Elk Meadows Ronnyvoo 2014
Elk Meadows Ronnyvoo
The last tendrils of flame had diminished into the depth of the night at our campfire. It had been a very full day with a four hour round trip to Willow Creek included.
While in town we had enjoyed a restaurant cooked lunch, an outing to Al Hodgson’s “Bigfoot Museum” where I was invited to show my three books now in publication and asked to consider speaking at their annual festival. There was also a visit to the Bigfoot Community Camp to meet and interact with those who had trekked there for that purpose… the one hour and forty five minute drive back to camp was pleasant but without incident, a rare occurrence during this twelve day outing, as we saw only the small critters of the biome and none of the megafauna who reside there. It was the first time in a week that we had made the circuit without seeing at least a bear. There were ample deer, quail and grouse in evidence to assure us that all was well, herein, however.
The evening drive was most pleasant with the day’s light below the western ridges except for the occasional and rare moment we could surprise Grandfather Sun
in his daily task of making the mundane of evening into the spectacular of Sunset. Tonight he seemed to be especially diligent in providing a Premium Quality experience. It became such that there was absolutely nothing to do but stop and record some of his better works. We had just made the transition from the paved surface of the 15 Road onto the rough and rocky 14NO3 Road when his full majesty manifested itself as Chimney Rock with his partner Turtle Rock emblazoned themselves across the canvas of his sky. We three travelers were simply in awe of the view as shutter after shutter snapped in recording the scene.
Two and a half miles and some fifteen minutes later, our little troupe spotted smoke rising from the area of our camp’s fire ring. We knew we had brought our fire to its “Full Out” condition before leaving for town this morning so I suspected what was happening and, surely enough, as we passed Stanley and his guarding minions to have a full and unobstructed view, there was our Nancy busily getting our fire built up against our imminent return. The timing was impeccable as we were able to exit our car in the rapidly diminishing rays of light to the warmth and comfort of a welcome home fire!
Dinner was done, the dishes clean and stored when the evening’s “entertainment” commenced. In addition to the usual litany of stick snapping, tree knocking and grunts, our hairy hosts added a repertoire of howls to the night air. Although not close, these long, even howls were just up the ridge from us. Indeed, they were near enough that no nuance of sound was lost to us. That we had visitors in the creek immediately behind our creek was evident. The sounds of walking in the creek bed and the movement and chucking of rocks was apparent.
By this evening, number seven in camp, we were nearly immune to the foibles and follies of the indigenous hairy people. Jackie had retired and Kathi and I
remained by the fire awhile longer in hopes of more intimate contact. Finally, the long day began to exact its revenge on us… especially me… so I bid her a good evening and retired to my tent and my ritual of preparing my evening meds, my bed and my reading material.
It was the work of several minutes to accomplish all necessary to allow me to retire. My medications were taken, Insulin injections complete, clock wound (I hate awaking in the dark of night and wondering just what the time was…), heater lighted and clothes and paraphernalia arranged and stored against the night. Since, on this night, there were to be but two of us in my large tent, this storage was a bit more haphazard than is normally the case.
There were two items that caused me to smile when I arranged my tent for sleeping. First is the beautiful Father’s Day card I received from my newest friends, Nancy and Russ “Gizmo” Cobb (I have never seen ANYONE so adept at making something utile and desirable from next to nothing in my LIFE!). The other is a stone… just a piece of igneous rock with an inordinately high iron content that called to me as I moved through camp early on in our stay. It should be noted here that stones and I have long felt an affinity for one another to the point that, when younger… in the middle years of the last century… it was not uncommon for me, after a particularly exceptional day of feeling “called” by one stone or another, for my my jacket pockets to arrive back at my home a full ten to fifteen minutes after I did! Now that said, I smiled as I moved this “special” stone to its night resting position from its daytime post.
My nest had been built and I was just undressed but not yet in my bed when it came out of the night… it was loud… as loud as any utterance I had heard this trip, causing me to immediately climb back onto my feet…
“THOM… THOM…” the cry resounded off the surrounding cedars… “Help me Thom… I can’t move… Oh my brother… my sister… I’m so sorry but you scared me! I didn’t expect you to be there… THOM! I need help now! Oh, my dear brother or sister, I’m so sorry… Thom, where are you?”
