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COUNTY: King County
LOCATION DETAILS: To get there go up highway 410 eastbound. Go through Greenwater, take the "_" FS road up onto Huckleberry Mountain.
Note: Witness did not want exact location of events made public for reasons of public safety. BFRO Investigator has verified the exact location witness described.
NEAREST TOWN: Greenwater
NEAREST ROAD: 410
OBSERVED: In early May 2000, I had decided to go hiking in an area which is closed between November and May 1st.
On previous hikes and camping trips in the area I had noticed a trail and on this day I decided to see where it went.
I stopped my car, and upon getting out noticed that the area was silent; no birds, frogs,or other animals were calling out, which I found odd.
I had started up the trail(approx 1/8 mile) when I heard(and felt) what sounded like someone pounding on a hollow tree in an incredibly fast and hard manner. The sound was coming from my left and I guess it was maybe 1/4 to 1/2 mile away. Approximately 10-15 seconds later, I heard the same type of noise more to the right and closer. I would say within 200 yards. I could feel the percussion as well as hear it.
I continued walking uphill along the trail for another five minutes when I encountered an odor that I had never smelled before. I did note the breeze was in my face.I continued for another 40 yards when something started walking/running rapidly through the brush approximately 20-30 yards ahead of me, moving from my left to my right. Every time it stepped, I could feel it through the ground, so whatever it was was big.
I immediately took a trail to the left that led downhill, as I thought I may be cut off on the trail I was on, and I didn't want to get in anythings way if it was coming down the trail I was coming up.
Whatever it was then moved from my right to my left through the brush as though to cut me off on this trail as well. I then started running to my left diagonally through brush and deadfall to try and cut the trail I came up on. I did cut the trail and ran back to my vehicle. Whatever was there did not follow me down to my car, nor did I ever see it. Upon reaching my car I again heard the same drumming noises, this time the second one was much closer and uphill of the trail I had started on.
ALSO NOTICED: I have smelled the same odor while walking in the same area on an open roadway. There were no 'normal' forest sounds as far as animals go. There were no birds in the trees, and other than the wind in the trees it was silent.
OTHER WITNESSES: none
OTHER STORIES: I have not heard of any
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It occurred at approximately 3:00 pm. The lighting conditions were low, due to tree and brush cover. The weather as I recall was off and on rain and sun breaks. It was not uncomfortably cold.
ENVIRONMENT: The area is a reforested Wayerhouser area. There is a creek which runs along the main road. Between the creek and the above described trail, it is marshy and almost looks like a rain forest in spring.
The area of the trail was mostly brush and pines, with plenty of stickerbushes. To the right of the trail is the foothills of the cascade range, and is unpopulated clear to the eastern half of the sate.
Follow-up investigation report:
I talked with the witness at length by phone, and without prompting he recounted the events as he submitted them. He seemed to be a well spoken, educated person and was very friendly and pleased to talk about his experience to someone.
The site is in King County, even though it was initially reported to be in Pierce. The Greenwater river is the dividing line.
He says he used to be a hunter, but now mainly target shoots. He also mentioned the area in question is an elk range.
After he initially recounted events, I did get him to clarify a few details about the order of events, the sounds, and their nature. He added that the first time he heard the sound was by his truck during his initial verbal description of events.
1st Sound: Standing by truck. Sounded like a giant woodpecker drumming fast. Tapered off after about 3 seconds.
Witness then walked up the trail 50-60 yards, began to feel uncomfortable. He then encountered the smell, which he described as pungent like horse manure, but much more musky in character.
Witness continued a bit further up the trail, when the sounds again occured.
2nd Sound: Same noise - about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away off to witness's left (west).
3rd Sound: Same noise - seconds after last sound, seemingly in response, ahead and slightly left, about 1/4 mile or less away - in the middle of the swampy area. With this nearer sound the witness said he could feel the compression/concussion of the sound in his body.
The witness described his state as frightened at this point, but he continues up a bit further to a gully. This is when the heavy running footsteps, and breaking brush ahead of him cut from left to right (west to east) across the trail ahead (and out of view) of the witness. The witness said the ground was spongy/loamy and he could "feel" the footsteps' vibration through the soil.
"It seems like it wanted to cut me off," he said over the phone.
As he headed down a different trail, again the running footsteps, and breaking brush moved across his path - now below him, and this time from east to west.
Witness recalled that he could smell the pungent smell until he cut through the bush to rejoin his original path.
When asked to describe the sound over the phone, witness put the phone down, and rapidly beat on his chest, and said it was like that only much deeper. I asked him why he thought it was made by beating a chest. He replied that it could have been something beating on a hollow log.
Witness had mentioned a great number of deadfalls earlier in the conversation, when recounting the environment.
On leaving the area in his vehicle witness saw a man camping along the road not far from the main highway, and he warned him that, "there was something big up there."
This investigator has visited the site a number of times, and has the following observations:
1) In April 2001 there was a considerable population of grouse drumming in the forest on either side of the path in question. Some individuals do mistake this sound for out of the ordinary sounds.
2) The area if frequented by a great number of elk, and a heavily trodden elk trail is located between 50 - 150 feet of the path, running roughly parallel with the trail.
3) The investigator expected to find Skunk Cabbage in the wet areas near the trail, but NO skunk cabbage is present - indicating the musky odor did not come from this common plant.
4) The site also has considerable evidence of mountain lion, and deer. The unnamed stream east of the trail hosts coho salmon.