May 13, 1999 - Thursday
Eat Skunk Cabbage?
One of a series of imprints up Indian Henry Road 5/99.
Discarded, partly eaten skunk cabbage nearby.
Went up the hill with Trapper Steve. Took my truck. Topped off gas at Estacada Texaco as usual and went to Thriftway to get sausage and cheese. I had bought some real good stuff for our snack, but had left it at home. Took three bottles of water today, but didn't have any ice to put in them.
Overcast, occasional showers all day. Only once, at the snow line was some spitting snow.
Went up Indian Henry. Road closed. Construction trailers. Wife was in a 5th wheel trailer at the little construction camp. She was suspicious at first that we had stopped in. Normal. We told her that we wanted to follow up on some "wildlife research" near 6321 road. She said to wait for her husband to come down for permission. She expected him in 15-20 minutes.
Had a nice talk while waiting. "What wildlife?" Gently told her. Scared her a little. She goes walking alone with her little dog. She got more scared just as we were standing there. I told her not to worry. They were benign beasts and man only sees them by accident. Told her that I only knew of two documented cases of a Sasquatch touching a man and they both occurred up in Canada (Ostman and Indian Charlie). I did not tell her that those occasions were associated with a Sasquatch kidnapping a man or that Native American legends speak of carried off women! She calmed down.
Later, Steve about burst when we got private, but it was only a ½ laugh for both of us. Anyway, she wrote down our names and telephone #'s because she probably thought more about us ripping off the equipment than anything else and that calmed her down even more. Her husband didn't show, so we left.
We didn't have a plan for the day. Decided to drive up to Steve Sites on the Collawash. Went up to Steve Site #2. Lots of new foliage. Had to push through the river bottom brush. All of the apples, most of the lettuce and the Spam had been eaten. The cabbage had been rolled, but not eaten.
Took the steep climb to the top. Steve went down the ridge to Steve Site #1 and I crossed over to Peat Creek side of the ravine. Went all the way to the highway. Lots of green bursting out. Reduced visibility. Met at the drop down point within seconds of each other!! Steve had just gotten there. His clothes blended in with the shadows and the forest colors so well, I didn't see him standing 20' away, then I got sight of the beads on his hat band. He had heard me, but said he couldn't see me until just about then too.
Very tired. The bone in my foot had popped out. Damn. Doesn't hurt at the bone, but makes the foot swell up in the boot. Long time since that's happened. Result of old car accident. My old hiking boots are only 6"ers. I need the tall ones. Also, they are getting too flexible with age.
Down at the truck, looked at the new grips he had put on his 44 magnum revolver. Much better than the wooden ones. No shooting today. We just didn't feel like it. He gave me two boxes of premium 357 magnum shells he had special ordered. They were boxes of 20 each and had special hardened lead bullets.
Drove up Granite Peaks road. It's a one laner with log truck turnouts. Snow block at mile 5 ½. Lots of side roads, most of them gated. Animal refuges? Keep out wood poachers? We had seen wood poachers several times up there. They liked to work the good log decks - much easier when it's already been pulled out and right beside the road. Not hard to find if you drive enough. Leftover's from thinning operations, road clearing, and the like. The poachers almost always have canopies on their truck beds. The Law Enforcement agents can't tell what's in there so easy. They always look up quick with apprehension when you go by. It's a big deal to be caught stealing wood up in the national forests.
Up high, some snow spitting out of the overcast. No see tops of surrounding mountains and ridges, so no good id of our place. Power lines sort of parallel the road for a long ways going up slope (or down, depending on direction). Major engineering and construction go into those big power lines crossing the mountains. Cliff says that at night, when conditions are right and they often are, the lines make the air glow around them and they look like beautiful long strings going up and down. We hadn't seen that ourselves, but want to sometime.
