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COUNTY: Custer County
LOCATION DETAILS: It is a fairly popular campsite called Copper Basin which is a high mountain valley in the White Knob mountains of central Idaho. Elevation at the campsite was about 8,000 feet. Just leave Sun Valley Idaho on Trail Creek Road and follow up to Trail Creek Summit. Copper Basin is clearly marked by road signs from there. About 1.5 hours from Sun Valley.
NEAREST TOWN: Mackay
NEAREST ROAD: Trail Creek Road
OBSERVED: I was lying in my tent on the last night of our camping trip. I remember thinking about a story my brother told me about an incident several years earlier where he and my other brother encountered a bear in this same area. I was on the verge of drifing off to sleep when suddenly an overwhelming sense of dread and fear overcame me. I was immediately wide awake, but was afraid to make any noise so I remained still. I heard footsteps very near my tent. I could feel the presence of something very large. It moved slowly and I could hear what sounded like deep throated breathing. When I heard whatever it was move closer to my tent, I sat up as quietly so I could put my glasses on and grabbed my .44 magnum revolver. I wasn't even thinking about sasquatch at the time. I was afraid a bear had possibly wandered into camp. I finally got the courage to turn on my flashlight and everything outside went silent. I heard no more sounds, and never smelled anything unusual. Then as suddenly as it started, my intense feeling of anxiety was totally gone. I did not hear anything running away, but I felt safe and was able to relax enough to go back to sleep. Nothing else happened that night.
ALSO NOTICED: At the time I was not thinking of sasquatch. A man who helped us fix a flat tire on the way up, said he came from this same area with horses. He reported seeing a moose and bear signs in the area. But the more I think about the incident, I am wondering that it may have been something else. All other sasquatch close encounters seem to be preceded by a similar feeling of fear, anxiety, and "being watched." It was suggested this may be some sort of defensive pheromone response. I was not particularly frightened by the prospect of a bear encounter. I felt adequately armed to deal with something like that. But I can't forget the paralyzing fear and sense of dread I felt suddenly, and then the feeling going away just as suddenly.
OTHER WITNESSES: No. Everyone else was asleep. My brother's family brought thier dog, a 2 or 3 year old boarder collie mix. I'm also surprised the dog did not bark at the intruder I heard near my tent.
OTHER STORIES: There is a hiking trail that follows Lake Creek up to its source a few miles up to the top of the valley. It's quite steep near the top from what I've been told. Never been up there myself. But at the top there are five beautiful alpine mountain lakes up there that feed the streams. My brothers, years ago hiked up there to spend the night. They described to me a very frightening experience with a bear that came into camp late at night. They never saw the bear from inside their tent. They describe a large animal, sniffing and snorting, and pushing against the sides of the tent. They also decribed moaning and "crying" sounds they thought may have been a bear cub not too far away. The next day when they hiked back down to "base camp" they discovered tracks and muddy prints on thier vehicle they attributed to a bear. They think they may have been followed up the previous day.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was late night, approximately between midnight and 1:00am. It had been raining off and on all day, but the evening was clear and the weather was cool. Campfire was still burning very low.
ENVIRONMENT: The area is beautiful pine forest mountains with wide open sagebrush at the bottom of the "basin." Campsite was at the base of a valley right next to Lake Creek. As you follow the creek upstream the woods get very dense. Many very large boulders in the area from the northeastern ridge above which is a granite rockface about 10,000 feet elevation.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Nancy L. Jones:
After speaking with the witness over the phone, I learned that the incident occurred on the third, and last night of camping at Copper Basin.
T.R. was alone in a one-man pup tent when he heard heavy footfalls near the head of his tent. He was unable to discern whether the steps were those of a bi-pedal or a quadruped animal. He searched for foot prints the following morning, but the ground was very dry and none were found. T.R. noted that other members of his camping party, including a dog, were unaware of the late night visitor.
Intense feelings of fear and dread came upon T.R. suddenly as he became aware of the footfalls. These feelings disappeared suddenly and completely when the visitor left. This emotional response was unlike anything the witness had experienced before or since.
T.R. is an experienced outdoorsman, who has camped at Copper Basin for years.
About BFRO Investigator Nancy L. Jones:
Nancy L. Jones is an M.B.A., presently doing occasional special projects for her husband's business and being a full-time mom. Formerly she worked as an IT Project Manager for Hewlett-Packard. She attended the 2007 Central Oregon Expedition.