Monday, May 31, 2010

"Flipy Meadow"




My schedule has been downright nutty lately.  School is winding down, time is short, and the smell of report cards is in the air.  My work day is a whirlwind of responsibilities and paperwork, both of which often eat up many hours after the standard work day.  Meetings, field trips, grades, paperwork, students, and more fill what seems like nearly every waking minute I have. After all that, I still try to have a little bit of "Cliff" left over at the end of the day for me.  It gets tough sometimes.

Still, a guy's gotta 'squatch...  So, I do.


Seizing the opportunity given by this holiday weekend, two friends and I set our course for adventure and headed to Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  Our ultimate destination was going to be one of several choices, all of which centered around the vast swamplands known throughout the bigfooting community as Skookum Meadows.  I was optimistic about the roads being relatively free of snow, which can be a real hindrance this time of year, but a combination of dreary weather, two-wheel drive, and icy patches thwarted our plans.


We initially tried to access logging roads to put us on the north side of Lone Butte, but were turned around by a fifty yard stretch of icy road.  I probably could have plowed through the snow drift, but the accompanying vehicle was only two-wheel drive, and would have most certainly gotten stuck.  No worries, though.  In zones of high 'squatch-potential like Skookum Meadows, specific locations need not be committed to.  There are plenty of other spots close by.


Our next plan was to head to the trail head of Placid Lake.  We couldn't even get close to that location.  The road was completely engulfed with snow, leaving us with little choice than to head somewhat back towards the direction we came.


We took a right at Lone Butte Snow Park and headed towards the gravel pit that so often is the campsite for bigfoot tourists wanting to camp near Skookum Meadows.  Many of these sight seers do not realize that this gravel pit is was the base camp for the expedition when the Skookum cast was obtained.  In fact, one needs to drive right by the actual site of the cast in order to reach the gravel pit.




The Skookum Cast site taken on 9/22/07,
seven years to the day after the casting event.

We almost got to where we were headed to, but again were turned around by snow.  I did notice a grouse, rabbit, and large blacktail deer all within a mile of each other.  Food was in the neighborhood.  It was time to do some exploring.  (My favorite.)


We drove back to road 3211 and did some scouting.  Before long, I saw a dark road heading into the  brush that seemed to call out to me.  Never being one to ignore a whim, I radioed to the other car to stay put for a few moments while I drove up the road a bit to see how it looked.


In a word, it looked squatchy.  The road twisted its bumpy way through a dark forest thick with brush.  Swampy areas were commonly seen where the plant life was not too thick to obscure the view.  Several times I found the vine maples on either side of the road making a veil through which I'd drive my vehicle allowing the branches to scrape across my truck's already tattered paint job.  I eventually found the road to be blocked by a dead fall, and backed down to the only medium sized clearing seen, which was fortunately only 80 yards behind me.  I radioed to the other vehicle that I had found our campsite.



Home sweet home.

Before long, my friends arrived and we started setting up camp.  I placed my tent near the edge of the tree line in hopes of inviting a close approach by a nocturnal visitor, while Craig and Barney practiced their bush craft skills and set up temporary shelters in the trees nearby.


After my tent was ready, I soon got to work putting three trail cameras along the access roads leading to (or from, depending on one's perspective) our camp.  I spent close to an hour finding appropriate locations to place each camera and meticulously hiding them under a layer of soil, ferns, sticks, and debris.


The night was spent walking, whooping, knocking, and recording until fatigue overtook us around 2 am.  The conditions for bigfooting were not optimal, either.  There was a steady rain that obstructed our hearing as it pitter-pattered on our tarps, hoods, and tents.  Having worked early that morning, I was ready to lie down at that point anyways.


Rising late the next morning, I found Craig making coffee.  He had been up for a while, and had gone walking to the southeast along a road to find a meadow just a few hundred yards away.  Having heard a chorus of frogs the wet night before, this made perfect sense.


The meadow was not on any of the maps nor GPS units we had with us.  Since we didn't know what to call it, we dubbed the location "Flipy Meadow," after Craig Flipy, who stumbled upon it that morning.  I don't have any idea if that location has a proper name or not, but for now "Flipy Meadow" seems just fine.



