December 19, 1998

Dark Hike & Bluies

Went down to Babe's place. Babe's farm is up Beaver Creek canyon about 25 miles SW of Corvallis, Oregon or about 40 miles NW of Eugene, Oregon on the east side of the Coastal Mountain Range.

Her place is on an old logging camp and is the last house up the creek. Functionally, you when you are on her farm, you are in the Coast Range. Babe is my sainted mother-in-law. When I was 15, my parents moved from the Nebraska farm to a farm at the tail of the canyon, so I have tromped those hills for 35 years.

In the last 10 years, there have been three publicly reported incidents of Bigfoot activity within 10 air miles of the place. In 1998, some high school kids were scared out of their camp, later a sighting was reported with three witnesses. Mushroom hunters reported a series of tracks above Botke Road in the winter of 1999. There have also been other unusual happenings. For instance, two old apple trees were pulled over in different directions during apple season in Babe's old orchard in the fall of 1997. They did not go down because of wind, bears or water saturated ground. Something pulled them over.

Heavy overcast. Went walking with dog up the main logging road. Very dark, but not black. Eerie. Very dark, but not black. Hardly any light reflected off the clouds. Could see the silver of the roadway. Seriously quiet - no wind. Gravel crunched as I walked up the grade. I could see the dog coming back to me from about 50 feet away by the change of pattern on the silver as he ran along. It was the kind of night walk that I enjoy. Challenging dark and quiet.

Saw some points of light in the grass area up the road. It was wet. The lights came from little holes. I dug around one hole and pulled out a fat, juicy caterpillar about the size of 1/2 of my little finger. The light was on the end of the big critter and showed a beautiful blue-green. In the dark, it was a strong light and clearly illuminated the creases in the whole palm of my hand. With several, you could have easily read something up close. I got a couple more of the wonderful things.

Got back to the house and trouble. Apparently hadn't told SLB and Babe we were going for a walk. I tried to show them the caterpillars, but they had no interest and I was told to get the bugs out of the house. So I walked out to the old shop and tossed them into the pasture. It was a good night to think about BHB's and cougars and the like. Those two weren't talking to me. Just as well. I had gone 1/2 mile up the grade. It had taken a long time because I couldn't really see were I was going and I had spent quite a bit of time looking at the bugs spread out through the grassy field. The state had elected in no dog hunting for cougars a few years back. Now the cougars were starting to loose their fear of people. They were starting to go after livestock and people. Just think of me, nice succulent me, walking in the dark with a hungry cougar in the trees. They were around. I had seen their tracks in the snow and my parents had one go through their yard one morning last year.

Went for another walk up in the hills with the dog next afternoon. It was getting dark and two "mushroomers" came down the hill in their old truck. That's what they said they were doing, but they and me both knew no mushrooms this time of year. They were probably out doing a little poaching. Anyway, they wanted to know if I was lost and needed a ride. We got to talking. Asked them if they had seen any unusual tracks. They jumped right on that! Said they had seen four big barefoot tracks up Botke Road about a week before. The tracks were great big and had gone though a muddy area by the road. I didn't mention Bigfoot. They did. Botkle Road was about 4 miles northwest of where we were talking. Asked them if they would take me to the place. Gave them the telephone number. Never heard from them.

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