddled around next to it for several minutes before I started walking towards the boulders. The whoops came only after I’d left the road and committed across the field. I’m sure the lookout could see me the whole time, but didn’t alarm until I started their way.

They watch us. They hang out in the rocks and trees and watch every move we make. They see us coming as soon as we start. They stay hidden and keep their distance. If we approach they fall back. Only if you keep invading their area do they start clacking rocks, or throwing them. To my knowledge, I’ve never had a rock thrown at me, although a pine cone did hit the car from a clear blue sky once.

Sightings of Bigfoot most often occur on roadways. It’s their biggest vulnerability. We’ve criss-crossed the land with big swaths naked of trees. Where there are trees, the Mountain Devil can’t be seen, except for the occasional glimpse, or surprise encounter. It’s rare they are surprised, but they have to cross roads.

Away from the trails and roads, in areas overgrown with underbrush, beneath peaks and ridges, where dead trees lean against each other, and there are rocky outcrops, and boulder fields – that is where they live. To enter is to experience them watching you, hear their whistles, whoops and clacks, and find their scuffs and footprints.

I filmed the following clip at Hell’s Hole, the location where the woman vanished. You’ll see several things in the video.

First, the trail was blocked every hundred yards, or so with broken trees. I was entering an area that had been closed all winter, and just reopened. I knew from the prior year it was a hot spot, where campsites coincide with access to a creek and one of their trails.

The further I went down the trail, the more trees I found felled, and the more obstacles blocked my way. It was as if, after the roads were closed and people had left for the season, they went-off on the campsite and road, tearing down trees in the hope maybe it would keep people from coming back.

At first, I maintained skepticism. The snows and winds of winter could have knocked the trees down. The further I went, however, the more apparent it became there was more than wind and snow pack at work.

On the way, I found a footprint. The toes impressed perfectly in the mud, but the heel landed in foliage making it hard to judge its length. It was at least twelve inches, but might have been as much as fourteen. It’s width was half-again the width of my bare foot – five inches, or more, in an area I had trouble walking in high boots. The ground was covered in brambles and broken trees. You can watch the video and judge for yourself if a human would walk barefoot in that country.

The footprint is bound by the arrows, toes to the left.
The cap rests just inside the print.

I followed what I suspected was a track they’d made. The ground was covered in fallen trees, browning ferns and broken twigs. Through it all, there was a distinct trail of steps, like post-holes in the dry ferns that left them broken down. The footprint appeared along the track in a rare patch of bare soil.

I had no plaster, which is a shame because I think it would have cast very well. I placed a water bottle along the edge of the print with the cap resting inside for scale. The print was flat, with a hint of a rise just left of the bottle cap that may have been at the mid-tarsal break. The toes prints are seen, with the big toe splayed away from the others.

A mid-tarsal break, and the ability to splay toes for balance, is characteristic of Bigfoot prints according to Dr. Grover Krantz, and Dr. Jeff Meldrum, both qualified experts in the subject. The pictures I took are not good as the mid-day sun beat straight down, making it impossible to keep shadows away, or see what I was framing.

The tracks led to the boulders above Hell’s Hole, the very place I was I was heading. The same place searchers lowered cadaver dogs to look for the missing woman. I had Ginger with me. She almost never barks, and only growls when she means business. She started growling almost the moment we reached the boulders. At the same time I heard a repetitive knock on wood. Knock-knock…knock-knock-knock. Knock-knock…knock-knock-knock.

This is on film in Part 2, but the knocking isn’t picked-up by the camera. It wasn’t the machine-gun rata-tat-tat of a woodpecker, but a slow and precise rhythm, like keeping time with a tune. Ginger refused to follow me any further in that direction. She stood her ground and growled.

I don’t know any normal forest animal that makes a knock like that. I had the feeling the playful sound was meant to entice me. Part of me wanted to go find the source, even though Ginger was growling. I couldn’t put the leash on and drag her, because there were too many trees broken down. I had to let her free to run her own obstacle course, but she refused to follow me.

We stayed long enough to take some film and left. I didn’t feel threatened. In fact, after a few minutes I felt whatever was making the knocks was gone. On the way out, though, I heard a solid wood-knock from a different direction.

It’s at this point I generally turn around, anyway. If I hear knocking, or whoops, I don’t go further. I know that won’t get me a photo op, but there is something about intruding where you’re not wanted. To be a paparazzi, even a Bigfoot paparazzi, is to be a cad, intruding on others privacy for the hope of a photo to sell.