Flipy Meadow

We circumnavigated the meadow that morning.  Elk and deer prints were plentiful, and one set of boot prints were found in the mud at the margins of the bog.  Our party split up at one point with Craig and Barney circling back downhill to the road while I continued my lap around the meadow.  I found two small streams trickling out of the meadow which presented me with some easy tracking, but for the most part the ground was covered in brush and gave few opportunities for decent impressions.


After returning to camp, Craig and I explored the far reaches of the many forks in the road we were camped off of for most of the afternoon.  When night arrived, we found ourselves again doing the bigfooting routine.  This night would not be as quiet as the last.


Soon after our calls started, we heard the sound of sloshing from down towards the meadow.  Listening closely, it was clear that a large animal was wading in the shallow water of the meadow.  I hurried to ready my thermal imager only to find out that I was unprepared to film.  One of my two power supplies was depleted.  I decided that seeing a bigfoot through a thermal imager without recording it would be an embarrassing blog entry, so instead of rushing down with the therm to do just that, I took an hour to charge the power supply off of my car battery before leaving camp.  Craig and Barney had already gone down to the end of the road towards the meadow, and we were in constant radio contact.


The creature in the meadow could be heard moving about nearly the entire time the power supply was charging, giving us an opportunity to assess what it could be.  To me, it sounded like a creature trotting through shallow water.  We tried occasional knocks and whoops to see what affect this would have on the creature.  To our surprise, we had faint knocking replies from further to the south.  The creature in the meadow paid little notice to our sounds.  It seemed even less likely that this was a sasquatch at that point.


It turned out that I was correct, for when the power supply was sufficiently charged and I descended into the meadow I caught a glimpse of the trotting culprit.  As Craig, Barney, and I clumsily walked off trail through the dark without lights towards the meadow, I caught a the following footage on my thermal imager.




As you can barely see, there is an ungulate (probably an elk, based on the size of the creature and the distance from which it was shot) running from left to right soon disappearing into the woods.  Oh well.


Still, several knocking events were heard that night, as well as some branch breaking from a different direction.  I'm not positive that any of these were bigfoot related, but it's possible.  To the south, where the knocking was heard, is a popular stretch of road for campers, so it's at least possible that we were hearing door slamming or something similar.  So far, the review of the night's recording has not turned up any knocks on the audio file, but they could have been too faint for the recorder to pick up.  I still have several more hours to review.


Before retiring, I made some "molisquatch cocktails" and put out an apple pile.  Molisquatch cocktails are rags soaked in anything smelly and out of the ordinary for sasquatches to smell.  In this case, I used orange-flavored mouthwash.  The cocktails' sole purpose is to attract an sasquatch using their sense of smell and curiosity.


The next morning had me rising well before my companions.  I picked up the cameras, packed my gear, and hung out in the morning silence until they arose.  It had been since the Bob Saget gig that I had two consecutive nights in the woods, and I was very thankful for them.


When I checked the apple pile, I found the apples to be gone with nothing but small apple scraps left over.  Looking closely at the situation, I soon found the telltale tracks of crows in the muddy ground.  Crows and other birds are designed for flight, so they weigh very little for their size.  One can tell where birds have walked mostly from the marks their talons make as they hop around.  The area where the apples were had many small black holes in the mud indicating the sharp talons that made them.  They were not obvious at first, but it is our responsibility as amateur primatologists to spend the time to figure out what happened so we aren't too quick to blame a missing apple pile on a visiting sasquatch.  Having "bigfoot on the brain" is a dangerous affliction, if we are to be taken seriously as investigators.


Upon my return home, I reviewed the game camera pictures.  I was pleased to find some nice shots of coyotes and crows, which I will share with you.






Having literally stumbled upon Flipy Meadow, I am positive I'll be headed back there at some point.  It's a super squatchy area, complete with food, wildlife, swamps, and heavy cover.  Small creeks permeate the landscape, and we even had some possible knocks to indicate that somebody might have been home.


Now, I'm off to the east side of the Cascades for the week followed by a couple nights in Big Sur, CA next weekend.  Neither trip is bigfoot related, but that flavor of thing seems to follow me wherever I go.  I'll keep you posted.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Tom Yamarone!

The birthday boy himself.

I want to extend my warmest birthday wishes to one of my best bigfooting buddies, Tom Yamarone.  Today, he turns [censored] years old.

Tom is best known for his bigfoot song repertoire, often appearing at bigfoot conferences and campfires throughout the country.  His most recent appearance was at the 2010 Ohio Bigfoot Conference with Bob Gimlin.