Steve had his new video camera along, but it was too crappy up there to take any film. We decided to drive back down to Indian Henry and see if we could get up the virgin timber area and measure up the "shelter." When we got to the construction camp, the woman said that her husband had given permission to go up to the 6321 road, but to park clear of the roadway.
"Look for what is out-of-place," Trapper Steve Kiley.
First time on the road when there was no snow. Shorter walks without the weight of the sorrels. About ¼ mile past the gate, right along the edge of the road in snow melt-off water Steve saw a skunk cabbage that had been pulled and partly eaten! What's special about that? First, not a lot eats skunk cabbage and second, it had to be brought to the place where it was from some distance. The nearest skunk cabbage we could find was about 100 yards away.
Second, there were large, difficult to interpret impressions in the soft granular mud along side of the road. The impressions distinctly showed what could be five toes. They had well defined side cuts and did not compare at all with our boot prints in the same material. They showed a creature that had walked from the east, stopped, turned around and then walked up into the second growth. The place where the skunk cabbage was lying was simply like we would toss off a chicken leg when we are done eating on it.
This place was about ¼ mile from Joe Site 1 where the difficult to interpret impressions were made in the heavy moss early this year. It was about 2 miles from where Steve found the "tracks" going up the dirt bank. It was about 5 air miles from where we cast the "track." It was about 3 miles from where Ray Crowe and others found a series of tracks about 5 years ago. It was about ¼ mile away from the "structure." Steve took video of the water filled impressions and I took still pics. We bagged the skunk cabbage and gave it to Ray Crowe for his archives. Ray gave the twisted off scotch broom back to Steve. Don't think he puts much truck in it. That's genuinely OK with us. We still really think its something special.
Went down and studied the "structure." Had a Yes and No impression of it in the bright spring air. Seemed more like a shelter when the sky was dark and the air full of rain or mist. It was made like the cuts on a pie crust from 4 main downed trees. The trees were about 5-8" in diameter or 16-24" in circumference. The longest, running from the NNW was about 40' long. They all intersected over a fallen and rotting log that was about 40" diameter. This log could easily have been a sleeping or resting backdrop. A game trail went directly through the intersection of the trees.
The branches of tree #1 were not big or wide enough to pull down, #2. Likewise for #2 to #3 and #3 to #4, or vice versa. The other logical explanation would be that a whirl wind had brought them down. That theory did not seem consistent with the other fallen trees in the area, which were definitely just random falls. In addition, the forest canopy above the "structure" did not seem damaged, even in the past. The "structure" was under some big trees. The angle of all the fallen trees was about 30 degrees, very consistent. The west opening leading to under the mid-point looked much like the entrance to a cave. The center was about 50" high and the width was about 30". The game trail went through the opening. The height of the sheltered area was about 65" with no restrictions on width and about 85" where the big rotting tree reduced the inside area. Steve took lots of video. Please note the attached sketches from my notebook.
Explored the old growth. About 40 acres it felt like. Various stages of reprod all around it. Very diverse terrain. Streams on the north and south sides of the general area going down to a flat with very diverse terrain, including mountain meadows. The area was a winter holding area for deer and elk. Obviously, predators would also be there.
Both tired. Lots of tromping today. 148 driving miles too. On the way back, decided to reduce the effort until animals had finished moving to summer range. Ha! That's likely.
Important to us note. Companion had called me on April 23, 1999. He had been up in northwest Washington on an outing with another enthusiast. Deep in some reprod, he had found the very same type of "structure" as the one he found up Sandstone Creek the day he was up there with me, the one we just described. He said it was very old, but the same sized trees, same lengths, same drop pattern, same about everything.
This is the end of volume one of the Bigfooting notes. There were many entries made of telephone calls discussing facts and opinions on the subject. The days spent going to WBS activities were not included. Work notes on the "Standard Sasquatch Area" theory from the volume are not included. The listed notes are simply day trips to the hills (mountains to most of you, although I don't generally think of them as mountains until I get above 5,000' or am on the slope of a big one like Mt. Hood).
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