“I’m coming Kathi,” I called out to her… “just let me get my pants on and I will be there in a moment…”
“Hurry… I can’t move and he’s HUGE… Please hurry!”
For all those who know me, it’s understood that my “hurry” mode is not all that fast with the exigencies of age plying their wares on my physicality, but I really did do my best to speed my way along… even to the point that I disregarded the need for such amenities as shoes, socks or jacket in my desire to rescue this damsel from her durance vile.
It must be understood that, until now, I had no idea of what this threat was constituted. I knew not what the plague consisted of nor did I know how close disaster actually was. My first thought was “BEAR” as we had been seeing so many of them in our travels. Nancy had even had an encounter just up the road from camp no more than a hundred and fifty yards from Kathi’s obviously now beleaguered tent. Her appealing to it as “brother or sister” tended to make me disbelieve this bear theory, as I knew of no such beings in her close family.
Kathi is not one to panic at shadows on the wind. She has had encounters with the sasquatch people before and had met them logically and forthrightly. If she
was now exorcised, there was reason, so I kept up a constant conversation, albeit one way, with her as I made my way to her side. I’m not sure she ever heard me as she continued her own stream of apologies to whatever was causing her distress and not paying me a whole lot of attention. Presently, I arrived at her side… not more than fifteen feet from her tent and possibly as close as twelve feet. As I watched her while approaching rapidly (for me…) I raised my eyes to follow the direction of her gaze… and saw…
“Oh my gosh,” I uttered in a barely audible tone. Then, more loudly, “Well, hello, Big Guy… How are you tonight?”
As Kathi had left the fire pit having disassembled the fire and walked the few yards to her tent, she was well at peace within herself. As she passed the few small trees that grew beside the the road at the edge of the green meadow where her small tent was installed she flashed her light in the direction of her tent and audibly thought quietly said, “there’s my tent…” as the light flashed across the reflective material on the front of the nylon. There was no response of any kinds, nor was any such required or expected. When she had taken but a very few more steps toward the structure, she again raised her handlight to illuminate it more fully.
What occurred then was most remarkable. As the light shone forward, a large, dark body reared up from just before the shelter. They were eyeball to eyeball at not more than ten feet separation. From my position inside my tent in the pursuit of making up my bed, I heard his grunt but did not, at that time, register it as anything more than one more greeting in a plethora of such I had so far absorbed this week.
The large fellow rose to his full height… probably as alarmed by the encounter as was Kathi. Our girl, however, could not raise her light at all. She was locked on to his waist area and could neither elevate her light nor her eyes any higher. As such, she had a very good and solid view of him from the waist down only. She had seen his torso as he stood, but could no longer focus on it.
Kathi was frozen in place. She could move no part of her body whatsoever. When I arrived at her side and greeted him, she was locked in her stance. Her head was low and her eyes cast downward. Had I not have greeted him verbally, she would not have known I had moved up behind her.
…But I had… and what I saw in my light, dim though it was, was a large, very male sasquatch standing beside a twenty foot, or so, tall cedar tree watching us intently. Kathi continued her exhortations, apologizing profusely and sincerely for having startled him. At the same time, he was attempting to apologize to her and the ensuing non-communicative conversation was quite amusing to me when seen from the outside.
Eventually, she calmed as did the big fellow and by taking her arm and telling him that I would assume responsibility for her, he released his lock on her and I instructed her to get her kak from the tent and move it into mine for the night. It is important to understand that this physical lock he used is a positive thing. If she were allowed to run at will, she might well have fallen and injured herself badly. Perhaps she would have panicked and run directly at him or into the path of others in the vicinity. By locking her up, he was able to render her safely unable to move and to make his exit without further harm or trauma.
Although the clan remained with us all night long, poking and prodding our tent at times, no further incidents of this magnitude occurred and before morning, Kathi was up and doing and even had the fire going and coffee on before I arose!