Tom's songs are not only catchy, but they are factually accurate.  He writes the melodies and lyrics, using a Dylanesque song-writing style with witty rhymes and clever language to keep us smiling.

A lesser known facet to Tom is his unrelenting push for documentation of the sasquatch as a real animal.  He encourages beginner and veteran bigfooters alike to correctly document what they find and share it with the appropriate authorities.  I couldn't agree more.

Here is a short video of Tom in musical action.  He's actually standing in Bluff Creek a little less than a mile from the Patterson/Gimlin filmsite.


Happy Birthday, Tom!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dr. Meldrum and Bob Gimlin Together Again


Dr. Jeff Meldrum speaking of Bob Gimlin.
James "Bobo" Fay looks on.


The following is a press release from the Washington State History Museum:


Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum and Robert Gimlin at the Washington State History Museum June 5

What: Sasquatch: The Sightings, the Science, the Stories
When: June 5 @ 10:30 a.m.
Where: Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA
Cost: $18 includes museum admission and program. Museum member price $10.

Background: Two giants of Sasquatch research will be at the museum hosting an audience discussion of all things Sasquatch. Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum and Robert Gimlin will be discussing their collected evidence, taking audience questions, and meeting with attendees

Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, of Idaho State University and author of Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, is frequently seen on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the National Geographic Channel among others. His book is the companion volume to the highly successful Discovery Channel documentary of the same name. A professor of anatomy and anthropology, his work encompasses the evaluation of hominid footprints, including those attributed to Sasquatch, both in the lab and the field. The Giants in the Mountains: The Search for Sasquatch exhibit features casts Dr. Meldrum made in Eastern Washington.

Robert Gimlin and the late Roger Patterson filmed the infamous piece of Sasquatch evidence known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, notably frame 352, made in northern California. This film features a female Bigfoot striding next to a sandy creek. Expedition partner Robert Gimlin will discuss his experience on the Bluff Creek expedition and the famous encounter on the trail, made immortal in the 24 feet of film Patterson recorded.

The Washington State History Museum, flagship of the Washington State Historical Society, is located at 1911 Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma, just off 1-5. The museum presents exhibits, programs, and events that bring to life the stories of Washington's history. For more information, including hours and admission rates, please call 1-888-BE-THERE (1-888-238-4373), or visit our web site, WashingtonHistory.org.

Hours: Wednesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., with extended hours and FREE admission every third Thursday of the month, 2–8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admission: $25 for families (two adults and up to four children); $8 for adults; $7 for seniors, age 60 and above; $6 for students and military with valid ID; children, age 5 and below, and members are always FREE.

Contact: 1-888-BE THERE; WashingtonHistory.org
MEDIA CONTACT:
Kimberly Adams
public relations coordinator
253-798-5877
kadams@wshs.wa.gov

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last Weekend's Adventure

An invitation was extended for me to accompany some bigfooting friends on a scouting trip for a longer foray here in Mt. Hood National Forest.  I met up with three investigators on Saturday, March 15th near Ogre Creek on the Collawash River.  I had been wanting to see Ogre Creek for some time simply because of the name.  (It seems pretty obvious to me why a name like that was bestowed on the creek.)  

Even though all the right things were done that night, and we certainly had the right people there, no calls or knocks were heard.  The area is very 'squatchy and obviously holds great potential.  I sincerely enjoyed the company of all those in attendance, too.  Many times, that's what bigfooting is all about since it's so rare that sasquatches make an appearance.  

The view from a nearby mountainside.


The next day, we did our best to visit the nearby Glen Thomas site on Burnt Granite Ridge.  We tried to ascend to the ridge top using three different routes, but each time were turned back by formidable snowdrifts left over from earlier this winter.  We had our hearts set on seeing this bigfoot tourist spot, but our plans had to be postponed.  I will do my best to get there in the coming months.  

After our third failed attempt to get to the top of the ridge, we parted ways.  The two investigators from Washington had a long drive home, and the other had a wife and kid waiting.  Since I had nothing in particular to do (and actually was hoping to procrastinate on grading some papers), I decided to head to nearby Lake Harriet to see if I could locate a mine that had produced a sasquatch sighting back in the 1990's.  

