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COUNTY: Thurston County
LOCATION DETAILS: Fort Lewis, in an area known as the South Rainier Training Area adjacent to two lakes known as Cat Lake and Fiander Lake.
NEAREST TOWN: Yelm
NEAREST ROAD: 510
OBSERVED: During May of 1990 I was in the U.S. Army assigned to Fort Lewis, WA. I was a member of an airborne infantry unit designated as a "Long Range Surveillance Detachment." In brief the unit's mission was to deploy 4-6 man teams onto a battlefield and conduct surveillance operations of enemy supply lines and troop movement corridoors. During that month the unit deployed my platoon into a drop zone known as Merril Drop Zone around 0300 a.m.The platoon's teams were to conduct surveillance operations of predesignated road intersections for a 48 hour period then link up together at the area known as Cat Lake in the South Rainer training area. From there we were to walk back to the barracks. All went as planned until the link up date.
Being a native Pacific Northwesterner and having a heart stopping run in as an eight year old with what I still believe to have been a bigfoot, I will not discount "stories" of bigfoot type info until they have been researched. There were at the time of this incident several stories about the "Cat Lake Monster" which had been circulated by the old timers since the early 80's.
There were about 13 of us in the platoon at the time and we were planning to just bag out for the night and not play the typical Army game of having a "watch" up all night. The night was very clear, which was unusual for this time of year, but the woods surrounding Cat Lake and the adjacent Fiander Lake can be almost pitch black. The only light was from a near clearing in the woods at the base of a small hill. The light came from the full moon. As the rest of the platoon quieted down I believed I was the only one awake. I initially heard what I believed was an elk or deer "huffing." It was a heavy sound of air being blown through nostrils. As I listened I pin pointed the sound to be coming from the hill over-looking our postion, on the far side of the opening about 100 yards away. The sound came both nearer and louder over the next few minutes, but was still a ways up the hill. As I listened the sound changed to a "barking" type, became more intense and was followed by the cracking of limbs and trees. I tried to see into the tree line but it was too dark. I then looked up at the tops of the trees on the hill that were backlit by the full moon. At that point I could see a tree shaking back and forth.The vocalizations became angry sounding and it occurred to me there may be a bear up there, although the sounds were very strange. The tree shaking contnued but whatever was shaking them came closer and closer, choosing different trees. I could by this time hear something sliding down the hill through the vegitation. Several of the smaller trees had fallen over.The area we were in is a natural rain forest and very swampy.There are several rotting trees in the area that can be pushed over with a few good shoves. By this time I was completely on my feet. I still had not seen the creature and was relying on the backlit and shaking trees to keep my bearings on the creature. I realized the shaking stopped at the edge of the clearing in front of me, and I could feel myself being stared at. The feeling was intense and distinctly threatning.
One of my fellow teamates, the only one senior in rank to me at the time, was by this time standing behind me though I did not know it until he spoke to me. He asked what was happening and I pointed to the area on the far side of the clearing where the tree shaking had stopped. As we both watched a large up-right form stepped into the edge of the moonlit clearing. It stood there for about 30-45 seconds and again made the "huffing" noise, much louder this time. The creature's form was very heavy looking, with broad shoulders, but very man-like. Shortly thereafter the creature turned slightly to our left and began running through the edge of the clearing. The creature ran in an up-right postion and swung it's arms in large arcs. The steps were loping and heavy. We could feel the feet hitting the soft soil. It cleared the 300 yards of clearing in seconds and was gone. I turned and grabbed my gear, stuffing it in my pack, thinking to wake everyone up and get everyone moving the opposite direction the creature went. As I looked across the circle the platoon had spread themselves into, I realized everyone was already awake and jamming gear as fast as they could go. The entire platoon was awake, packed and moving the other way in bare minutes.
The following day I and the other member of my team that had awakend returned to the area in daylight. We found several trees that had been knocked over, and fresh dirt turned up on the hill side as though something heavy had walked/slid down the hillside. No actual prints though were located.
OTHER WITNESSES: The platoon had just settled into the area.There was no threat", so there had been noises of people eating, changing out of wet clothing, cleaning weapons. Basically a lot of clatter at first, but just prior to the incident it was absolutley quiet.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 11:00 P.M. dark and clear
ENVIRONMENT: The area of Cat Lake and Fiander Lake is a low lying area in a natural rain forest.The area is very swampy and wet due to the nearby Nisqually River.The water table is very near the surface.The area is sledom traveled, and only by military units on manuvers.There are adjacent roads, but they are un-improved gravel surfaces.The woods are thick, and have a thick underbrush. There is a "stench" to the area that could be similar to the reported smell of bigfoot, but is most likely due to the constant decay of the wet wood. No "smell" was apparent that night other then the decay, which is present still to this day (I have been back several times now).
A & G References: Pg. 46, A3