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COUNTY: Cowlitz County
LOCATION DETAILS: From Cougar, Washington, drive North on HWY 83 to the Ape Canyon trailhead, hike for 1-2 miles, keep a lookout for a small ground spring off the trail downhill to the left. A game trail runs downhill past the spring
NEAREST TOWN: Cougar
NEAREST ROAD: Forest road 83
OBSERVED: I took a 3 day/2 night solo backpacking trip in Washington state, up the Ape Canyon Trail, around the base of Mt. St. Helens, and through the Muddy River drainage this past July 5th through 7th. On the first day of the hike at around 1 pm, as I made my way up the Ape Canyon Trail, I was surprised to hear a series of "whooping" calls, a series of 5 whoops in a row spaced at intervals of about 30 seconds to 1 minute apart, 5-7 sets over the course 10-15 minutes. The calls (bwaaahh-bwaaahh-bwaaahh) sounded as if they were emanating from the bottom of an oil drum, the tone being deep and bodily palpable, even though sounding maybe a mile or more away in the direction of the canyon, and somewhat north of the trail. It struck me as unnaturally deep and projecting (although not overly loud) and unlike any animal call I had ever heard before (I have hiked and camped in forest and wilderness areas for many years). I did not hear any other calls during course of my hike, save what sounded like an enormous owl hooting near my tent site on the edge of the Muddy River drainage on my 2nd night, at around 2 am. It was very loud and I was not inclined to get out of my tent for a look-see. One other thing I found intrigued me though. On a game trail that slips off of the main trail, just down hill from a ground spring adjacent to the trail 1-2 miles from the trailhead, I came across a couple of downed trees approx. 4-5" in diameter, twisted or snapped off and laying across the trail in a cross-x pattern. The trees were placed on the trail between the spring and a small meadow farther down the hill. There were no signs of a lightening strike, no evidence of chopping or sawing was apparent, and the trees looked otherwise healthy and normal, and looked as if they had been pulled over and broken off toward the top of the tree.
ALSO NOTICED: The forest was very quiet, no bird sounds or other animal noise
OTHER WITNESSES: no other witnesses, although there was a small group of mountain bikers 15-20 minutes ahead of me on the trail (I was hiking on foot)
OTHER STORIES: There have been many incidents in the area over the years
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 1-2pm
ENVIRONMENT: Forested area along the Ape Canyon trail, the only ground spring I located along the trail.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Scott Taylor:
This report is quite old, and yet had not been investigated. I called the witness and he was only too willing to talk about it, although surprised by the phone call. His narrative is complete as he recalls the events. The vocalizations he describes is consistent with sasquatch vocalizations by the description of the deep sound, amplitude, and the cadence. This is what has been heard by other witnesses as well as during investigations. The described “very large owl” is also similar to what I and other investigators have heard in the Cascades. This could be either a sasquatch mimicking an owl, or it could be a very close barred owl. The trees, broken-off and placed across the trail in an “x” pattern is also consistent with sasquatch behavior.
The witness was up in the same area in August of 2011. He described to me some “whoop” vocalizations. He said that he heard three calls. The vocalizations started out sounding like a person in tone, and then as the call was drawn-out it became higher in pitch, ending in a trill sound that he described as “monkey-like”. The feeling he got was that whatever this animal was, it was very large. He felt that the creature was 1 to 3 miles away. Although there are elk in the area which can make a similar sound, this is about a month too early for bull elk to be bugling.
While it is impossible to say exactly what made the described vocalizations, the sounds are consistent with sasquatch vocalizations. There have been many other reports from this area over the years, including the famous account by Fred Beck in 1927 titled “I Fought the Apemen of Mount St. Helens, Wa” which can easily found with an internet search.
This picture was of the two trees placed across the trail. Submitted by the witness.
About BFRO Investigator Scott Taylor:
Scott Taylor is an aerospace manager. He lives in Spanaway, Washington. He had his first bigfoot encounter in October 2005 where he smelled it, was followed and then heard vocalizations. He attended the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 BFRO Expeditions in the Washington Cascades, the 2007 BFRO Expedition in the central Oregon Cascades and the 2007 Utah Expedition in the Uintas and He attended the 2008 and 2009 Olympic Peninsula Expeditions and co-lead the 2013 Expedition.