A man from Estacada told me how to get to the mining area below Lake Harriet.  I followed his directions and easily found the mine, though I am not certain that this is the same mine opening.  The report says that the horizontal mine shaft was a "framed access hole," and the opening I found showed no indication of framing at all.  As reported by the Estacadian, there was a culvert which quietly leaked a steady cold stream of air from the darkness of the mine below.  He told me that one can access this mine through the culvert, but it is flooded.  Luckily for me, I left my flashlight in the car and was not very tempted to explore a dark mineshaft alone where nobody even knew I was.  Even I am not that foolhardy.  Almost, though.

The two mine openings.


I soon discovered that the horizontal shaft had been sealed off for more than a decade.  The date was clearly welded on the bars blocking my entry.  The sighting reportedly occurred in 1996, so this could jive with the time frame.  Still, I have my doubts that this is the same mine.  The report also puts the mine on Shellrock Creek, which is upstream from Lake Harriet.  Hmmm, inconsistencies...


Not being sure this was the mine I was looking for, I spent the next 45 minutes hiking around off-trail looking for other openings in the steep walls of the narrow canyon.  I could not locate any other mines before the sun started sinking a little lower than I was comfortable with considering I did not have my light (I've been caught far from camp without lights before).  


Walking back from the mine to my truck, I saw several rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa) wriggling across the muddy path.  I was wondering why they were so plentiful, but later found out that they were toxic to eat.  Good thing I wasn't hungry, though they sure looked good.




So my day of bigfoot tourism was a bust, though I did get to spend the night with good friends doing what I love best.  I'm headed to the woods again tomorrow night as I take some of my teaching staff members bigfooting for the second time.   I'll let you know how it goes.





Monday, May 17, 2010

Bigfoot Yardwork

Today is just beautiful.  It's almost 80 degrees and sunny here in Portland, OR.  I had to work today, but got home remarkably early: 4 o'clock.  It was so nice that when I got to my humble little man-shack, I decided to enjoy a refreshing beverage and mow the lawn.  Sounds like summer to me.  (Mmm, summer...)

Well, my lawnmower is kind of lame and only cut a third of my vast grassland before stalling and refusing to run anymore, forcing me to leave my lawn only partially trimmed.  My yard now reminds me of a really bad haircut cut by a blind stylist who fell asleep half way through the job.  I never could cut a decent lawn.  

The reason I'm telling you this is that when I just now hopped on my computer to check my email and do blog stuff, I found this movie in my inbox.  Thank you to the bigfoot-lover who sent this my way.  I love coincidences.

Here, for your amusement, is the kind of yard service/maintenance I am looking to hire.




Friday, May 14, 2010

Sign it for the 'Squatch

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I'm a huge fan of Jane Goodall.  This isn't just because she thinks that the existence of sasquatches could be a very real possibility.  At least as important would be that she's just an all around do-gooder, and the world needs as many of those as it can get.  

"For Cliff -
Together we can reveal the secrets still out there.
- Jane Goodall"

Dr. Goodall seems to be on the right side of primate legal issues, which all bigfooters probably should pay attention to.  After all, when sasquatches are proven to be real animals, they will probably be afforded the same rights as the other great apes.  (If sasquatches prove to be of our genus Homo, or even something entirely different, then the legal circus that follows will prove to be very interesting!)  The better our legal system treats the other great apes now, the better sasquatches will be treated later.  

I received an email from the Jane Goodall Institute today.  Signing their proposal was a no-brainer for me.  When I suggested Conservation Before Discovery several months ago, the protection of apes was a central part of that idea.  I'm always eager to do my part for the cause.

Habitat destruction is a common enemy of all the surviving species of great apes, including humans.  The problem of bushmeat (which is the killing and eating of apes) isn't a problem for humans (thank goodness), but is a grave threat to chimpanzees and the other African apes.  (I don't think sasquatches would have to face this problem, but there are some strange folks lurking in the woods...)

Please join me in doing a very small thing for the benefit of our closest biological family members:  Sign this petition.  Please read the email that follows and do the right thing.  A page from the Jane Goodall Institute will pop up after you sign the petition to request a donation, so help if you can.  (You already did help, just by signing the petition though.)  


Dear Cliff,

If you haven’t had a chance to sign the Jane Goodall Institute’s bushmeat petition—there’s still time! Dr. Goodall and I will be visiting members of the U.S. Congress the week of May 17, 2010 to educate them about deforestation in Africa, including the link between logging and the illegal commercial bushmeat trade. Please help us reach our goal of 15,000 signatures from our supporters by May 16, 2010.