Besides, I don’t want my head torn-off.

Interesting Resources:

Rise of the Warrior Apes … new perspective on our not-so-nice cousins, the chimpanzee.

From Discovery UK

Tolkien’s World – Cousin Species…

Update: They are smarter than you think…Can Great Apes Read Your Mind? from “The Conversation

We shared the planet with pre-modern humans…Science DailyRed Deer Cave People…less than 14,000 years ago.

Homo Floresiensis…17,000 years ago – hobbits!

NeanderthalDenisovan…30,000 to 70,000 years ago. “The Truth Behind the Neanderthal Case“…a good documentary. Professor Tom Higham…”When Neanderthals and Modern Humans Meet” lecture at University of Oxford.

New genetic data on aboriginal  Australian’s…Mystery ancient human ancestor found in Australasian family tree

What were they like…Super Predators?

What are they like…1967…”Patterson-Gimlin“…the full Munn’s Report.


Documentary: Stranger than Fiction – “The Patterson Film”

Most recent sighting.

For the price of covfefe…

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Gila Bigfoot – The Long Road Home

Episode 4 – The Long Road Home

Ginger and I camp at the lake after a day of Bigfoot hunting. Along the way we stop to check-out a likely granite outcrop in a meadow. As we leave the truck to cross the meadow, I hear an unmistakable whoop from the tree-line, and an answering whoop from the rocks. We change our mind about crossing the meadow.

It’s late season, so we are alone at the campsite. I’m playing a CD while filming, which isn’t appropriate, but the publisher notified me they were okay taking the advertising revenue. I don’t think they will get rich from it.

The next day we head home. This is the last trip for the year. I stop to look at one last tree structure and leave the truck in drive, nearly getting run-over as it rolls backwards while I’m at the tailgate.

Gila Bigfoot – Stench in the Air

Episode 3 – Stench in the Air

Ginger and I continue exploring a hilltop we climbed following tree-leans. On the reverse side of the hilltop, we find teepees of broken trees and a wallow with large tree structures. The trees are woven together in a fashion that defies wind, or snow-load. X’s surround the area.

I keep getting whiffs of bad odor, until Ginger alarms and I get the distinct smell of shit. It wasn’t either of us. I didn’t step in anything. We were at least a mile from the roads and trails. The scent was strong, like someone took a crap right next to us.

Gila Bigfoot – Whoops!

Episode 2 – Whoops!

Ginger and I follow a path of tree-leans that lead to a mountain top with granite outcrops. I hear whoops as I leave the designated trail to follow the tree-leans up the hill, but in the wind, they are indistinct, so I am uncertain.

The tree-leans give way to tee-pee structures and X’s surrounding the hilltop. We don’t venture into the granite outcrop, but skirt around it looking for definitive structures to film. The outcrop seemed spooky. It’s where I thought the whoops came from.

Ginger and I continue exploring this hilltop in Episode 3, where we find more evidence and get a bit nervous.


Gila Bigfoot – Recon

Episode 1 – Recon

In this initial episode of Gila Bigfoot, my brother and I drive through remote campsites in known Bigfoot country in eastern Arizona. Along the way we see trail markers. One trail is close to our campsite, so we follow it.

People unfamiliar with Bigfoot trails will say we followed leaning, wind-blown trees that just coincidentally form a distinct corridor through the forest. It’s coincidence the corridor of fallen trees is surrounded by forest without leaning trees.

Skeptics will say it’s coincidence the trees generally lean the same direction at a consistent angle, unnaturally stripped of bark and branches, not connected to root balls, or broken stumps.

And it’s coincidence the ground is scuffled, like something large moved through that corridor of leaning trees. Something that followed the tree-leans straight up the hillside instead of meandering on switchback paths like game trails typically do.

It must be coincidence they lead to a ridge where there is a ‘fence line’ of downed trees blocking an aspen grove that hides another trail I surveyed previously. A ‘fence line’ that has no apparent reason for being there; where there is no stream bank, or natural feature to explain how they formed a barrier, piled on top of each other in the same direction.

It’s just another coincidence the ridge trail leads to water at the points where the stream enters and exits the lake, where the land is swampy and shallow, where it’s easy to find crawdads and fish.

And of course, it’s coincidence we hear wood knocks from this trail in the middle of the night.

