Sunday, December 11, 2011

Afterbirth of a Legend - Part 2 - Solo at Bluff Creek

This is the second installment of my irregularly scheduled behind the scenes debrief.  I do these articles after every episode, though this one has been tough to do since I've been on the road for four months filming the second season of Finding Bigfoot.  Still, for you patient folks, here it is.  Enjoy.

After our first night investigation, Bobo, Ranae, and Matt went back to Willow Creek, leaving me out in the wilds. With me was Craig Flipy, who would be filming my “solo” adventure. I was thankful to have Craig there because he and I work together on a very regular basis. We film our after-episode video debriefs, and have made a number of short webisodes about our forays into the wild. I was also given four nights in the woods to make some good bigfoot TV, as opposed to the three nights originally proposed. A new feature for season two of Finding Bigfoot is that one of us spends some time with only a bigfooty cameraman to try to get a close approach by a bigfoot. The fact that I was given an extra night was good news, as was the fact that I got to do it in Bluff Creek, an area I'm intimately familiar with.

Craig Flipy

The first night was spent on the old Bluff Creek Road that parallels the creek right above Louse Camp. There have been two sightings on that short section of road over the last three years. Bedding down in the middle of the path seemed like a good way to have a bigfoot stumble over you, so I went for it. I only got quail on my game camera that night. It was still nice to sleep out under the stars.

During my solo investigation, there are lots of scenes of me walking through beautiful meadows. These are located at Laird Meadow, half way up the slope from Louse Camp to Onion Mountain. Laird Meadow is actually a broken chain of meadows that extend on both sides of the road for nearly a mile. Separating these meadow oases are woods, with dense, shrubby undergrowth. Laird Meadow is the site of some interesting footprints found back in October 20 of 1963. A Forest Service timber cruiser named Pat Graves ran across Roger Patterson on October 21, 1963 and told him about some nearby prints that he saw the day before on a logging landing (Roger wrote in his book that the prints were found in 1964, but the original casts had the date etched into their backsides, and clearly stated 1963). I go to Laird whenever I can. There are some excellent meadows for tracking, and there is certainly a ton of food and animals in the area to make it worthy of a look when I'm in the neighborhood.

Excellent tracking substrate in Laird Meadow

I set some cameras in the transition zone, where the meadow meets the wood line. There was an obvious game trail, and I thought that this was a decent place to try to catch a mountain lion or bigfoot on camera. A predator could easily scan the meadows from the safety of the woods from this trail. When placing cameras for bigfoots, always look for the strategic terrain. While it's certain there were a lot of deer in the area, I didn't get any pictures of my targeted quarry.

The next night was spent near Dry Lake. I got word of a sighting that occurred nearby only the week before. The night was spent making calls and throwing rocks off a ridge line and going for short night walks. No responses were heard before eventually retiring for the night.

The next day was spent on a hike to the confluence of Bluff Creek and Bigfoot Creek. Back in 1994, I found a trail of 14.5 inch footprints and a tree break where the road comes down to the floodplain of Bluff Creek. From this location, a half mile walk downstream brings you to where the small brook of Bigfoot Creek flows into a deep turquoise pool in Bluff Creek. A Yurok man told me that the creek is named Bigfoot Creek because that's where the bigfoots came to fish salmon. Looking at the deep pool at the confluence, I can see why that would be true. A pool of this size would certainly be an obvious holding ground for migrating salmon resting as they moved upstream.

This is the tree that I found broken in 1994.
It has grown a bit since then, but I'm pointing
at the location of the break.

We changed locations again that night, moving camp to one of my favorite places to bigfoot. I call this area the "Water Spot" because it's a marshland off the beaten path where I've had some of my closest bigfoot encounters. I knew that if there was food there, I'd have a good chance that bigfoots might be around, too.

I did a scouting trip around the marsh. There weren't a ton of deer around, though there were a couple. At one point, I found clear footprints of a black bear. It was walking on fallen logs and through grass at the marsh's edge. Another 200 yards ahead, I found the prints of a bear cub. A mother bear and cub can be bad news, but it's just something that you take in stride when you're camping in areas with abundant amounts of food for wildlife. Bigfoots and bears both go to the same places, deal with it.

A clear black bear print from the marsh.

A black bear cub print found nearby.

That night, Craig cooked salmon on the open fire using cedar planks. The smell of cooking fish swept downwind. Darkness fell and we went for a night walk, but our calls and knocks elicited no response. Back at camp, we observed a bear forage in the swamp by watching it in the thermal imager.

I did a couple tree knocks by hitting a log against a fallen tree. What doesn't come through very well on television was the response I got. From the southwest came a large boom, wood on wood, echoing from the valley below. It was distant, but unmistakeable: a huge response to my knock. They were there.

Later in the night, right across the swamp from me, two heat signatures could be seen in the thermal imager. One was bigger than the other, and they were seemingly quadrupeds. It soon because apparent that I was seeing the mother bear and cub I tracked earlier in the day. They were busy feeding on pond lilies. I made it a point to keep track of them. I figured they already knew I was there, and it would be best to know where they are at all times, especially since we cooked salmon on the open fire for dinner that night.

At one point, the mother bear stopped feeding and watched to the south. It then rushed out of the water and onto the hillside while making low grunting noises and stomping through the brush. The cub followed a few moments later.

Puzzled, I kept scanning the hillside catching occasional glimpses of the bears as they appeared in openings between the trees. When they had nearly crested the hill, I found out why they had so immediately left the area. Branch breaking and brush crashing started from the south. Something very large and noisy was entering the area and not trying to hide its presence. The keen senses of the mother bear alerted it a full minute before whatever it was got to the area, and she fled with her cub.

There are two possibilities as to what this intruder could be: a big male bear, or a bigfoot. I sat still, listening and scanning across the swamp for a glimpse of the intruder. After the brief, but violent crashing noises announcing its approach, I heard nothing else from that side of the water. I saw no signs of whatever it was. A thorough search of the area the next day yielded no prints or sign.

Enjoy some other pictures from my solo adventure in Bluff Creek:

In the woods adjacent to Laird Meadow

Laird Meadow

Where Bigfoot Creek flows into Bluff Creek.


  1. Great report as always Cliff.

    Greg Roberts
    Medford, Oregon

  2. out of Mountain Home Ark has article today you must see. (12-13-2011) Remember the one that came back for candy bars? Could you stick it and a gps device to one of those rat glue pads and it might stick long enough to track him awhile? Or sleeping pills. Or use ape estrus like they do deer estrus. Just don't get it on you. Seriously see article.

  3. I love the behind the scenes reporting and pictures. The last picture is a hoot.

  4. It looks like you had an interesting couple of days.It is so beautiful there!Cliff, do you ever become really frightened when you are out in the field and hear these animals close by? Does fear fuel your passion for Sasquatching? The signs are funny! Keep up the good work.

  5. I'm not sure, but that last sign "Feeling Lucky" may be a marker for a miners claim. There is Gold in that part of the state you know.