The illegal commercial bushmeat trade is an issue that we can’t afford to ignore.

At the turn of the 20th century, there were approximately one to two million chimpanzees in the tropical forests of Africa. Today, scientists estimate that there are fewer than 300,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild. Habitat loss and the illegal commercial bushmeat trade are the two biggest threats facing wild chimpanzees, and these problems are inextricably linked.

The remoteness of chimpanzee habitat was once the chimpanzee’s greatest defense. But now major logging and mining businesses are encroaching deeper and deeper into forests, cutting roads into previously inaccessible areas and providing greater access to poachers who kill many species including endangered chimpanzees. In some cases these companies actually hire hunters to provide bushmeat for their employees. Scientists estimate that bushmeat hunters process 10,000 metric tons of bushmeat from African forests each year.

Please sign the petition and ask your representatives to support legislation that discourages the illegal commercial bushmeat trade and other destructive activities—like irresponsible logging and mining practices—that contribute to it. If you have already signed, please ask your friends and family to sign the bushmeat petition. We need all the help we can get.
Thank you so much for your support of my work and the Jane Goodall Institute.






Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quinault Elk Footage

While near Lake Quinault a couple weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to spy some elk crossing the river a few hundred yards ahead of my vehicle. I stopped and filmed several minutes of footage, which I edited down to the following clip.

Enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your computer chair!

Click the play button to be dazzled by two cautious elk.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bigfoot Found in the Redwoods

This 2008 California Redwood tourism video featuring our favorite environmental icon was recently brought to my attention.  It's corny, sure, but it either serves to heighten awareness of the animal in a small, harmless way, or it shows how prominent the 'squatch already is for the general public.
While the species still enjoys the protection of most folks not even thinking they're real animals, we should continue to expect light-hearted depictions such as this.  Sometimes I ponder how, or even if, this will  change after their eventual acceptance by the scientific community.  I suspect that bigfoots will become a high-profile icon for environmentalism and the green industry in general.  Smoky the Bear, for example, might be forced out of his cultural niche by a sasquatch in ranger's clothing.  We'll see.


By the way, it is not only wise for tourism boards to use sasquatches for promotion, it is wise for bigfooters to listen to their claims.  The redwoods are in fact an excellent place to go bigfooting.  The areas of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties in California are not only exceedingly beautiful, but they are exceedingly squatchy.  I personally know several people who have had sightings in Redwood National Park and the surrounding areas.


The redwoods are really 'squatchy.




Go check out the redwoods out if you can.  They are easy to get to, and are really one of Earth's greatest treasures.  Some coastal redwood trees tower at well over 350 feet tall, and can be over 2200 years old!  These forests have the feel of the holiest of cathedrals, or the grandest of monuments.  Having stood and even slept under the canopies of these giants, my words seem inadequate to describe the experience.  Go experience it for yourself.


Here's the video, and be sure to read the blurb from the California's Redwood Coast website that follows.





"From the Northern California redwoods from where Bigfoot originated, here is proof that the hairy fellow lives...and loves. Why is this place his home? 

Simple. He loves the redwoods. And Humboldt County has the tallest, largest and oldest in the world. In fact, half of the world's old growth redwoods are in the county, mostly in Redwood National & State Parks as well as along the renowned Avenue of the Giants. 

Bigfoot often escapes to the nearby mountains, especially around Willow Creek, home to the world's largest Bigfoot museum, as well as the location of the first Bigfoot encounter in 1958. 

The tall trees on the Redwood Coast include not one but three drive-thru redwoods. So if you want to visit the place where the legend of Bigfoot began, contact us so we can help arrange a sighting of the hairy hominid of Humboldt for you today. Info@redwoods.info or 800-346-3482."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sasquatches in Jim Henson's Muppet World

Jim Henson has been an influence in my life for as long as I can remember.  From Sesame Street to the Muppet Show, he has continually featured monsters in a variety of strange and bizarre skits.   Absurd humor permeates the Muppet world, both geared towards the children that adore the characters, as well as the adults who watch with their children.  Monsters, quirky humor, what more could a guy like me want from entertainment?

Many of these monster muppets are sasquatches, as far as I'm concerned.  Take Sweetums for example.  He's officially listed as an ogre, but aren't ogres basically sasquatches?  (There's an Ogre Creek between the Clackamas River and the Mollala area.  It seems more than likely that's a geographical bigfoot reference.)

