Close Encounters

Elk Meadow Ronnyvoo

Wednesday 6-17-2014 1845

Close Encounter of the Hairiest Kind

 

It was hot in Willow Creek and the three of us who had made the sixty-seven mile, two hour trek into town were regretting our decision even before we left the Bigfoot Community camp at Camp Kimchee in downtown Willow Creek. We had discharged our duty to those camped therein… after we found them… even though the B.C. Contingent were off on a field day trip to the Redwoods and the Pacific coast just a few miles to the west. We had completed our shopping but I passed up gassing up as the gas at the tiny reservation town of Weitchepec was seven cents cheaper than here in town… or, it was until we got back to it to find they’d raised their prices for the upcoming weekend as well… We filled our propane tank as well since this was the first time we’d used the tent heater on high and, believe me, running out of gas for your heater was NOT to be contemplated at our high elevation camp where ice routinely formed on the outside of the tent before morning! All things accomplished, we pointed our collective nose homeward on the G-O Road from the Orleans (O) end…

Beginning the G-O Road

As we climbed the grade that lead us from town, all of us were awake and alert… we had seen deer and bear on this road virtually every time we traversed it and certainly did not want to miss the opportunity to do so again. At least, that is what I told myself and that it had nothing to do with the fact that I was working very diligently to reduce the two hour drive time to less than ninety minutes… We had seen bear ranging in age and size from newly emancipated two-year-old twins to a huge old boar that is probably as large as any bear I have ever seen in the lower forty-eight. This old boy did not wait around for a portrait nor even for introductions but we had seen him clearly, in the middle of the road in bright sunlight at a range of less than thirty yards. He was large enough of head and body that his ears appeared tiny in comparison… an important clue in judging the size of any bear. I estimated his weight to be in excess of three-hundred-fifty pounds and probably closer to three-hundred-seventy-five pounds but not over four-hundred pounds. For northern California, he was certainly a very large bruin!

This fellow matched the description, size and and color both, of a big fellow spotted earlier by Arla, Barb, Cathy and Wendy, the crew from Oklahoma on their trip into the camp area. Although certainly a black bear, Ursus americana, and not a grizzly, Ursus horriblis, it was of a grayish brown coloration and not the shimmering black displayed by so many of those found here. It should be noted here also that of the twin two-year-old bears spotted, one was the typical satin black and the other this same unusual brown shade. This caused me to reason that this huge old boar was probably the sire of these twins and was most probably the dominant male in this region… the bull of the woods, so to speak!

Having all this experience so fresh in our minds, we were especially alert to our environment and hoping so to repeat our encounters. Our little troupe had not

Black Bear -
Ursus americanus

yet passed the Six Mile post on the GO Road when I rounded a curve, one of approximately two-hundred-sixty-eight thousand of them on the final thirty miles of our trek… and there standing directly in the middle of the road, again in bright sunlight, was another pure black phase bear. He was, I believe, another two-year-old not long from his mother’s protection. He also did not wait around for introductions nor other civilities, but in a matter of five or so paces, swept into the brush that lined the road in such profusion at this point… within but moments he was gone in the physical form as his after image was fading from our eyes.

On we traveled with me pushing as hard as the ubiquitous curves and deteriorating road conditions would allow… perhaps even faster a time or two! Actually, I had cut my driving teeth on roads such as this one.. I had literally learned to drive a car on roads in far worse condition than the GO Road, even in the state of disrepair they had allowed to happen here. It was, at least, paved and, with the exception of those areas the roadway was slumped due to poor design and poorer maintenance, could be traveled at speeds of over forty-five miles per hour. To maintain this speed did require nearly constant braking and hard acceleration coming out of curves. I must admit though, I was really enjoying it as it is

