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COUNTY: Skamania County
LOCATION DETAILS: From Olympia, Washington, take I-5 south to exit 21. Take exit 21 at Woodland and take WA-503 east towards Cougar. Follow WA-503 about 28 miles (just before Cougar) and take a left on Forest Service Road 81 towards Merrill Lake and Kalama Horse Camp. We took a small gravel turnoff near the Kalama Horse Camp and camped right near the Kalama River.
NEAREST TOWN: Cougar
NEAREST ROAD: Forest Service Road 81
OBSERVED: It was early to mid-August when myself and 4 friends decided to camp in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Around dusk, we heard something in the trees near our campsite. Whatever it was walked through the brush quite loudly. We figured it was a bear and made noise and scared it away. Later that night, however, we began to hear some sort of scream. None of us knew what it was, but we all agreed it was like nothing we've ever heard. It was very dark and we decided not to try and find out what the noise was, as it was quite some distance away. Until recently, we still wondered what we heard, but then we listened to vocalizations on this website and heard the same sounds. What we heard was very similar to the 1978 Snohomish County recording. We now believe that we heard at least 1 sasquatch howling that night we were camping.
ALSO NOTICED: Only the noises in the bushes that we attributed to bears.
OTHER WITNESSES: Besides myself, 4 other friends heard the howls. We were all sitting around the campfire when we began to hear them.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Early evening into late night. The weather was clear. Very warm during the day and mild at night.
ENVIRONMENT: There was think pine forest surrounding us. The Kalama River flowed right by our campsite. We were very near the Kalama Horse Camp.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator John G. Callender:
I spoke with the witness regarding his experience for approximately forty minutes.
He and four buddies wanted to “just get away” and go camping before returning to college.
They initially wanted to camp at the Kalama Horse camp, but they were turned away since they didn’t have horses, so they drove down a gravel road until they found a place to camp near the Kalama River. They arrived around 5:00 P. M. and decided to cook hamburgers for dinner using a camp stove. Even though they hadn’t seen any sign of bears, they were all aware of the possibility of bears in the area, so they made every effort to keep all food products out of reach of bears.
The witness told me that not long after they started cooking hamburgers they detected movement in the nearby brush as if an animal was approaching. When I asked him to elaborate on what they heard, he said it “sounded heavy” and that “it was definitely something big”. He emphasized the approach seemed very slow and deliberate.
The witness said the noise of the approaching animal was heard twice in the span of ten to fifteen minutes. As they heard the noise the first time, they walked toward the brush and the noise stopped as they approached the brush. After a short time, they walked away from the brush and sat back down. As they did, they heard the noise a second time and the witness thinks at this point whatever was in the brush walked away and left.
He said they never smelled anything unusual nor “felt” anything unusual.
As the evening went on, they sat around the fire and talked until around 11:00 P.M. At this point they were getting ready to turn in when one of the guys in the group asked the rest of the group if they heard what sounded like a woman screaming in the distance.
The witness estimates the screaming was from a distance of approximately one mile away. He said they were aware that there were people staying at the horse camp, but they don’t believe the screams came from anywhere near the horse camp.
The witness said that he feels like what they heard was only one animal screaming. He said the screams didn’t last very long and he was of the impression that “something was out there communicating with something else way off”. He went on to say that he didn’t feel like “the animal was screaming at us”.
The witness was drawn to the BFRO site after a friend noticed the photos from Silver Star Mountain on the BFRO site. They also listened to some of the sounds on the site and he said the Snohomish scream from 1978 sounded almost identical to what they heard while camping. He said that when he heard the Snohomish scream on the BFRO website, it “sent shivers down my spine”.
About BFRO Investigator John G. Callender:
John Callender hails from Mississippi where he received a BA degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He spent 26 years in the Seattle area flying for a major airline before retiring and relocating to Middle Tennessee in 2017. John quickly found that he missed flying and he’s now on his second career as a pilot for a major airline. He has done extensive field work in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Mississippi and he has attended the following expeditions: WA - Oly Pen (Aug. '04); New Mexico (Jicarilla Apache SEP '04); WA - Oly Pen (October '04); CA - Redwoods (May '05); WA -Oly Pen -3, (AUG '05 ); WA Cascades Expedition (AUG '06); Central Oregon Expedition (JUNE '07), BC, Vancouver Island Expedition (SEPT 2007), WA Cascades Expedition (June '09), 2009 Washington Olympic Peninsula Expedition.