My original plans were for a trip to northern California to visit the famous Bluff Creek film site and drop off some casts and pictures to the Willow Creek Museum, arriving on this day, the 35th anniversary of it's making, October 20th. I had talked with Joe Beelart about this trip, because he had just returned from the area with a party of 10, including Peter Byrne, Todd Neiss, film crew and our own Al Berry and Ron Morehead. Joe talked me out of going there by myself because of the terrain and for safety reasons, so I altered my plans. I decided to divide this trip up into three parts' doing some things and going some places I had been meaning to for a long time. Skookum Meadows revisit, Estacada and the Wynooche river drainage.
I usually make trips like this in search of areas to investigate for longer periods of time at later dates. I do these scouting trips mostly alone and try to cram as much as possible into them.
Oct 19 ' Met with Jeff Lemley and his brother around 10:00PM in the Skookum Meadows area to do some late night call blasting. By the time I got there they had already tried a couple of sets. It was quite foggy, but the sound still carried well, with echoes lasting a few seconds after the source stopped. This is the best time to blast out these sounds, late evening, early morning in the fog since the air is quite dense at this time. Interestingly enough, the primates that do use long type calls for communications between members also choose this time of the day to do so.
Jeff and Alan Terry have built themselves quite an impressive sound blasting system. It is modular and has very good output. The sound was clear, I heard no distortion or feedback during the blasts he made. It ran off his car battery. I was quite tired and didn't last too long sitting outside with Jeff and company in the cold, I crawled back into my truck around 11:30PM and quickly fell asleep. My day job work shift gets me out of bed at 2:30AM and I usually work 10 hour days. I was starting this out all wrong.
Jeff woke me around midnight and said that they were going back home and that they had heard nothing while I was sleeping. I thanked them for meeting with me and bringing the equipment. I watched them leave. I quickly went back to sleep.
Oct 20 ' I woke at my usual time ' 2:30AM (great!) and started to drive the back roads, visiting the Skookum Meadows Expedition base camp, hill top and ridge top sites as well as the cast site. I wanted to take some measurements, get another average GPS reading after the military eliminated the scramble signal at the cast site and just have a look at the general area during hunting season.
One deer and a lone coyote, evidenced by their tracks had visited the cast site. I collected a soil sample, documented the cast site with pictures, GPS and did some tape measurements.
I found some interesting things traveling around the area this trip:
' A skid mark, looking very much like a human buttock on a road side bank, complete with what might have been hand prints and three impressions that hinted at being bare footprints ' 16.5' long x 6' wide at the ball and with toes.
' At the exact spot where, during the expedition, I had been filmed looking at some heat tracks on the road with the thermal imager and where I cut open a melon fruit, I found a bee hive, broken in two. It was a natural hive. I couldn't think of why a bear would carry a hive around like this only to suck on it out in the open on a dirt road. There were more large human shaped tracks leading down the road side embankment nearby.
' Along the roads, on the side banks, I found 20' ' 25' fir trees growing half way up. Large human shaped tracks led up to a spot behind these trees and then back down to the road. Some stomping around behind the trees was evident. This lead me to envision something treking up these small slopes, evading night time drivers, returning to the roadway only after passing.
' Someone had been leaving fruit...
I photographed these findings and casted a track.
Track found near Skookum Meadow.
Second track found near Skookum Meadow.
I stayed in the area till around 4:00PM, leaving for my next camp spot' Estacada Oregon, the famous Glen Thomas site. I had arranged to have Joe Beelart guide me to the exact location. I could not have asked for a better person to go with. Joe is a wealth of information about this river drainage.
I spent the night at a rest stop in Estacada waiting for morning and the meet up with Joe. I worked on my notes and downloaded all the digital pictures taken so far. I also cleaned all my camera lenses.
Oct 21 ' 7:00AM Met with Joe who took me to a local bakery for a donut and coffee, then traveled up the Clackamas River for what seemed like forever... but it sure wasn't boring! There were hot springs along the sides of the river, deep gorges, high cliffs' I was really impressed. The trip was about 80 miles in from Portland.
Arriving at the rock scree site around 10:00AM, we walked the final 1/3 mile. I wanted to videotape Joe describing the site and the evidence. This evidence is in the form of 6' deep pits dug into these rock screes and the removed 100lb+ rocks neatly stacked nearby.
John Green wrote about this site in his 1971 book 'On the Track of the Sasquatch', pages 63 ' 66. He had brought along his son on that trip and photographed him standing in one of these pits. I photographed Joe in the exact same hole. Later I matched up some of the rock faces with the picture John Green put in his book. Some rocks are missing from the piles but it didn't look like any new ones appeared.
Joe told me that further up the hill, in other rocky areas, there may be as many as a hundred of these pits and rock cairns. They had also found things that looked like long mounds in these rocks, thinking it might be a burial site, he contacted local authorities and was told not to mess with them. He has several theories in his head right now concerning them:
' These possible burial mounds would eventually collapse when the body decomposed and was eaten by the many small rodents living under these rocks, leaving no tell-tale evidence. Maybe what we really need is one of those fiber optic camera attachments to look under these rocks.
' Local Indian archeological sites have nothing that looks like these pits and cairns. They would not build anything at that altitude nor that exposed to the weather. The high side of the pits I saw were on the southern side.
One the trip back down into Estacada, one of my Ride-Rites (a small air bag type of shock absorber for my camper-truck combination) lost a bolt and popped out while driving. It rubbed against the inner tire and produced a lot of blue rubber burning smoke then quickly lost air. We fixed the situation with some rope Joe had brought along and continued down the mountainside, loosing maybe just 30 minutes.
My next stop was a visit with TP at his home, which Joe led me to, arriving around 5:30PM.
T, CO and myself shared a campfire on his back property discussing Sasquatch in general...
T informed me that he had been working through the summer (his teaching vacation) for the Forest Service. He had approached them about using remote cameras to document local wildlife. They were interested in Wolverine and bought 10 cameras for the program he had laid out to them. T got some real good experience with this project.
Oct 22 ' Well to get that Ride Rite fixed I had to spend 4 hours sitting at the Clackamas Les Schwab Tire Store. But not a penny came out of my pocket. They even had to replace the tire.
My next stop was back up in Washington, at J P's home. The drive up to his place was uneventful except for the fact of seeing the area where many sightings and track finds have been recorded. It is an area I will definitely go back to, and soon.
I arrived at J's around 9:00PM. Before turning in for the night I just had to show him the video from Estacada, so we hooked it up to his big screen TV. It looks like I am going to need to practice a lot more with that camera. Talk about amateur!
Oct 23 ' J took me up into his study areas this morning and I was quite impressed. We encountered some River Otters sharing a large fish in a stream closed to all but foot travel. We spent a couple of hours just sitting and glassing a hillside at around 2800' elevation.
There are many rivers in this area that have excellent banks to look for tracks on. Some are quite close to his home.
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