GO Road above Bluff Creek

so seldom we are allowed to actually drive any more. Even when we get on a road that presents the conditions that would enable it, speed limits, traffic and police officers minimize the actual enjoyment, if not the opportunity itself. Such was not the case on this road today. I am not sure if my passengers were in total accord with my joy or not, but for the most part they were quiet and seemed to enjoy the ever-changing view. A time or two, I even caught one or the other with their eyes closed, though in repose or in prayer, I never knew for sure… I must admit I was a bit nonplussed on Saturday as we were crossing over Grayback Mountain between Cave Junction, Oregon and Happy Camp, California and Jackie asked me for a pen and paper so she could write out her name and vitals with the name and contact information of her next of kin which she then put into my glove box! Since this had occurred some days prior and not today, I didn’t look at is as anything to be concerned over and continued on my way at my pace on our return to our home camp.

Just past Mile Post Fourteen it happened… and we witnessed a most interesting event. As I have described, there were three of us in my car. I was driving, Jackie, having come here for the Ronnyvoo from far-off Devon, England was riding shotgun in the front passenger’s seat with Arla directly behind her in the REO position. At the time of this event, Arla had her eyes closed and witnessed only the aftermath. Jackie was alert and I was extremely alert, given the driving I was doing.

At a fairly good rate of speed, we rounded a curve and transitioned from sunlight to full shade. It was nearly seven pm so the sun was at a low angle in the sky and our west to west-northwest route had been giving me fits with the sun in my eyes, making the transition to shade most welcome!

As soon as the transition was complete and my eyes adjusted to the new light level, I saw two figures standing directly before my car and a bit over half way to the right hand side of the two-lane roadway when viewed from my vantage point. This placed them well into the right quadrant of the roadway. The two individuals immediately turned and with but two paces, crossed the roadway back to my left and exited it on my left side.

Kyle’s Big Guy…

My initial thought was “BEAR”, but that was immediately dismissed as they were both erect and moving bipedally. My next thought was “MAN”! That died aborning as these were much to large to be men. I was looking UP at them from the seat of my car at a range of less than twenty yards and more probably at a range that would not exceed ten to fifteen yards. It should be understood that these thought shifts were IMMEDIATE! There was no consideration nor deliberation involved. My mind merely cycled through these options, discarding the inappropriate and storing a living image of the conclusion reached. The entire cycling, I’m sure, did not last a full second in real time.

Instantly, I knew what I was seeing! There were large – very large… exceeding seven and a half feet and probably attaining more than eight feet in height. They

Drug Mules

were entirely hirsute, except for their faces which were remarkably bare, and their feet, they were completely covered dark, steel gray and black pelage. Their shoulders were humped as the moved rapidly and their Ostman Pads shone brightly as they made haste to flee from our sight. It was the work of but moments for them to cover the width of that road with the second step taking them over the side of a bank that exceeded one-hundred-forty percent slope. In the blink of an eye they were gone but for that instant their image burned a scene onto the retina of my eye. That image has not dimmed with time, but is as bright as it was that day.

For just a few seconds we sat and reflected on what we had seen… the sound of Jackie’s exclamation of “Bigfoot” was still ringing in my ears when a most amazing sequence of events was set into motion. Jackie, from her shotgun position, saw them as quickly as I did… She recognized them immediately for what they

I worked with Shawn Parker and the Spanish artist Arturo Balseros to create this image of the fellow we saw… Since the second one was a smaller version of this fellow, perhaps they were father/son?

were… Then started recanting. I could see her mind working to convince herself that she had not seen what her brain knew it had seen and what was real.

“No,” she said, “not bigfoot but men with rucksacks on… “

“They were men.. I could see their shoes they were wearing… they were dressed alike in gray wool shirts and pants…”

This continued all the way back to our camp where upon she had totally convinced herself she had seen nothing more than two men in rucksacks, identical gray wool shirts, pants and like colored shoes cross a double lane road in a step and a half and dive down a one-hundred-forty percent side slope to escape view… Why any of this would have been necessary remains unexplained…

… in the final essay in this series we shall explore the ramifications of these events further…

 

Thom Cantrall