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COUNTY: Santa Cruz County
LOCATION DETAILS: This is near the epicenter of the '89 Earthquake. The area specifically where this happened is called Hinkley Basin. This in now part of Nisine Marks State Park.
NEAREST TOWN: Aptos
NEAREST ROAD: Olive Springs Rd.
OBSERVED: This happened 48 years ago. I was a boy 13 years old and my friend and I were riding our bikes in a remote part of the Santa Cruz Mts. in what today is a State Park. However, at the time this was private land that had been logged over in the late 1800's and early 20th Century. This land is steep, treed with redwoods and coastal oaks, very dense and rugged. Nothing in the way of logging, ranching or man made activity was happening or for that matter since the last logging in the 1920's. This was a place that maybe saw a handful of people a year.
We had pushed our bikes uphill for the last two hours and were riding downhill on a old fire road. We were going fast and quiet, when I slowed down for a muddy spot so as not to lose control, I noticed to my right just behind a redwood tree a figure that was about the same color of the tree bark, dark brown. It stepped from behind the tree and ran downhill. I stopped, dropped my bike and ran the twenty feet to the edge of the road, by this time it was running fast, with the unmistakeable sound of two feet treading on Tanbark Oak leaves. The creature was over six feet tall, and had the shape of a man.
I have camped in the area since this encounter and have heard a high pitch whistle sound and also a thumping of wood on wood more than once. Often, we had the sense of being watched, and left the area because of this feeling.
ALSO NOTICED: In 1963 I rode a motorcycle at night near to my sighting. I stopped at Sand Point overlook and shut off the engine. A very strange noise came from the road just below the overlook where the road forks down to Hinkley Basin. It was a noise I have never heard before or since. Sort of a scream but different. As it approached coming up the switchbacks, it got louder and it was beginning to cause me some alarm. After another rather close scream I quickly started the engine and left at full trottle.
OTHER WITNESSES: There was one other witness a friend of mine riding behind on his bike. He got a quick look also.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Noon.
Clear sky, cold and damp, forest cover, with shade.
ENVIRONMENT: Elevation, approx. 1000ft. wooded with second growth redwoods, mixed with CA Live Oaks, Madrones, some chapparal. Hinkley Creek is where the creature was running toward, as I listened to his running for at least two minutes. It happened on the fire road between Sand Point overlook and Hinkley Creek.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Tom Yamarone:
I spoke with the witness by phone and have the following details to add:
The tree that the creature was behind was right along the side of the dirt road. The witness was slowing down on his bike and when he initially spotted the figure, he was approx. 20 feet from it.
It burst from behind the tree and began running down a very steep, wooded slope. When I asked what features he might have seen, he offered that he could determine nothing more than color, height and movement.
Due to the fact that the witness did not have a clear view of the subject, I am classifying this as a Class B event. He said his friend, who was riding behind him, had a better view of the subject. I could not locate this man and they have lost contact as of 10 years ago. We would like to hear from him and he is encouraged to contact us by way of the report form.
According to this witness, they didn't know what to think about their encounter. They knew it was not a bear because of the size and the movement. They were not traumatized by the encounter because the creature did not intimidate them and fled immediately. They were more perplexed and trying to process what it was. This was several months prior to "bigfoot" becoming a front page item with the coverage of Jerry Crew and the footprint cast from Humboldt County, CA.
Regarding the screams he heard in 1963 -- that episode lasted for close to 10 minutes. He heard 4 very loud screams during that time, the last being below him on the switchback of the fire road - approx. 100 feet away from him. This sent him into panic mode as described above in his narrative. This also would be classified as a Class B event.
The Santa Cruz Mountains have an intermittent history of bigfoot sightings or related observations. There are old newspaper reports of hairy wildmen from as far back as the 1870s. There is a well documented sighting nearby in Scotts Valley, CA in 1980. And there is some recent activity in the BFRO database near the southern boundary of the state park where this incident occurred.
The Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, CA (outside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains) has also received first-hand accounts from this region that span more than forty years.