New Feature – Sasquatch Library

If you’ve never seen one, you are likely a skeptic. After all, deep woods make us prone to superstition. We don’t belong out of shelter – in the dark wooded realm of human ignorance.

But have you really been in the forest? I mean off roads and trails, in the gnarly bush where most people don’t venture. Because they are out there.


Pay attention and you’ll feel them watching. A creepy tingle behind the ears; then heat, dead silence and a twinge of fear. Don’t forget to look behind you.

Those whoops, and knocks, and clacking rocks aren’t birds, or squirrels, or wind in the trees. They come from creatures with hands like ours, and voices with intelligence.

But they aren’t us. No humans lay waiting in ape suits to hoax – not in the dark wooded realm of human ignorance.

Stay too long, and you might disturb them. They’ll let you know … a rock at your feet tossed from somewhere close. Somewhere too close.

So, hold the skepticism until you’ve actually looked. And before you go, bone-up on what the experts say.

For more selections, click the Bigfoot link and browse.

And for those rainy nights alone, here are a few good reads to enjoy. Keep the doors locked and pay no mind when the dog hides under the bed.

If you’re still alive… I mean still reading, click and browse, again and again and again. Your purchase helps keep me writing. Thank you.

Gila Bigfoot

Bigfoot is not an important thing to most people. It’s entertainment – a tantalizing possibility to tease curiosity and fuel ‘B’ movies, YouTube and reality TV. How would life change if indisputable proof were produced?

If you knew for sure there was something ‘out there’, faster, sneakier and smarter than you, able to take your head off with an audible pop – you might avoid the forest…right? But you probably do already. So, what else? What difference would it make?

News flash: Squirrels know more about reality than humans – 800 pound ape-men wander the forests and mankind is clueless.

If you know the truth about Bigfoot, it puts a new perspective on human arrogance. To realize, right next to seven billion of us there are who-knows-how-many thousands of eight-foot, hairy, bipedal hominids who are so good at playing hide-and-seek that we lost track of their existence. One might wonder if we are the dumber ape.

We weren’t always clueless. And some people never have been. Traditional First Nation people have always accepted it’s existence. Only in the last century has there been a concerted denial by skeptics.

Skeptics are bred in cities for the most part…need I say more?

The Bigfoot community likes to blame scientists, and we should. They hold themselves as the arbiters of truth when they are as clueless as anyone… they don’t even go look. They’ve erected a wall of ostracism to climb over for anyone who hints of Bigfoot’s plausibility. Cheers to the hand-full of brave scientists who’ve had the courage to investigate the subject.

In spite of a mountain of evidence and eyewitness accounts, the argument is that none of it is conclusive. And thanks to hoaxers, who should be burned at the stake (I don’t care how funny it is, it’s dishonest) there is an easy excuse for any single piece of evidence.

Perhaps it’s better this way. It will be terrible if biologists run around bagging DNA samples, tranquilizing and tagging the creatures, probing and categorizing them like they do everything else. I don’t want Bigfoot sporting ear tags and GPS transponders. I don’t want our behavior to affect theirs.

I pity the great whales being harassed endlessly by dart guns and tags, speedboats and self righteous environmental protectionistas. It may have the optics of being well-intentioned, but it doesn’t amount to much more than papers written by academics to justify their existence. The world rolls on; whale, elephant and tiger populations rise and fall, but generally fall, largely under the heavy hand of humans in spite of those efforts.

I fear armies of undisciplined, city-bred college students tramping through the mountains measuring the angle of tree leans. What would be the plus side – sales of pith helmets would skyrocket? The hairy folks in the forest seem to be doing fine without our help now.

It would also be terrible to see huge swaths of forest lands isolated from our enjoyment. You must know, ultimately it would happen to ‘protect the species’ – mankind can’t resist the urge to meddle. It might also mean protecting us the same way it’s done for bear and mountain lion – with a gun.

Certainly there are people in the Forest Service who know of them, and may have come to this conclusion: leave things as they are. It may be a sad day when ‘Science’ finds Bigfoot.

Nevertheless, truth is the most important thing for some of us. Ignorance isn’t bliss, because it doesn’t satisfy the need to know. Fortunately, there is a way to know, for yourself, the truth about Bigfoot. Forget those who snicker and deny its existence. It would diminish their self importance if they knew what lurks behind the backyard fence.

The purpose of this post is to introduce Gila Bigfoot, a ‘YouTube’ playlist devoted to searching for Bigfoot. I just needed to rant for a minute.

