I used to live in Camino, CA and would go up into Desolation Wilderness as often as I could. The trout fishing was really incredible and it left a wonderful lasting memory with me. Since moving from the area, I hadn't been there in several years. I talked to a friend of mine about going up and camp overnight and do some stream fishing. He agreed and also invited another friend along for the ride.
We got up there in the early afternoon and hiked upstream from Wright's lake and then set up camp. A couple hours later a ranger came by and informed us that we hadn't actually made it into Desolation Wilderness yet, and that we needed to keep hiking for a while. We broke camp and then the 2 guys that were with me, suggested that we go into Placerville and get a room. Apparently they weren't up to camping and fishing after all. I said no thanks and that I wanted to come up here, to come up there and fish, not go party somewhere in town. So they left and I went up the hill farther. The ranger had suggested a great camping and fishing location, but because it was starting to get later in the afternoon, there was no way I would make it all the way before dark. He gave me a general location of where it could be found and what trails to take to get there, but when most of the area is large (football field size) sheets of granite, the trails are only marked with stacks of rocks and they are few and far between.
I ended up getting lost a bit, but I could hear the stream flowing over rocks to the north of me. I walked in another half mile or so and located the stream. Below me about 35 feet down a granite cliff was a stream that did have a pool in it, right on the tree line.
I thought what a beautiful place that would be to have a campsite and then picked my way down the steep cliff side. I set up my camp directly next to the pool and also with the treeline and some very dense woods about 6 feet away to the north. The pool was on the east side of me. I started fishing as soon as my tent was back up and had a gorgeous finish to a very nice day. Then after it got dark, I climbed into my sleeping bag looking to the east to the Crystal range, I think it is called, and watched as the glow of a full moon worked it's way up over the top of the granite mountains. Once it was over, my day was complete and I decided to go to sleep. That was at 10:30 pm.
As I started to drift off to sleep, I heard what can only be described as a very low rumbling growl. When I go into a wilderness area, especially a place I know has bears really thick, I always carry a handgun with me. On this occassion it was a .45 compact. When I heard the growl, it really scared the crap out of me, because it was so close. I jumped up, with my .45 in hand and looked out the top of the screen mesh on the tent. I could see a dark mass about 4 1/2 feet tall, right at the edge of the tree line, 6 feet from my head. I yelled some really loud obscenities and started climbing out of my tent. Once I was clear of the door I brought up my pistol and fired into a dead tree a few feet away from what I thought was a big black bear. As soon as the pistol went off, it turned and ran back into the brush, but it didn't seem to go very far and that concerned me. Bears will usually run like heck and for a long time when they get a shot that close. This seemed to go maybe 50 feet or so into very thick brush. I could hear it thrashing about as it moved deeper into the trees, but then it just stopped. It all went quiet for about 15 minutes or so and then I tried going back to bed. Shortly after I started hearing what sounded like somewhat large rocks, hitting in the water, just above the pool I was camped beside. It would happen every couple of minutes or so. It was the sound of not only the splash, but also of the rock hitting other rocks, submerged in shin deep water. That "cracking" sound. This really concerned me, thinking the "bear" may be circling my campsite and trying to get at me from a different angle. I got out out my tent on several occasions, and was trying to see if I could make out any movement on the other side of the stream but nothing. I usually keep a small flashlight in my tackle box, which I had, but it was one of those small "shake it" and it charges up the cell and lights up for a few minutes. Not much of a flashlight really and worse yet, the handle is clear and so when I would turn it on, the handle would light up too, actually making it harder to see. I had a full moon though and the area is surrounded with stark white granite slabs, and so except in the darkest of the woods, I could see pretty clearly. This went on like this until 2:00 am. That was when I got another "visit". I didn't get to see it, this time, but I heard movement really close to my tent again, same place as the first time, and when I yelled at it, I got a return of something that sounded like an "Ooof" "Ooof", but really deep sounding. I jumped out of my tent again thinking I was going to see it again, but didnt. Still, I put another shot into the dead tree and off it went crashing through the brush again. Again it only went about 50 feet back. There was something odd about the way it sounded when it was running too. I didn't catch what it was though until I listened to the footsteps of a bipedal walking from your site here. It was only on two feet!! It concerned me enough to realize that it didn't sound like a 4 legged animal at the time, but I didn't know what was different until I heard your recordings. Anyway, still thinking I was dealing with a rogue bear, I started trying to figure out what it wanted with me. Was I camped on it's trail to the water? Was it used to finding food in tents? Desolation is a very high traffic place. This particular place was a ways off the trail and it didn't appear to have much in the way of hikers. Hikers usually leave some kind of sign, trash, fish hooks, something to say that they were here before, but this place was very clean.
So I decide to take my sleeping bag out of the tent and move over to the middle of this big slab of granite that I am on. There is about a 4 foot tall ledge facing the woods where all the activity was going on. But now the treeline is 50 feet away and not 6. Figuring this would give me some advance warning if I got charged. The rocks kept flying, and I kept trying to sleep with one eye open, hoping the sun would come up soon, and checking my watch all night long. Then "she" showed up. It was 4:40 am and something woke me. I heard movement at the tree line again and I looked to where it all started from. I didn't see anything but then I looked at my tent. Standing right next to my tent was the "creature?". My tent is about 4 feet tall maybe a little less and what I saw was more than twice as tall. At first I couldn't see any features, just the outline. Then it took a couple of steps towards me. I almost pee'd my pants right there. I picked up the .45 and took a shot off to the left of it. It stopped and looked at me. Then it started walking towards me again. It was very fast. I don't mean that it was running, it's just that the steps were so big, the distance was closing very fast. Had it been a bear, I would have shot it immediately, but honestly, I don't think my .45 would have been able to stop it. One shot would definitely not killed it or stopped it in its tracks. Then as it was approaching me, I took another shot, but this one much closer. I could see it very clearly at this point and yes I did pee my pants. The second shot made her stop again, and then she took off running to the northwest through an area of mostly granite slab and dotted with scrub pine. This was the last time I saw her. She ran off out of sight at great speed. I stayed up the rest of the night until it got light enough for me to hike back towards Wrights Lake to the South West. For the remainder of the darkness I pretty much stayed put with the ledge to my back and my gun in my hand, and shaking in my skin. I have not been able to sleep right since then, and for the next couple of months after the incident, I couldn't sleep at all. Everytime I closed my eyes, I would hear the growls and the rocks splashing and then see her coming at me. I would be willing to take someone back up there to show where it happened, but only during daylight hours. I have been a hunter and fisherman most of my life and have seen what I thought, was every animal in the woods at one time or another. Nothing like this has ever shown it's face before, and I hope it never does again.
There was another incident however. On December 13th, 1992 up in Snow Mountain Wilderness area, above Elk Creek California. I would be willing to talk to someone about this also.
via (Link: bfro.net)