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COUNTY: Lane County
LOCATION DETAILS: From Eugene take O-126 east to O-242 to Proxy Falls trail head.
NEAREST TOWN: Belknap Springs, Oregon
NEAREST ROAD: MacKenzie Highway
OBSERVED: In May or June of 1977 my wife and I decided to take a ride up the MacKenzie River from Eugene on a Sunday afternoon. After stopping at Cougar Springs, we headed up to Proxy Falls area and hiked into the Three Sisters Wilderness area about three miles. We had just entered a meadow about twenty yards wide and stopped to talk when we both heard something that sounded large moving in the trees just outside the clearing. We both started listening. Whatever was in the trees was making a low, soft grunting sound and it's footsteps were audible and heavy. It sounded like a biped. My wife asked me what it was but I had never heard something make that sound before. I grew up about 40 miles from this spot in the upper Santiam River area. Whatever it was completely circled us, staying in the trees, twice. We were both becoming uneasy, and my wife asked me to get us out of there. We began to walk back down the trail, stopping occasionally to see if it was following. It didn't.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two witnesses. Me and my wife.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: About 2 P.M. The weather was cool but the day was clear and sunny.
ENVIRONMENT: Heavy forest, fir trees, alpine meadows.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Chris Minniear:
I spoke with the witness by phone and have a few more details to add to his report.
They immediately left the trail from Proxy Falls to pick their way along game trails traveling approximately three miles and stepped into a clearing about twenty yards wide.
The animal initially crashed through some brush and he thought it might be an elk until it began to grunt. The grunting was a very low, soft, odd warbling. The animal made this sound as it circled the couple twice. The animal could be heard occasionally popping brush. Approximately 10 minutes passed from the time they noticed the animal until they decided to leave.
The decision to get out of there was more instinctual than thought out. All he could think about was the safety of his car. He stated at first they walked, afraid of being chased and stopped one hundred yards away to listen. They could still hear the animal popping brush so they picked up their pace until they reached their car.
He is familiar with the fauna of the area and has had experiences with bear, cougar, etc. of which he said, ” I’m cautious, but not afraid when around bear, or cougar, but this thing really spooked me.” He stated that it would be unusual behavior for a bear and added that he and his wife were not carrying any food. They discussed the possibility that it was a Bigfoot on the way back to their car.
The McKenzie Highway O-242 just east of Proxy Falls is closed for all but five months of the year and generally not open until mid-July.
The terrain of the Three Sisters Wilderness is rough, being formed by a lava flow. Many small bodies of water can be found and few people pass through this area during the very short three to four months it is accessible. There are no roads into the heart of the wilderness area.
The witness, an Associate Professor of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, was sincere and I have no reason to question the validity of his experience.
About BFRO Investigator Chris Minniear:
Chris Minniear lives in and enjoys the great outdoors of Oregon and has had an interest in Bigfoot since childhood. He attended the 2008 Oregon and Northern California, 2009 Northern California Expeditions and cast prints of the London Tracks. In 2009 he had a Class B night sighting that will be featured on Animal Planet's-Finding Bigfoot.