Siskiyou County, California

Near Etna

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Siskiyou County California (Class A) BFRO

August 1998

In 1998, I was backpacking by myself in the Marble Mountain WIlderness in the Klamath National Forest the third week of August. The Klamath and the Marbles are particularly rugged and steep terrain. I hiked from Etna Summit at the PCT trailhead and looped all the way through the Wooley Creek drainage, attempting to get to the Cal-Salmon River. My attempt failed and I hiked to Little Elk Lake and on out to the group of lakes outside of Lovers Camp trailhead for the full distance. On day one I hiked over 14 miles on the PCT south from Etna SUmmit. On day two I left the PCT and hiked to a large marble outcropped ledge above the Wooley Creek drainage below a large, unnamed peak. (I can consult my map for a definite location, but do not have one available at this exact time). The night of my second day out, I slept on this nice marble ledge, beside a small creek about 2 feet wide that was more of an ice drainage from the steep, glacial peak above. This creek ran down the ledge and off a cliff that is about a 200 feet drop to a boulder field below and about 800 feet (or more) down to the Wooley Creek drainage. The 200 foot cliff below the ledge is VERY steep and to a tradational climber would be rated at least a 5.9 or 5.10 chaucy climb. So, there I was, in my purple Marmot bag, all cozy and tucked in. The night was clear and was about 4 days before the full moon in late August, so it was bright. I was sleeping parallel to the little brook running along the Marble Ledge and about 15 feet from its banks. I fell asleep and woke up to a wierd noise that was very far away. I was already frightened of animals because I was by myself. It does not matter, but I am also female. I was scared out there by myself. But having the time of a life. The noise so far away seemed to be way down in the forest in the Wooley Creek drainage. It was loud, however, almost like a yelling or a whooping. It was consistent and occured one yell after the other. I didn't worry too much, and was not concerned because it was so far away. The yelling truly happened one after the other. And, it was getting louder and perhaps closer. I still was not concerned as it was far enough and I was atop a huge cliff, so I felt safe and unreachable. However, the yelling got louder and closer yet, and started to travel up the boulder field below. At this point, I had heard the yelling for 20 minutes. Again, it was a consistent howl, or whoop, over and over again. I just laid still in my bag and realized that not only was this yelling thing was coming up the boulder field but coming up the cliff. Sure enough the creature was climbing up the cliff. AND FAST! The whole event was this thing running and hooting/inward drone yelling up the drainage, up and up to the cliff and beyond to the top of the peak. Sure enough when it got to the cliff it pulled and climbed itself up "swiftly and agile" as I put in my journal. It literally dyno'd every move on this 5.9 cliff and yanked itself up the cliff to the top where the ledge was, where I was. The creature, in the mean time, was still consistently calling/yelping/hooting. It got to the ledge and started running toward the peak above. As it got closer, I pretty much urinated in my sleeping bag. But I just laid still; I was extremely frightened. As it started to approach the ledge close to where I was, on the other side of the brook, I could see it. It was a silhouette of a huge running gorilla. It ran on two legs but dragged and pulled with its arms. It was huge. The arms were almost the length of half its body and was covered in hair. It was black, but I really only saw a silhouette. The head reminded me of the abominable snowman from the Christmas, Rudolph movie. It just ran and howled, but then stopped slightly when it was parallel to me. It stopped howling, and slowed down slightly, and kind of hesitated. It turned its head toward me as if smelling something, but then immediately turned forward and really started running even faster. And louder and faster and then climbed up to the top of the peak and called and called for nearly four hours straight. Until almost sunrise. I stayed awake the whole time. I got up the next day and entered a short entry in my journal and packed up and continued on my journey.

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