Sunday, April 26, 2009

Romping Rodents

Last night, I took my friend Will on a bigfoot adventure. He has been interested in sasquatches for a long time, and reached out to me through my website

Will has been a great contact for me. Having grown up near Sandy, OR, he knows the local mountains well, respects the 'squatch, and might like to fish even more than I do. He even set me up to catch my first salmon.

Speaking of Sandy, OR... At the Gallery at Alder Creek on Hwy 26, there is a great bigfoot statue. It caught my eye on from the road, so I had to turn around to get photographs.

The Gallery at Alder Creek
54737 E. Hwy. 26
Sandy, OR 97055

I spoke briefly to the man working in the carving shop. When asked if he thought bigfoots might be real animals, he replied with, "Well, you never know!" I like that attitude. Not blind acceptance nor rejection, just an open mind.

Returning to our drive, Will and I decided to see if we could get to the Timothy Lake area. The newspaper had reported that it would be accessible for the season trout opener. The newspaper was dead wrong because access to Timothy Lake was shut down from the east and the west by gates and deep snow. It took some driving, but we eventually found ourselves above Ripplebrook Ranger Station with no destination. I know a couple 'squatch spots near High Rocks, but never even got close to them due to the road conditions.

Heading further south along the Clackamas River, we explored a few other roads, but this always ended with us turning around and heading to lower elevations. We eventually found a home on a little-used logging road situated between Tarzan Springs and Big Bottom.

We spent an hour or more deploying several trail cameras using a variety of attractants. Most of that time was spent finding appropriate locations and hiding the cameras. Not only did we find good locations for the cameras, but we ran across a deer skull and a few scattered bones. (Our camp site was likely being used by deer hunters in the fall.) Honey (upon the recommendation of researchers in California), apples, and even sasquatch pheromone chips were used in concert with the trail cameras.

The pheromone chips were placed where a small creek flowed through a culvert under the road. During the day, wind currents travel uphill through the streambed (heat rising), but at night they travel downhill. The road supplies soft air currents in a perpendicular direction to the stream, maximizing the area of stinkiness. "Maximum stinkiness" is a goal not often gone for...

No bigfoot activity was noticed at all through the night. There were no audible sounds of any animals, actually. Even using thermal imagers, no mammals were seen until after midnight. All the night's animals that were seen were rodents, though I am not sure of the species. The thermal imagers do not show sufficient detail to discern species, only general blobby shapes. The following video is a compilation of rodent footage obtained by a stationary thermal recording unit.

We found it difficult to locate the trail cameras the next day, spending over half an hour before locating even one. We stumbled across a second deer skeleton while pushing through the brush, and this time I took a picture. There was plenty of sign of living deer as well in the area, probably from the previous night, including fresh scat and numerous clear prints in the forest duff.

Bigfooting almost always comes down to a combination of food, water, and shelter. There was flowing water nearby, and the forest was plenty thick. I'm guessing the missing food was probably down by the noisy Clackamas. Dropping in elevation would boost the temperatures a little too. I'll modify my approach for the next overnighter I manage.

Still, it was great to get out. I love to be out in the woods, and if I didn't I'm sure I would hate bigfooting. After all, most of the time nothing happens. If bigfoots were that common and easy to get around, this mystery would have been solved long ago.

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