Utah Sasquatch

Credit is due to Utah Sasquatch for conceiving of #projectgoandsee which, along with many other people participating in the project, inspired the production of ‘Gila Bigfoot’, .

Reo is a hero, which rhymes nicely, but is a worthy tribute, because he shows anyone interested in how to find Bigfoot, how to actually do it. He makes the challenge to all of us very simple and straight (why is it someone even has to say this?): Go Look!

Colorado Bigfoot

#projectgoandsee and its many contributors are simply walking into the woods to see for themselves. Possibly the best contributor is ‘Colorado Bigfoot‘, who’s YouTube videos of complex, massive, and absolutely un-hoaxable tree structures provide conclusive evidence of, at least, a coherent entity behind their making. What he films in the forests of Colorado begs an explanation.

arizonaannotatedArizona isn’t the first place people think of when Bigfoot is the subject. This is one paradigm people should get over. They are not isolated to the Pacific North-West; the Cascades, the Rockies, or this, or that…they are closer than you think.

Arizona is a patchwork of desert and mountain, but south of Four Corners, along the eastern border of the state, there is a hopscotch of mountains all the way to Mexico.

Bigfoot reports are concentrated in four, high country, forested areas. Area 1, on the map, is the Kiabab Plateau, which includes Mt. Humphreys and the Grand Canyon, particularly the isolated, barely inhabited North Rim.

Area 2 is the Navajo Nation, which includes the San Juan Basin, and the Carrizo and Chuska Mountains, where sighting aren’t discussed much with outsiders.

Area 3 is the best known area in Arizona. It’s home of the Mogollon Monster. Sighting reports are numerous along the rim, all the way to the Continental Divide. Here is a good video featuring the late Mitch Waite, Arizona’s original Bigfoot Hunter.

Gila Bigfoot lives in Area 4, the White Mountains north of the Gila River, and a few Sky Islands to the south. The White Mountains are mostly reservation lands for the White Mountain and San Carlos Apaches. The Sky Islands are National Forest lands.

portal_peak_in_the_chiricahua_mountainsThe term “Sky Island‘ pertains to the mountains in the basin and range country of Southeastern Arizona and well into Sonora Mexico. The ranges are surrounded by basins of arid desert. Like islands on the sea, forest habitat is isolated above seven thousand feet. Yet there is ample territory to support a profusion of wildlife. These mountains boast more diversity of species than Yellowstone.

Isolated ranges provide some interesting topographical advantages, and challenges for locating Bigfoot. The habitable range is geographically contained. Rugged, mountainous terrain limits possible occupation areas, where water and flat, livable space is available. Human traffic is scarce, limited to designated campsites on mostly primitive roads. Few people know about the area, and most traffic is local.

I use these feature to advantage. Trail finding is easy in the area I survey. Obvious paths marked by tree leans, tree breaks and barriers cross the minimal network of roads on the mountain in several places.

The mountains are rocky, mostly steep ground a sane person wouldn’t venture through without a trail. Every canyon, meadow and waterway is brooded over by rocky caps on the peaks, where a single lookout can see all approaches.

dsci0023My technique is simple. I go light and alone except for my dog. I hike straight up a path of tree leans, quickly and quietly. I choose trails that lead a short distance to a ridge, or peak, where there is likely to be evidence of their presence. There is also the possibility of an encounter.

I don’t try to hide, my footsteps will give me away anyway. I simply move quickly, under the assumption it will take them a few minutes to realize I’m off the human trail and coming their way. I hope they hesitate to move away before I get close enough.

I don’t whoop, or call blast, or beat on trees, or perform any other stunt to “draw them in”. The only thing that would accomplish is chase them away, or bring them into my campsite at night, which is the last thing I want.

I’ve been rewarded about thirty percent of the time with a whoop, rock clacking or, in one case, a horrible smell. The whoops and rock clacks were authentic. There is no animal that could do either and I’m certain no humans were around. The smell – well, it wasn’t me. That is enough, along with marveling at their ingenuity with trees, to make the effort worthwhile. They work trees like we do flower arrangements.

Of course I want to see one. That’s the ultimate goal. But I don’t expect that to happen and be able to film it. Besides, I’ve crossed that Rubicon. I saw one in California several years ago. It screamed at me. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

I wasn’t looking for one then. Now that I am, will it scare the hell out of me again? Probably…but then, that is the adventure. I hope you enjoy these first episodes of Gila Bigfoot.

Thank you.