Sweetums

Having recently stumbled upon the Muppet Wiki, I was pleased to find that sasquatches have infiltrated the world of the Muppets in a number of other ways.  Take for example the Muppet comic book appearance of a sasquatch engaging in hand-to-hand combat with Miss Piggy.  While the battle rages, Sam the Eagle is in the foreground ranting about how folks are gullible, using the belief in sasquatches as an example.  

The Muppet Show Comic Book: Meet The Muppets (Muppet Graphic Novels (Quality))
Issue #4 has the 'squatch.


Naysayer Sam the Eagle Rants


On Sesame Street, a character named "Big Foot" appeared in the Elmo's World segment called "Feet."  Big Foot is basically a large human foot.  In the character's own words, it's a foot long (not 12 inches).  At the end of the episode, Big Foot helps Elmo play piano with his feet.  

Big Foot and Elmo jam on the piano.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

2005 Priest River, ID




While  browsing through one of my hard drives this past weekend, I rediscovered some footprint photographs buried deep in my "Idaho" file.  No records of the source accompanied the files, though I seemed to have a brief narrative written by a witness.  If I had to guess, I'd say I pulled these off of some online forum or other sometime in the last two or three years.  

Having a little extra time, I decided to add a page featuring these prints to my online database of casts and impressions.  The following is directly from my website.  



I'm not sure where I picked up these photographs. If they are yours, please contact me. I would be very interested in speaking to you, as I deem these to be excellent prints.

What I do know about the photographs is that they come from the Priest River of Idaho in Bonner County. Here is a short narrative written by a witness:
"These pictures were taken on 02/23/05 in priest river idaho by a friend of mine, Larry S. The ruler in the picture measures 15". The tracks were 17"x7" and a step measured 5' from toe to the heel of the track ahead. 



There was patches of snow, most of it melted. About 8 tracks were left. He said it came through some pine trees and stopped where it came into view of the house. These pictures and a video of the tracks and area were taken. A plaster cast was made. The owner has the cast and the video is in Oklahoma. A 2 1/2" silver gray hair was found in one of the tracks but was lost in the snow while putting it in a bag. The owner had been seeing moose and was out walking around the area a week prior, no tracks were found then. The owner has 5 acres that connect to 200 acres that connect to forest service land. None of it is open to the public. A deer kill was found on the forest service land. I was told it looked mangled and torn apart. I asked if it had any broken bones. I was told its rib cage was crushed. They contacted a game warden and was referred to someone else. They had no one to send out to look."



That's all I know. If you have something to add to this report, please let me know by clicking this link!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1996 Dr. Jeff Meldrum


An excellent track showing a midtarsal ridge.

Dr. Jeff Meldrum and his brother Michael were driving back to Idaho from a visit with Dr. Grover Krantz in his laboratory in Pullman, WA when they decided to pay Paul Freeman an unnanounced visit on February 18, 1996. Dr. Meldrum had not met Mr. Freeman before, but it didn't take long for Freeman to see that Meldrum was serious about footprint casts. Freeman invited Meldrum to see the first prints of the season, found just that morning.

Side view showing mid-foot flexibility.


Suspecting a hoax, Meldrum agreed to see the tracks. How could Freeman have heard about the unplanned, unannounced visit to Walla Walla? Either way, Meldrum decided he had nothing to lose and went with Freeman to the trackway's location in the foothills of the Blue Mountains outside of Five Points, WA.

Freeman repeatedly talked down the trackway, claiming it wasn't that good. He didn't even cast the prints since he had found much clearer before. To Meldrum's trained eye, however, the trackway was excellent. What Freeman considered flaws in the prints were testaments to their authenticity in Meldrum eye, showing the sponteneity and animation of the foot.

Of particular interest to Meldrum was a half-cast showing distinct toe-slides. The marginal toes had impressed into the side walls of the track, showing indications of the toe segments. There were three toe segments on the outside of the foot, but only two corresponding to the big toe; a subtle anatomical feature not likely known by Freeman if he were to fake tracks like this.

The "toe slide" half cast.


After dropping Freeman off at his home, Meldrum and his brother returned to the trackway location for a closer look. They found that Freeman was incorrect in his description of the pathway of the animal. They found a section of the trackway that Freeman had not examined (as was evident by Freeman's own footprints found in the area), and indeed didn't even know was there.

