Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Skamania County > Article # 282
Media Article # 282
Saturday, January 1, 1977
Big Foot Territory
By Mel Hansen
Indian Heaven Back Country
"In early December of 1976, the writer traveled the Gifford Peak Way Trail with Spencer Frey of Trout Lake, Washington. The trail was the last one that needed to be documented for inclusion in this book and weather and time were becoming a matter of concern. In order to hurry things along, Spence brought two of his finest pack horses. The sun was shining, but the ground was frozen and the lakes were icing around the edges.
We stopped for lunch in a pretty meadow alongside Darlene Lake*. Spence turned the horses loose to graze while we proceeded to enjoy some cold meat sandwiches, pickles and homemade cookies.
As if on signal, the two horses made a complete turnabout and stood facing the trees surrounding the meadow to the south. They continued to stand, frozen in this position as though hipnotized.
Spence said quietly, "Something's out there!"
In another moment there was a crackling of brush, and the horses commenced to fidgit. I asked Spence if I could borrow his handgun and go take a look. (He carries the gun in the event a horse should break a leg, etc.) I eased into the woods, moved around for awhile, but never saw a thing.
We packed up and moved across the trail to find the lakes on the north side. We found a beauty and were admiring it when, all of a sudden, a roaring growl came from across the lake about 300 feet away. The horses half-reared and I exclaimed, "Wow, what was that?" Spence replied, "Mel, I don't know." We listened for a long time but we never heard another sound.
Spence and I discussed the incident for most of the way down the trail. He was with the Forest Service for many years and, after retirement, packed people into the wilderness for hunting and recreation. He commented, "I've heard bears bawl, cougars scream and elk bugle, but never a sound like that." We talked about the big grey wolf as a possibility. The big grey wolf lived in this country in the 1800's, but is thought to be extinct.
About the time we returned to the car I hesitatingly mentioned the subject of "Big Foot." Spence confessed to having thought about it, but was reluctant to mention it to me.
I cannot honestly say whether I believe in Bigfoot. I do, however, know one thing for sure. When I walk past Cultus Lake this summer, or the Darlene Lakes, I am going to keep my eyes and ears open. I will probably breathe a little easier when I get well beyong those areas. Who knows? Maybe I will see Big Foot."
* Investigator's Note: The Darlene Lakes, consisting of Janet Lake, Peggy Lake and Darlene Lake, are now simply known as The Basin Lakes, and are denoted as such on current maps of the Indian Heaven Wilderness Area. The Gifford Peak Way Trail that travels through this area is no longer maintained by the USFS.
Also of note is that the exact date (day and month) of publishing is not known. January 1 was used as an arbitrary date for that year.
Hansen, Mel; Indian Heaven Back Country, p. 17-18, The Touchstone Press, 1977