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COUNTY: Jefferson County
LOCATION DETAILS: The Spruce Trail from the Hoh Visitors center.
NEAREST TOWN: Forks
NEAREST ROAD: 101
OBSERVED: We were on the Spruce Trail in the Hoh Rainforest when we came across this track (I attached the picture). To provide some size reference I put my foot next to the track. My boot is a size 11.5 (wide). It's a Vasque boot and I'm sure the dimensions are available online. Anyways, my boot was slightly smaller than the track (maybe 1/2 inch). The trail was full of Elk tracks as well. Adult Elk and baby Elk tracks were present everywhere and signs were posted about the Elk. There are many game trails that crisscross these hiking trails.
Later on we continued on the trail and we came across another foot print that was slightly smaller but it had been stepped on by someone and it was only a partial print.
Here are some details I gathered from my observation that day.
The track in the picture appeared to be about two days old in my opinion. I weigh 210 lbs, I'm 6"1 and my boot size is a size 11.5 (wide). The track had to be an inch and a half deep. I stood on one leg and pushed very hard and I didn't leave nearly (maybe a 1/4 inch) as deap of a track. Granted the moisture level may have changed in the mud causing more resistance. Also noted was the outer edge of the print and how much mud had been displaced. I also saw sharp nail marks on the toes and some say they can see it in the photo I attached. I noticed them because earlier in the day I saw a cougar track at another location and the nail marks seemed similar. I can tell by the way the toes are slanted, the depth, and the arch that this is likely not a fake print. I couldn't see any dermal ridges in the track.
ALSO NOTICED: I took a photo of the footprint next to my foot.
OTHER WITNESSES: 6 people, including myself. We were on a day hike. We had all finished lunch an hour or so earlier.
OTHER STORIES: Yes. I spoke with a fellow fisherman who hunted an area nearby many years ago and he told me a story of when he and his father came across a set of tracks.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was @ 4:30 pm. Slightly overcast
ENVIRONMENT: The HOH Rainforest. It was slightly muddy, but relatively dry. There were many Elk tracks and game trails that were near the track.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jim Von Lossow:
The witness has spent a great deal of time in the Olympic National Park and surrounding forests. After several phone interviews I can add the following details to this report:
The witness regularly travels here to camp, fish and hike.
The raised area of the foot in the photo may be what is referred to as the midtarsal break.
The witness discovered another partial print approximately 30 feet away. It was noticeably smaller in size and had been stepped on by another hiker. All that remained was the impression of the toes and front portion of the foot. The witness did not photograph the second print.
The witness related another discovery on this trip. Alone, he wandered off down a side trail near the Sol Duc river where he often fishes. There, tucked away and hidden from the nearby trail was some sort of structure. The witness described it as oblong shaped, about 10 feet across and 4 feet high. A tangle of branches formed an overhang with an opening on one side. The witness became uneasy when he noticed the leaves were still green and appeared fresh. He followed his urge and immediately left the area. However, he plans to make a return trip.
Another report by this witness: Report #6058
About BFRO Investigator Jim Von Lossow:
Small Business Owner
Special Interest in Field Sound Recording
Attended the Washington (Oly Pen -2) expedition.