Seven prints were cast that day. This was Dr. Meldrum's first introduction to evidence in the field, and it had a profound effect on him.

Close up of the toe slides.


Dr. Meldrum has published a few short papers analyzing these and other prints. One of the best, though shortest, is his paper, "Evaluation of Alleged Sasquatch Footprints and Their Inferred Functional Morphology." In this paper, original photographs of the casts, as well as the prints in the ground, can be seen. These casts are also compared with other footprints from the data set for congruency. It is well worth your time to read.

Speaking of things that are well worth your time, reading Dr. Meldrum's book is mandatory for any serious bigfoot investigator. In the introduction to his book, he goes much further in depth regarding the circumstances surrounding the finding and documenting of this trackway than I did here.  



For more information about these and other casts,  as well as higher quality photographs, please look at the footprint/track database on my website.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sighting and Footprint from the Sierras

Back in August of 2007, I had the opportunity to interview a forest service botonist who saw a sasquatch just a few days before.  He was walking off trail behind a closed ski resort on his way up to an isolated meadow when he noticed a tall, thin creature peering at him from behind a stump.

The witness was hiking from the ski resort (upper left) to
Bryan Meadows (lower right) when he spotted the creature.


Previous to this sighting, the ski resort staff was complaining of a troublesome bear raiding the garbage cans at night.  Another note of interest would be the observation by the witness that the nearby stream was thick with brook trout.  He noted that in his 26 years of working as a forest service botonist, he had never seen so many of the fish in any stream.  We went on to say that they were so thick you could walk on them, which is obviously an exaggeration, but that's how we humans speak.

A large impression was found nearby where the creature ran uphill to escape the area.  It isn't clear exactly how long it is, but by browsing around the internet, I have found that the radio is likely to be between 14 and 15 inches long, including the antennae.

Scuff mark in the path of the escaping creature.


This sighting report is interesting to me for a couple reasons.  First, the animal was thin.  I think too often we assume that sasquatches only come in one size: big and thick.  I have taken many reports in which the witness describes the creature as thin.  However thin they are described, it is always noted that the creatures appear to be strong and muscular.  (One witness in describing a tall, thin sasquatch told me it was built like Kobe Bryant and the muscles were obvious and well-defined.)

Another notable thing about this sighting is the nearby food source.  Not only was the sasquatch possibly raiding the garbage cans at the closed-for-the-season ski resort, but there was a superfluous supply of easily catchable fish in the small stream flowing nearby.  The witness told me that since the fish were so small, anglers probably wouldn't bother with them.  Besides, this was private land on a closed ski resort, and no anglers were likely to be there.  I have found again and again that sasquatches can be found in areas with a readily available protein supply.  Food, cover, and water are the three most important items to any animal, and sasquatches are no exception.

For you report junkies, the following is what the witness reported:
 Today, August 23, 2007, I was hiking off-trail in El Dorado County, California in the forest 60 feet north of the Bryan Meadow trail, when at about 10:30 a.m. I saw a tall dark figure peering around a large red fir stump. This was from perhaps 100 feet away, I quickly walked up to the stump, but there was no one there. It would have been possible to move uphill away from me using the large stump as cover, but only a very athletic person could have managed this in the time available.

Moving then uphill and to the SE, I regained the Bryan Meadow trail and there noted a large footprint, which I photographed next to my two-way radio. It is about twice the length of my foot, (a size 12 boot size). I do not know the source of this print, but it was where the rapid retreat occurred.

I had just parked at the Sierra Ski area (Short Stuff run), and begun walking up the forest north of the trail to Bryan Meadows. I was moving quietly and slowly, crossing from the north side of the stream to the south without being on any trail. Another biologist was still moving up the canyon on the north side of the stream, but was well ahead of my position.

It could have been a human, but the person would have to have been wearing all uniformly dark clothing and had a dark complexion or been wearing dark paint. Head to knee, the figure was a uniformly dark hue and no other detail was discernable, except that the shoulders were slightly more narrow than the average person would be, and the height was at least 6'-3" to 6'-5". The figure was peering at me from the west end of the stump, leaning forward, so that all above the knee was visible. The figure was of a uniformly dark color, perhaps black.


For the full report from back in the day, you can click this link.