, Alaska

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Alaska (Class B) BFRO

March 1988

In March of 1988, I was the Team Commander (Captain in rank) of a Special Forces "A" Team, conducting a Strategic Reconnaisance training mission in Alaska. There were 11 soldiers on the Team with a lot of Special Forces experience between them. We were wearing rucksacks and walking through the deep snow in a wooded area with cross-country skis. As we approached an area where the woods were too thick to go through on the skis, I decided to walk ahead on snow shoes with two other soldiers to check out the way ahead. After walking about 200 meters into the thicker woods, we came across a set of tracks that immediately drew our attention. The tracks were obviously of a two-legged creature walking through the woods on a course perpendicular to our own. Human tracks of any kind are extremely rare in that part of Alaska but these were particulary unique due to the length of the stride and the fact that there was no crushed snow on either the entry or the exit side of the holes. We stopped to investigate. When each of us took off our snow shoes we sank into the snow to a depth of about 2 feet (above the knee). When we attempted to take a step in the deep snow, we left an area of crushed snow on the entry side of the hole and then crushed the snow again upon taking our foot out of the hole to take the next step. Our feet made a drag mark in the snow as well no matter how hard we tried to extract the foot without touching the surrounding snow. The best any of us could do was a stride between steps of about 1 1/2 feet. The tracks we were looking at had a stride of over 5 feet between steps and left the snow on both entry and exit from the hole totally untouched. After discussing the rational possibilities for a while, I sent one of my men back to bring up the rest of the Team. Between the 11 men on that Team, we had over 150 years of combined Special Forces experience in the woods all over the planet. They also had extensive experience in the tracking of everything with either two or four legs. We all studied the tracks and tried to come up with a reasonable explanation for what we were looking at. Only one explanation seemed to fit everything we saw but it was not a reasonable explanation. Based on our group experience in tracking humans, we made an approximate determination as to the height and weight of the person who had made the tracks based on the stride and depth of indentation in the snow. THe group consensus was a two-legged person about around 9 ft tall and weighing approximately 500 to 600 pounds. That was our best educated guess. I then made a decision to set the training mission aside for a while and to follow the tracks through the woods. Wearing snow shoes, we followed those tracks for about an hour before we heard it. From somewhere ahead of us (and quite a distance from what we could tell) we heard the most horrific sound any of us has ever heard. Every other sound in the woods went instantly silent and we could almost hear our hearts beating. The only other time any of us has heard that kind of silence in the woods or jungle was in the last seconds before initiating an ambush. It is as though every creature and insect in the woods knows that something is about to die and they go silent out of fear or self-preservation. After hearing the sound (it was a cross between a howl and a roar), my Team Sergeant (the most senior and experienced member of my Team) stopped me and said, "Sir, speaking for both myself and the rest of the Team, we really do not want to know what is at the end of these tracks (expletives deleted)". This was surprising to me in that, through all of their years in Special Forces, these men had never expressed a fear of anything on two or four legs. I understood their consternation and agreed to resume the original mission. There was also a general consensus not to discuss the incident with anyone upon our return. Mind you that we were on a training misson and did not have live ammunition so any eventual confrontation with whoever or whatever made those tracks would not have been without a great deal of danger. Our curiosity to know what it was that made the tracks was overcome by the reality that we would be no match for it and, more importantly, that we really did not want to know what was at the end of those tracks. Tracks in the snow are much easier to deny and ignore than actually seeing what made them. My soldiers, and I, were afraid of what we heard and saw and the soldiers just didn't want to know. The tracks stayed on the military crest of ridgelines and in low areas as much as possible. The only times the tracks crossed a ridgeline was in a saddle where it would not be seen. The thing which struck us all as odd was that, while the tracks depicted someone far too large to be human, whatever was making the tracks was moving through the woods exactly as one of us would have if we were conducting an escape and evasion. Whatever it was knew the land (as it maneuvered to bypass clearings well before they came into view) and was making a concentrated effort to remain unseen. I still think that the sound we heard was intended to warn us to back off and not follow. I have thought back on that incident hundreds of times and wondered how it would have turned out if we had proceeded to follow the tracks. There are pros and cons to both sides of the issue. As for me, there are just some things that cannot be denied. Since then, I have had a VERY healthy respect for Sasquatch.

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