Posted by: Craig Woolheater on October 31st, 2013
In search of Bigfoot? Enjoy one of these outings while you’re at it
Halloween is a great time to search the dark North woods for Bigfoot. And maybe you’ll find a nice hike.
Of the many Bigfoot sightings compiled on the Internet, the number in Washington is striking. If you look into what kind of territory the reports suggest the creature prefers, maybe that’s no surprise.
Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, seems to appear where wilderness and civilization meet, usually areas with plenty of water and heavy woods. Another thing many sighting sites have in common: brushy, sloping foothills where huckleberries flourish. Who can blame Sasquatch for loving huckleberries?
Interest in Bigfoot is as high as ever. An enterprise called the Sasquatch Genome Project recently made a splash by claiming it had DNA analysis proving Bigfoot’s existence. The Animal Planet show “Finding Bigfoot” has its season premiere in November.
Washington Bigfoot tales go back decades, maybe even centuries: furry bipedal figures striding across roads or meadows, unexplained vaguely human- or ape-like screams echoing through forests, giant footprints left in mud or snow.
If nothing else, searching for Sasquatch is an excuse to spend time outdoors — spots big on sightings also tend to be great for recreation. I’m with comedian-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait, who’s touring the festival circuit with “Willow Creek,” a Bigfoot-themed horror film: “If you go looking for Bigfoot and you don’t find him, the byproduct is you went camping.”
Just in time for Halloween, when things go bump in the night, here are some of Washington’s most prominent Sasquatch sites, along with some nice hikes to take while you’re looking.
1. Mount St. Helens
Sample sightings: The whole St. Helens area is rife with reported sightings, from footprints near Morton and Mossyrock to strange footsteps and loud howls on the mountain’s south flank. One of the most famous — and violent — Bigfoot sightings ever occurred in Ape Canyon, on the mountain’s southeast slope, in 1924. Prospector Fred Beck and four other men claimed “hairy apes” or “abominable snowmen” attacked their cabin in the night, jumping on the roof and pounding on the walls.
While you’re looking: The Ape Canyon Trail is 11 miles long (round-trip) and popular with mountain bikers; nearby Lava Canyon is 5 miles round-trip. Even if you don’t see Sasquatch, the geology of these lahar-carved canyons is fascinating. If you want to really scare yourself, hike into Ape Caves to the west and imagine Bigfoot hiding out in one of the dark lava tubes. Details.
2. Mount Rainier foothills
Sample sightings: The area between Puget Sound and Mount Rainier is one of the state’s most “squatchy.” For some reason, a slew of sightings have happened in the forests east of Fort Lewis, and recent footprint reports have come from the shores of Alder Lake and others.
While you’re looking: On a recent sunny weekend, I hiked the Glacier View trail just west of the national park. It’s one of a handful of trails that get close to that side of Mount Rainier. From atop a rocky knob above treeline, I got an in-your-face view of the snow-packed peak. The weather wasn’t conducive to sightings, but who needs Bigfoot when you have that big mountain? Details.
Read the rest of the article on the Seattle Times website.