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COUNTY: Inyo County
LOCATION DETAILS: I think it was Kings or Inyo county, near Bishop off of Highway 395.
OBSERVED: I have reported this incident before. Perhaps it was not close enough to a sighting to publish on your site. I originally said that the incident occurred at Mcgee Creek. I was incorrect. It was Deadman's Creek. It was Summer. I believe the year was 1970. I was 12 years old or so. My friend and I belonged to the Western Conservation Club and went on many outings with the group. We would work at an area (cleaning it up and restoration) half our stay and play the other half.
My friend and I decided that we were going to walk way up the creek to go fishing. More to get away from the adults than anything else. It was mid-afternoon when we started out. The area had very few trails, once you left the immediate camping area. We headed out cross-country staying as close to the creek as possible looking for good fishing holes. We had walked about five miles up the creek towards the mountains when we both got the feeling that we were being watched. We both looked at each other and called each other light-weights and kept on going.
We fished for awhile, by now it was late afternoon. We noticed that there were none of the usual sounds that you hear in a forest such as birds, etc. We still had that feeling of being watched. The sky was starting to look threatening as an afternoon storm was heading down the canyon / creek towards us.
We started back to camp when the storm caught us and lightning started. A bolt of lightning struck the ground on the other side of the creek and up a ways from our location. Directly afterwards, we heard a growling or grunting sound from the area of the strike. We heard the sound of branches breaking in the brush. The sound was moving up the creek away from us and up the mountain. The breaking branches sounded as if they were high up in the trees. The trees in the area are conifers and the dead branches started about six or more feet up the trees from ground level -- so whatever was breaking the branches, it had to be pretty tall.
The object was moving fast because it was soon out of hearing distance. You know as well as I that sound travels a long way in the woods and we were in a canyon so the object was really moving. We never noticed a foul odor or saw anything conclusive. I did, however, see a large shadow moving through the woods briefly.
Please understand that although we were very young we had a lot of experience in the back country. We knew what the indigenous animals looked like, their habits and the sounds that they make. This growling did not sound like anything that I ever heard before or since. I know that this will sound funny but a person knows when things are not quite right and this was not right. Just a feeling.
We could not return to the area to look for footprints as the lightning strike caused a fire and the camp site was evacuated by the USFS. At the time I had heard about bigfoot, but only up north. I was unaware of local sightings until recently. This thing was not a bear. I thought that at the time. I tried to make it a bear so I could put the incident out of mind, but it just doesn't add up that it was a bear unless this bear was huge, walking erect and hauling ass. It also did not sound like any bear noises that I've ever heard, not that I am a bear expert or anything.
OTHER WITNESSES: Hiking and fishing.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest with lots of undergrowth and water. I did notice that the area must not have been used a lot, as there were no signs of humans. You know -- no trails, or old fishing line, or beer cans, etc.