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COUNTY: Santa Barbara County
LOCATION DETAILS: see above
NEAREST TOWN: Santa Ynez
NEAREST ROAD: CA 154
OBSERVED: I was hunting with a friend for wild boar in the Los Padres National Forest near Lake Cachuma, Ca. The lake runs on sort of an angle from west/northwest to east/southeast. Just above the lake when travelling north on hwy 154 is an access road leading into the forest to a point near the northwest end of the lake (probably about 2 1/2 miles from the lake). Near that point and about 3/4 to one mile away from the ranger station located there, my friend and I hunted along the west side of the road. We were both armed with high powered rifles (I had a 300 H&H Magnum with 200 grain roundnose bullets). This is rough country! We were sitting on a hillside looking down the hill when we noticed what seemed to be movement.
After about 1/2 hr or so, and not seeing any more movement, we decided to go and investigate what the movement had been below us on the hillside. We crossed the trail which led into the area and went further down the hill toward the ranger station which was about 3/4 mile lower on the hillside around a bend. Nothing was observed.
About 5-10 minutes later, we climbed back up the hill and onto the trail only to find some footprints. The footprints were about 18 inches long and (although we did not measure them) approximately 40 inches apart. Whatever made the prints was heavy because the prints were deep in the soil, much deeper than any person could have made (especially in that short a timeframe). The prints lead along the trail going w/nw. and were on top of our footprints where we had crossed the trail going down the hill less than 10 minutes before.
We followed the prints for approximately 1 mile, but never saw anything except the continuing footprints. We finally reached a vantage point and could view the trail ahead for a mile or so. It was empty, so we gave up and returned to the car.
Whatever made those prints was able to get far enough ahead of us that we could not catch up and it had to be far enough ahead to be out of view when we reached the vantage point. I do not think a person could have done this even if running.
I never did see anything there but that was the last time I ever ventured into that area!
ALSO NOTICED: nope
OTHER WITNESSES: yes
OTHER STORIES: no
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Late morning.......10 - 10:30 or so.
ENVIRONMENT: upper desert to lower desert.......rough mountainous, along the side of a hill. A ranger station was located about 3/4 miles north of the spot.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Cliff Barackman:
I spoke to the witness by phone on 12/20/05. The following details can be added to his report:
• The movement that was initially noticed was about 100 yards away.
• There was very little cover available on the hill, but there was very thick cover nearby.
• The footprints indicated that the maker was traveling west (more or less) along the trail, the same direction as the two hunters when they walked into this area.
• The prints had to be made in the ten minutes the hunters were investigating the movement down slope from the trail.
• The print length was estimated based on the witness’ foot length. The witness has 12 inch boots, and these prints were “half again as long”.
• The witness estimates that the prints were 4.5 inches wide at the heel, and 5.5 inches wide at the toes. He was struck by the “straightness” of the print, with very little narrowing over the length. He noted that it seemed like a flat foot made the impression. There was no visible arch.
• The toes were described as being nearly all of equal size. There were no claw marks. They seemed short and stubby, making round or slightly oval impressions in the dust. The witness commented that they seemed “close up to the foot”.
• The step length (left foot to right foot) was estimated at between 38 and 40 inches.
• There was very little center straddle between the prints. In other words, the prints traveled in nearly a straight line.
• The witness followed the tracks west down the trail, knowing that whatever it was that made those prints only had a five or ten minute head start. He followed it with the intent of shooting it.
• The witness did not initially equate the footprints with Bigfoot, having never really considered the possibility of such a creature existing.. It was several years before he came to this conclusion. He just knew the print maker was large and bipedal.
• The witness is a Vietnam veteran who had high level military clearance.
• The witness didn’t want to talk about this event for many years. He said he finally reported it because it had been gnawing at him for so long.
About BFRO Investigator Cliff Barackman:
- Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music (Guitar) -- Cal. State Long Beach
- Professional educator with more than a decade of experience.
- Attended many public BFRO expeditions since 2005 (Redwoods, Sierras, Arizona, Southern California, Vancouver Island, Mendocino).
- Attended and/or led numerous non-public BFRO expeditions (CA: Bluff Creek, Blue Creek, Stanislaus NF; WA: Stevens Pass, Olympic Peninsula, Gifford Pinchot Nat'l Forest; Ohio: Beaver Creek; Florida: Green Swamp)
- Led the 2007 and 2008 California Sierra Nevadas Expedition (public), and the Oregon Expedition (public) in June 2008
- Can be reached at NorthAmericanBigfoot@gmail.com