Shoshone County, Idaho

Near Clarkia Idaho

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Shoshone County Idaho (Class A) BFRO

August 2006

In August of 2006 my (ex)wife and I were camping in the mountains of North Idaho. We drove my 4x4 pickup to the ridgeline that divides the St Joe river and North Fork Clearwater river. This is accessible by USFS and BLM roads, the latter of which is generally only open June to September due to the high elevation and snow. The weather at this time was favorable and we chose to sleep in the back of the truck rather than using the tent. We both felt very uneasy after laying in bed for at least an hour. This uneasiness is difficult to describe but we both felt very strange and decided to start the truck and go back down the mountain. The night was clear under a full moon. We were easily able to see the trail without headlights and drove slowly downhill. After only 5 or 10 minutes of travel we rounded a bend in the trail and saw something large ahead of us. I flipped on the headlights and a very large creature seemed to jump off the trail and into the woods moving downhill and to our left. We caught only the briefest glimpse but the creature was easily 8 to 10 feet tall and covered in brown fur. As the creature jumped from the trail it seemed to catch a fir tree which obscured it from our direct line of sight. The tree was about 12 to 14 feet tall and bent tip to ground before springing back up. This all occurred in a matter of seconds. We both said "what the f**k was that?!" I hit the ebrake and got out of the cab with my maglight and my 30/30 rifle. Shining the light through the trees illuminated at least 50 yards clearly as the alpine forest is not very dense except for the huckleberry bushes knee to waist high. I saw nothing and heard nothing. I couldn't figure how any animal so large could get out of sight so quickly with no sound. No twigs snapping beyond the flashlight or anything. That's when all the hair on my arms and neck stood straight on end. I realized that the creature was laying down in the huckleberry bushes right in front of me. I can't explain as it wasn't visible but I simply knew it was right there. I had the distinct impression that this thing was waiting for me to make the next move. My wife was still in the truck begging me to get back in and leave. She was terrified. Somehow my rifle seemed suddenly impotent. My fear overpowered my curiosity and I got back in the truck and we got away from that area. I have been around moose and bears many times in the woods over the years and never felt frightened but this night I was frightened for sure. The hair on my arms and neck stands on end now writing this nearly 12 years later. I do not believe that creature was a moose or a bear. I can't help thinking that if we hadn't left our camping spot due to our intense feelings of uneasiness and had instead fallen asleep there that the creature we saw would have come upon us within a short time.

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