Monday, July 12, 2010

Knock Knock, Who's There? Part 1

I had been trying to get out of town for most of the week, but obligations have a way of seeping into my life.  Thursday was the day that finally brought me back into the wilds of the Oregon Cascades.  It was good to be back.  I would meet my frequent bigfooting partner and friend of the 'squatch, Will Robinson, the following day, but for Thursday night I was on my own.

My first destination would be Timothy Lake.  I had always avoided Timothy Lake because of the high human traffic that it draws.  People from all over camp in developed campsites there, including partying kids from the nearby towns of Estacada and Sandy.  Probably because of the number of people in the area, there are a good number of sightings from Timothy, which would be expected.  I would not be looking at the campgrounds around the lake itself (though I think that if these were worked correctly, they could be good bigfooting spots), but rather the swamps along the borders of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

Timothy Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest.


I spent a couple hours driving the area, but I kept running into "No Trespassing" signs indicating the borders of the reservation.  Being highly respectful of Native Americans, I chose to obey the signs and keep off of their lands.  Native Americans have been so screwed by the dominant culture, it seems to be the very least I could do.  Still, I would need to make another plan...  Looking at other options, I chose to camp at nearby Dinger Lake.

It took considerable time to find the correct road that would lead me to the lake due to the many dead ends I encountered on the way. I snaked through the maze of logging roads, eventually finding a campsite only 100 yards from the waterline.  The mosquitoes were insane with blood-lust, and Cliff was on the menu.

A muddy road begged me to inspect it closely for footprints, so I obliged.  Raccoons, deer, squirrels, and birds had all stepped through the road, but no bigfoots.  Pushing further, I took a detour down a narrow animal trail that hugged the shoreline and soon found myself on the far side of the lake before heading back to camp before dark.

Squirrel tracks in the mud.


Shortly before 10:30, I was putting some gear into my vehicle when an unsolicited vocalization chimed from the north.  It was a medium-pitched howl, approximately two or three seconds long, that never repeated itself.  The sound was too faint to be picked up by my recorder.  I wish I could share it with you and see what you thought...  Was it a sasquatch?  Maybe.  Could it have been an owl?  Maybe, but I don't think so. All I can say is that I think it might have been what I was looking for.  Slightly fired up, I spent the next several hours listening to the drone of insects and night sounds without hearing anything else that piqued my bigfooty interest.  Still, one night and one possible bigfoot sound.  Not bad.

I was to meet Will the next day at a location near the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.  The rendezvous point was a wetland meadow that has a history of knocking events, but no vocalizations.  We wanted to see if we went knocking, would somebody be home?

An arm of the shallow meadow/lake near our camps.


Arriving several hours earlier than our meeting time, I took the opportunity to walk around the small lake that had formed from the unusually heavy spring rains and snow.  My goal was to find out what kind of animals were using this area, as well as keeping my eye out for sasquatch footprints.

Deer seemed to be abundant.  I found faint bear prints at the far side of the marsh, along with very clear prints from some sort of heron.  Pollywogs infested the shallows, basking in the 80+ degree water.  There were tiny toads in the grass clumps near the water.  Food was abundant.

At one point, I encountered likely human prints coming down through a clear cut to the lake.  A dog accompanied the person.  Faint boot prints showed in the dry ground, yet barefoot prints were still visible in the mud near the water's edge.  I photographed them for your viewing pleasure, but also to again illustrate that footprint photographs rarely look very good at all.  In person, the toes could be clearly seen and extend to the tip of my tape measure, though it looks like they start somewhere around the two inch mark.  Remember this the next time you see a photograph of a really good sasquatch footprint:  if it looks good in a photo, it must have been magnificent in person.

Human prints near the water's edge.


The pond was deep enough to allow a quick dip before I wandered through the woods back to my camp.  Only the top two or three feet of the pond was warm at all, so the swim was refreshing in the hot sun.  Cooled off, though a little mucky, I returned to my vehicle.  A chair, a beer, and my guitar were my only companions for several hours before Will showed up.

Will and I chose to camp about 200 yards apart.  This was partly to camp in the only two campsites in the immediate area, assuring that we would be the only campers there that night (Bigfooting when others are near can be rude).  Another reason we wanted to do this was to do knocks and calls back and forth from different locations, which seems to be particularly enticing to sasquatches.

Nearby my camp and in direct line of site from my vehicle, we placed a "gift pile" of apples and onions.  A thermal imager would be trained on the location and left running all night.

A short while after midnight, I heard the sound of a distant car door shutting.  I radioed to Will to verify that he just shut his car door.  He did in fact do so, so I let my adrenaline return to normal levels.  A little while later, I heard the door shut again, and then one more time a few moments later.  I didn't think much of it until Will radioed to me asking, "Did you hear that?!"

"I heard your car door slam shut," I replied.

"Yeah, but after that.  Did you hear the knock?"

Apparently, Will turned off the light in his truck's cab and shut the door.  A few moments later, a loud, clear thump resonated from the woods to his north.  What I thought was a second door slam was actually a loud knock from the forest.

Somebody was home.

More from my most recent adventure, including audio recordings, in my next blog entry.

4 comments:

  1. Very exciting. We, husband Chris and I, went hiking around Eel Lake just south of Winchester Bay, Oregon, in the middle of the week. We are always looking for footprints. I enjoy your blog very much. Linda from www.bigfootballyhoo.blogspot.com

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  2. Cool! Can't wait to read more about it. I really need to get out and go camping while it's still nice here in New England. Probably won't do any bigfooting, but I miss the woods!

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  3. Next best thing to being there, nicely written. You should write a book -- I'd buy a copy. Heck, I'd even publish it.

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  4. Great stuff Cliff. Nice writing as well,I agree with the artfuldrudger,you should join the bigfoot book parade simply because you write so much better than most. Peace and good squatching.

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