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COUNTY: Nevada County
LOCATION DETAILS: About half way between Truckee Ca. and Sierraville Ca., there's a lake called Lake of the Woods. It's about 7 or 8 miles Northwest of Independence Lake and about 15-20 miles Northwest of Truckee. There was one road leading to this Lake in 1993 and it was dirt with rocks and pretty steep. Elevation was around 8000-9000 feet I believe.
NEAREST TOWN: 10 miles South of Sierraville
OBSERVED: On Labor day weekend 1993, I went camping with two friends of mine, Brian and Steve. We went to an area that had a little lake with an un-improved campground. My parents went up there that Friday morning and we went after work as Brian and I worked at the same place. We picked up Steve on the way out there. We got to the lake at around 9pm Friday night, and after setting up our camp, we sat and talked half the night. The camp was on the north end of the lake. There was a marsh area that had very thick underbrush to the immediate west of our camp. This marsh area extended to almost the southwest of the lake. If you picture a clock, the marsh area would be from the 8'0 clock to the 12'0 clock position.
After spending all day Saturday fishing with my folks and having a great time, we all settled down and relaxed at the camp. We had dinner and built a campfire and we all stared into the fire telling stories until my folks went to bed. At around midnight, Steve, Brian and I were sitting around the fire when I thought I heard something in the marsh area. It sounded like something walking through there. Steve didn't hear it and I just dismissed it at first. But Brian and I kept hearing it. It soundedd like something going back and forth like it was pacing the camp. I knew no one was camped in that area, so I just thought it was an animal. This went on for about an hour and a half. I even jokeed to Steve that the tent he and Brian were sleeping in was just giftwrap to a bear if one came after them and I'd sleep really good in the back of my truck.
The next morning my folks decided to go home early. My friends and I decided to stay there a couple more days because Brian and I didn't have to go to work until the following Thursday. By two that afternoon, we pretty much had the whole lake all to ourselves except for a couple of other groups of campers. At 2:30 Sunday afternoon, the three of us piled into my truck to hunt for firewood. We took a dirt road that went east to west along a ridge directly off of the lake's entrance road about 1/8th mile from our camp. We were following this road in a pretty thick patch of woods for about a mile when it suddenly opened up into a meadow about 300 meters below the ridgeline of the hill we were on. There was another patch of woods to our south that paralleled the road for about 2 or 3 miles. I stopped the truck because we saw a ton of good firewood.
Brian and Steve went in a southeast direction away from the front of the truck while I grabbed my axe and headed in a northern direction towards some logs so we could get some "all night burners". I got about 30 ft from the truck when I saw it.
At first I didn't know what I was seeing. It was a hairy thing sitting down against a tree with it's back towards me. It was in the treeline we had just come out of. It was only 60 yards from me at most. I stood there frozen because I thought it might be a bear and I only had an axe and I didn't feel like being any kind of hero. After maybe 5 seconds, it stood up on 2 legs. It looked massive, like 8 to 8 1/2 foot tall and at least 3 1/2 to 4 feet wide. It had reddish-brown hair all over it and it matched the color of the bark on the trees perfectly. It had huge hands that came down to just above it's knees. It grabbed onto the trees just to guide itself through them, not push them aside. There were some pretty good sized trees in that patch of woods and they looked small when this thing grabbed them. It walked away from me towards the crest of the hill and I was amazed at how smoothly it moved.
It was weaving in and out of the trees stealthily and it never made a sound, not a grunt, not a wheeze, nothing. I didn't even hear footsteps. As it got near the top of the hill, it stopped and looked down into the next valley to the North and it just walked on over the hill never even looking back at me. I couldn't see it's face. I didn't see a neck either, just it's head set kinda on top of it's shoulders.
I stood there for about 10 seconds when I got the nerve up to get the hell out of there. I backed down the hill to the truck and I noticed that Brian and Steve were still gathering wood. I joined up with them after I got a soda from the truck and I calmed down. I gathered some wood with them and we got out of there. They never saw it. We stayed there another couple of nights, but we didn't have another incident for the whole trip. I didn't tell them what I saw because they wouldn't have believed it. I never told anyone about it until I told my parents and my fiance' about it a couple of months ago after I saw your web site.
ENVIRONMENT: This happened on an old logging road that came out of a heavliy wooded area into a meadow that was 300 meters South of the top of the ridgeline. The area had a lot of pine needles on the ground and it was bone dry for that time of year.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
I spoke with the witness for close to 45 minutes. He was very sure of what he saw. I found him to be a very forthcoming and honest witness. I can add the following information gleaned from our conversation:
The area itself was a primitive campsite area with no pavement, fire pit or facilities. It was remote and there were no other campers in the area. He added that later his mother spoke to him about hearing "whoops" in the area but thought nothing of it. He played her some of the sounds from off of the BFRO website and she said they were very similar to what she'd heard.
With respect to the daylight sighting, he says it's very likely the animal could hear the approach of their vehicle and their conversations, as it was only 30 yards away from where they parked.
He states that the animal stood from a "position similar to that of a baseball catcher" and that it "leaned to the left a bit to help push itself up". The hair was "medium length, matted in places, and had some mud in patches along the backside". He saw no grey hairs but did not get the impression that it was a young animal.
He saw no ears or genitals. He says the hands were "enormous... just so huge. The fingers were huge". He saw "muscle movement in the shoulders and back, legs and buttocks" and overall movement that was "beautifully smooth and fluid, almost like gliding; and I never heard it make a sound as it moved...it was so quiet, it was really incredible that something that big could be so quiet".
It never ran or seemed fearful, but it did leave the area and disappear over a ridge in a determined manner.
About BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
Brandon Kiel is a professional photographer and naturalist living in the Bay Area.
He was the chief coordinator of Northern California Expeditions for 7 years and has planned/attended more than 20 expeditions throughout the US.