Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 5th, 2012
A teenage hunter who watched it through his rifle scope for longer than a half-hour.
A trumpet player who surprised it — well, the surprise was certainly mutual — at the chicken coop behind his Blewett Pass cabin.
A construction contractor who had recorded the details of hundreds of sightings before, finally, having one of his own.
Foresters who have seen it, heard it, felt it, smelled it, or followed its tracks often enough over the years, for them, the question isn’t whether it exists, but when and where it will show up next.
It would take a shelf of books to chronicle the recollections of the thousands of people who are convinced they’ve had a personal encounter with Bigfoot.
Here are just a few from this neck of the woods.
WOODSMEN AND THE GIANT: Mel Skahan and Jon Sampson have forestry/logging jobs — Skahan with the Yakama Nation, Sampson with the Bureau of Indian Affairs — that take them deep into the forests of the Yakama Reservation.
They’ve each had what they say were Bigfoot encounters.
Sampson had snowshoed 1 1/2 miles with a friend into a remote area of the reservation’s closed portion two years ago for some late-winter elk hunting when the two saw what looked like “this tall dark thing” walking behind a group of elk perhaps 500 yards away.
Sampson said he shot at it and the creature “dropped down like it put its chest on top of its kneecap, like an accordion. Then it turned 90 degrees from us and ran away from us, shrunk down in size.”
Skahan said he and a forestry coworker were in a recently logged-out area of the reservation in April 2005 when the two saw at a distance of about 150 yards a large animal Skahan described as “dark in color, running on two legs … (with) like-human legs (and) human-like arms. At no time did this thing drop on four legs. It stayed at a human gate the whole way.”
Sampson and Skahan have each on several occasions found huge, bare footprints in the dirt in remote forests, and heard vocalizations of what they say was clearly an animal — though not your typical forest denizen — warning them to go no further.
“I’ve heard bears growl, yes. And I’ve heard cougars growl,” Skahan said. “I know the difference.”
CAN’T PULL THE TRIGGER: Paul Graves, who owns a concrete construction business in Wenatchee, said he’s had two fleeting glimpses of Bigfoot, each time in the Blue Mountains over the last several years.
But it was years before that, while watching television in 1988 at his sister’s home, that he became fascinated with the subject. When the channel-surfing led to a show about Bigfoot, a friend of his sister “was not saying anything,” Graves recalled. “He looks over at me and said, ‘You know, I’ve seen one of those.’”
The man said he’d been hunting far up the Entiat Valley when he saw a hair-covered animal with “a human-looking face. It looked like a wild person to him, and he said, ‘There was no way I could pull the trigger.’ Since that time,” Graves said, “I’ve talked to hundreds, probably, of people who have literally been in the same situation. Most people can’t pull the trigger.”
Graves follows up on Eastern Washington reports on a Bigfoot research effort called The Olympic Project. Certain areas, like Bumping Lake, the Yakama Reservation, Mission Ridge and the Blue Mountains, generate a lot of reports. So, too, does the Entiat Valley.
One Entiat Valley incident more than 20 years ago that didn’t become an official report involved a backcountry ranger who came across an extremely distraught backpacker hurrying out of the forest.
The man told the ranger he’d been camping alone when he’d been dragged from his tent and tossed around, still in his sleeping bag, by a large, hairy animal that he said was definitely not a bear.
The ranger didn’t take the camper’s name or write up a report.
Said the ranger years later, “I thought the guy was a whack job.”